Photo credit: Cristian Andrei Matei

Everyone I know who works online is involved in making money online through passive income. “Passive” – it sounds easy; to some it’s second nature. You have to know how affiliate marketing works, do some research on the products you’re going to promote and, of course, be willing to spend a few dollars, but it can be done. Lots of great people out there do very well for themselves.

I have yet to jump on that bandwagon. To be honest, I’m not willing to spend money on something I’m unfamiliar with and can’t control. Fact is I’m too busy. However, I decided to test how well social media would be for passive income.

Welcome to making money through social networks. Now, I’ll admit that I haven’t made tons of money, but I’ve made more this way than through ad sense or other affiliation on our blogs. Thus you will notice we no longer have advertisements on our blog. I found it intrusive and I didn’t make a dime. People that come to see the blog don’t come to buy, and I know that. Eventually, we’re going to add an affiliate page and promote things we truly believe in, but in the meantime, I’ve been playing around with a few sponsored Twitter applications.

Sponsored Tweets has been one of my favorites, if for no other reason than I have actually made money from the twits I send out. Their program works something like this:

Your Twitter account must be at least 60 days old, have at least 50 followers and 100 status updates to be visible in searches to advertisers. However, advertisers can still explicitly make you offers.

The beauty of this place (passive income) is every once in a while they’ll send me an email, informing me that an advertiser wants me to post a sponsored tweet. I can say yes or no. Then, of course, I have to write this ad in less then 140 characters with a hash tag #ad, or the word “sponsored” at the end of the post. The other option is they give me a 140 characters I either accept or deny.

It seems fairly simple, right? Well, it is. I’ve been averaging $4.04 per tweet, with a residual on the CPC. It varies from a high $0.52 per click to as low as $0.10 cents per click. This is with my reach and potential; you may have different payouts with more or less followers.

I have a respectable 5000+ followers.  Imagine if you wanted to make money from Twitter now you can buy followers or at least pay to double your following list…  to promote the sponsored tweets, but I’ve never been good at selling anything I didn’t believe in. Nor am I going to buy followers, no matter how much money I can make.

Yeah, I know you’re thinking that everyone has a price. Well, I don’t; I’m not rich, but I live comfortably. I’d never compromise my ethics for money. I pride myself in keeping my word as my honor. Maybe it’s an Italian thing, I don’t know… but I digress.

Throughout the years, as I worked with some of the biggest agencies in San Francisco, I was good enough at sales that I was tagged as the lady that could sell a dog off a meat truck. I’m still good at sales, but selling sponsored tweets to my followers feels like useless spam.

Well, until I discovered Sponsored Tweets. They make it clear that you’re working with a company that values both the advertisers and their users. They use things like mandatory disclosures, transparency, freedom of choice, etc. Twitter stars can get some nice cash for sponsored tweets, and it’s all up front.

Try me out

The second program is Mylikes. They work pretty much the same as Sponsored Tweets, but you can pick and choose whom you want to promote. It definitely works by recommendations. The business model is based on you being the expert when it comes to your followers. Advertisers leave it up to you to engage with your followers. The transparency issue is resolved by giving you a profile page where your likes are displayed for everyone to see.

Once you sign up, you see a page with a list of sponsors, from the name of the company to the payment they offer per click. If you take the time to look through them, you can find something you like, use, or want to promote. They have an interesting pricing structure. They base their payment on an influence score they give you, including click through rates.

I’ll admit, they’ve sent me sponsors I chose not to participate with or promote, but that was my choice. I’m not going to send out promotions on products or companies I don’t believe in or are useless for my audience.

Now, ask yourself, is this a way to make money on Twitter? The answer is yes, but how much is completely up to you. I don’t spend much time doing the research or pursuing advertisers, but it’s nice when I get an email asking me to sponsor a product or service I haven’t seen. I can try it and then pass it along to my followers. As much as it might seem like spamming, I’ve come to realize that it isn’t. I make sure not to flood Twitter, posting them only once or twice a week, and I make sure the products or services could be useful to my followers.