Twitter has been an amazing platform for content creators and small business owners to build community, showcase their work and knowledge, and express distinct viewpoints. In our series, Social Proof, we’ve spoken to content creators who’ve literally built their careers by tweeting about their interests and passions. And the power of Twitter can be leveraged by professionals in virtually all fields – making it a great channel to build community.
And now, Twitter is giving creators a new tool to connect with their most ardent supporters – Subscriptions. The feature was first introduced in September of 2021, and allows creators to earn revenue from their tweets, while also providing a way for them to deepen their relationship with their biggest fans. Here’s exactly how the feature works and how two content creators are creating exclusive tweets for their Twitter Subscribers.
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What exactly does it mean to have Twitter Subscribers?
Your Twitter Subscribers will be privy to specific content that you’ve curated especially for them. Currently, Subscriptions is being tested, meaning it’s only available to certain people who’re in the test group and not a feature just anyone can use. And even if you are included in this special group, you’ll still need to apply to have Subscribers.
Here are the qualifications you’ll need to meet:
- Be 18 years or older
- Have at least 10,000 Followers
- Have Tweeted at least 25 times in the last 30 days
How exactly does a normal follower get upgraded to a Subscriber? They will need to subscribe and pay a monthly fee. Twitter gives creators the option to set the price – you can choose from three different tiers: $2.99, $4.99, and $9.99.
Once you start getting subscribers, that’s when the fun begins! You’ll be able to plan out and create specific content for an exclusive portion of your audience, aka your Subscribers.
Along with seeing exclusive tweets, Subscribers will also have a badge displayed next to their name that will show up when they interact with your Tweets. And, they’ll have access to exclusive Twitter Spaces you can host.
As this feature is still in development, Twitter has said they’re looking into adding additional perks and bonus content for Subscribers.
How these content creators utilize Twitter Subscriptions
Maybe you’re interested in having Subscribers, but you’re not entirely sure how you’d go about it. To give you some insight into the possibilities this new tool provides, here are how these two content creators are navigating the feature.
Mr. Gary is more personal with his Twitter Subscribers
A long-time actor who got his start playing Nelson Tibideaux on The Cosby Show, Gary Gray’s Twitter account revolves around his art. Asides from acting, Gary does coaching for voice lessons, writes screenplays, and creates original art pieces. The actor has landed many of his followers through tweets he’s made about his previous roles — like when he posted about the 23rd anniversary of Rocket Power – a popular Nickelodeon show he worked on.
When Gary first got the notice that he was eligible to apply for Twitter Subscriptions, he didn’t seriously think any of his followers would actually pay for extra tweets. That is, until he asked. He was surprised to see several individuals responding that they would be interested in subscribing to him.
The actor has been using the feature for the last couple of months and fluctuates between 8 - 14 Subscribers. Overall, he says he’s had a positive experience with it. The main difference in the content he creates for his Subscribers is that he’s intentionally more interactive with this group compared to the rest of his 24,000+ community.
“On my regular Twitter, I'll just say, you know, ‘Feeling meh,’” Gary said. “Whereas, with Subscribers, I'll say, ‘Not feeling so good today. What did you guys do?’ Because it makes them feel a little less like they’re observing me and a little bit more like they’re included.”
Gary also provides his Subscribers with additional perks including exclusive access to his sketches and art pieces at discounted prices. Recently, he just did his first giveaway for his Subscribers as well and gifted a signed copy of a Rocket Power video game.
Gary appreciates this tight knit relationship he’s developed with his Subscribers and has noticed that this community also seems to enjoy his content as they regularly interact with his exclusive tweets.
Ashani the Alchemist offers personalized horoscopes for her Twitter Subscribers
A tarot reader and astrologist, Ashani has always felt drawn to the spiritual world. She majored in creative writing in college and worked at a spiritual shop which prepped her well to write the horoscope messages she would eventually be known for.
After losing her job during the beginning of the pandemic, Ashani became more active on Twitter and her friends began asking her to do tarot readings – making her realize there was a demand for her service. She quickly went viral on Twitter and her popularity afforded her the opportunity to go on Instagram Live with rap superstar Cardi B and do a birth-chart reading for her.
When Ashani was first introduced to Twitter Subscriptions, she was very interested because she believed this feature could allow her to focus more on Twitter as a whole instead of other platforms like Patreon.
“I was excited [for Subscribers] because I didn’t like Patreon for the sole fact that, one, it took me away from the engagement I had on Twitter. And I felt like I was working double time trying to create content for Twitter and Patreon.”
Ashani has amassed just over 30 Subscribers in the last few months and provides them with more personalized horoscope messages than the ones she offers the rest of her 38,000+ following. However, the content creator admits that since the feature is so new, she is still figuring out how to best engage with her Subscribers.
“[Subscribers] is a lot more of an intimate space,” she said. “I'm still trying to figure out how I can engage with people a little bit more, or, what they even want from me. Because obviously, they want the content and the information. But it’s like, how can I make it more fulfilling for myself as well?”
