Twitter has struggled for a long time to find a profitable business model. The wait is finally over and the microblogging site has turned a profit. Twitter will make search deals with Google and Microsoft’s Bing for $25 million. The deal will make tweets searchable by both search engines — Google will generate approximately $15 million and Bing will fetch $10 million.
While Twitter is only now seeing the fruits of their labor, entrepreneurs and companies have been monetizing millions of Twitter users for some time now. Recently, Dell surpassed $3 million it made by using Twitter earlier this year to reach an astonishing $6.5 million through business referrals. Beyond business referrals, sponsored tweets and direct advertising have been profitable revenue streams for many companies. Here are ways companies are making money from Twitter’s users:
Dell is seeing profits increase in lock step with their rise in popularity on Twitter. Brand Republic reported, the Delloutlet account (@Delloutlet) has recently grown from 640,000 followers to 1,468,249. Over $1 million has been made from @Delloutlet referrals for their "certified refurbs, scratch and dent and previously ordered new Dell products." Furthermore, Dell’s Twitter operation in Brazil @DellnoBrasil has turned a profit of $800,000 in eight months. Twitter is a powerful business referral tool. For those influencers — like Dell — at the upper echelons, referrals can generate significant revenue. While you might not see direct revenues from your Twitter account, business referrals can make a significant impact on your bottom line.
More direct ways of making money have been through sponsored tweets. Essentially, a company leverages your followers to increase their brand awareness and traffic referrals through your tweets. Twitter has arguably become more of a "spammy" site due to these techniques. Furthermore, the FTC’s blogging crackdown takes aim at these often times elusive practices. To create more transparency in sponsored links,Brian Solis suggests incorporating "$," "spon" and "paid" into endorsements. Twitter still remains very much like the wild west — with little order or regulation.
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