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5 essential tips for making money on Twitter

A Twitter kingpin gives the Daily Dot the lowdown on his tricks of the trade. 


Fernando Alfonso III


Posted on Aug 9, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 1:07 pm CDT

If there was a How to Make Money On Twitter for Dummies, Jon King would be its best-selling author.

In the last four months, King has earned more than $35,000 by tweeting sponsored messages on the microblogging platform.

Not too shabby for an 18-year-old high school student.

“I’m always on Twitter, it seems like; so I figured, why not try to make a little money off of it?” King told the Daily Dot. “You have your good weeks. And you have your bad weeks, but it’s a pretty well-paying job.”

In short, King operates six popular parody accounts, the first of which, Condescending Wonka (@WilllllyWonka), was inspired by the Condescending/Creepy Wonka meme and boasts 376,000 followers. All together, his accounts—including @_ShitMenSay_, @willlllywonka, and his personal favorite, @AntiJokeJamal—have more than one million followers.

King spends about two hours each night saving 10 tweets per account to send out the next day, a combination of original content, recycled jokes, and old tweets. He casually works sponsored messages—in his case, tweets that contain links to contract-free affiliate program ChaCha—into the mix. The more people click, the more he gets paid.

So who can you get in on the action?

The Daily Dot caught up with King to find out more about his secrets to success.

1) Find what’s trending right now

“Go with what’s popular. Movie and TV campaigns have a lot of hype on all these websites. If it’s already well known, like the movie ‘Ted,’ try to jump on the bandwagon.”

Case in point: Since the film Ted was released in theaters on June 29, the foul-mouthed stuffed bear, for which the film is named, has inspired more than 20 different parody accounts, some boasting more than 100,000 followers.

2) Find your voice

“The best thing to do when you first get going is to start with basic facts. Facts are just everywhere. Start tweeting things you would see underneath a Snapple cap. Be original. Make sure you like what you are tweeting about.”

3) Get people’s attention

“If you have a little money, buy shoutouts from bigger Twitter accounts. Depends on the number of followers an account has, between $50 to $75 is the amount you want to pay per shoutout.

You should tweet once every hour between 11am and 1am for the first two weeks. If there are events or trending topics, tweet those too. Try to get a top tweet. Most of the time these trending topics are from big parody accounts anyway. A lot of people check trending topics. Also, don’t promote your parody account on Facebook. I’ve tried. It doesn’t work.”

4) Respect your followers and the game

“Don’t take days off. You want your audience on your Twitter every day. Treat your parody account like a full-time job. When you’re ready to start tweeting advertisements, I would just tell your fans and followers that running the account is time consuming, and you’re going to start posting some sponsored ads that pertain to the audience.”

5) Don’t get greedy

“I wouldn’t rush into tweeting out ads until you have 50,000 followers. People will do it before having that many but it just ruins the page. People hate advertisements, pretty much.”

Remix by Fernando Alfonso III

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*First Published: Aug 9, 2012, 11:00 am CDT