As of now, Ashani does see the value in having Subscribers and plans to continue using it. However, she’s actively brainstorming new ways to engage with this exclusive audience in order to make the feature work best for both her community and her business.
Still, her current Subscriber already see the value in the services and content she is providing, including one of her ardent supporters, Twitter user @luminary222. Luminary says she is happy to pay the $4.99 a month because she believes Ashani is a talented tarot reader and she personally connects with her messages.
“What I gain from being a Super Follower of Ashani is not only do I get more content, but I am helping her expand as a creator,” Luminary said. “I am letting her know that there's people out there who care about her work and genuinely want to hear what she has to say.”
Benefits of having Twitter Subscriptions
Your supporters are what makes your business and content thrive, and Twitter Subscriptions is a great way to provide them with special content that, hopefully, will allow them to forge a stronger connection to your work. Twitter Subscribers can provide the following benefits to you and your business.
Streamline the amount of platforms you use
As a content creator, it can be hard to jumble multiple social accounts. The fact that this feature allows you to host a subscription service within Twitter is a big plus for Ashani.
“I will say that I enjoy [Twitter Subscriptions], because it's all seamless,” she said. “It's just a click of the button. All you have to do is press a little drop down menu and say, subscribers versus everyone. So it's a lot more simple. It's all in one place. I do enjoy that.”
Using this feature may make it possible for you to limit the number of other subscription based platforms you're active on, like Patreon or Ko-Fi, reducing the amount of toggling you’ll be doing between accounts throughout the day. This can also allow you to spend more time curating specific content for Twitter and your Subscribers.
Deepen your relationship with followers
For Gary, Twitter Subscriptions has been a great way for him to open up on a more personal level with his biggest supporters. The actor is able to go beyond discussing work related matters, and introduce a more intimate side of himself.
“Subscribers might get some [more personal] videos of me because it's something that's a little bit more intimate that I wouldn't necessarily show a lot of people,” he said.
The feature has made it possible for him to get to know his Subscribers better, making the relationship feel mutual instead of one-sided. This is not something he’d be able to do with his account’s main following as it would be quite difficult to get to know over 20,000 people intimately.
Your Subscribers will stand out to you when they interact with your normal content, too – thanks to the handy badge next to their name – meaning it will be easier to engage with them whenever they comment on your general tweets as well.
Add a new source of revenue
While you may not be able to rely solely on the income coming from your Twitter Subscriptions, it can be a great way to earn some extra cash for your content.
It’s good to note, however, that Twitter does tax some of this revenue. The social media platform has provided a helpful breakdown depicting a realistic look at what a content creator can take home from a Super Follower subscription.
What to consider before opting into Twitter Subscriptions
Remember, social media sites are constantly adapting and adding new tools for content creators. It may be tempting to opt into a new feature when it’s first offered, but not every feature or trend will be a right fit for you and your brand.
Since Subscriptions is such a new and limited feature, there will also be a learning curve on how to best use it. As of now, there isn’t a ton of data on how Twitter Subscriptions has benefited creators or small businesses.
Here are some factors to consider if you’re leaning towards having Subscribers on your Twitter account.
Make sure you have the capacity for it
Sometimes, it can be easy to jump on new social media trends in hopes of gaining more engagement and traction online. But in reality, it’s important to make sure you have the bandwidth to commit to these new features and channels.
While Ashani is appreciative of all of her Subscribers, she’s also aware that $5 a month is not a sustainable enough income for her to constantly be churning out new content.
“I have to be more discerning in my energy. And so I have to discern whether $5 is worth giving so much more of myself each month,” Ashani said. “No shade to all my subscribers because I love them, and I'm appreciative of them, but even one of them told me that they’re [subscribing to me] just to support me.”
By implementing this feature, you will need to generate more content for your Subscribers, so make sure you have the creative and emotional capacity to do so as well as enough time in your schedule.
Have a clear idea of how you’ll be dividing your content
Once you decide to have Twitter Subscribers, you will need to make extra content for this group, which means you’ll also need to sort out exactly how you’ll be divvying up your tweets. While this isn’t necessarily a negative, it may add more work onto your plate.
Now, whenever Gary plans to post on Twitter, he has to factor in what he can provide his Subscribers with versus his main following.
“For instance, my anniversary content for Rocket Power — that day I’m thinking in my head, is it worth it to post something to subscribers first?” Gary said. “Or, is this an everybody thing? Almost every big tweet or any big engagement like that, I have to sort of think about the separate groups.”
Your Subscribers will be paying you for exclusive content, so it’s important to be strategic and organized when planning out tweets for them.
Don’t alienate the rest of your audience
For Ashani, a major struggle with implementing Twitter Subscriptions has been her not wanting to neglect her main following. As a tarot reader, she gets most of her clients from her astrology and horoscope tweets which tend to receive tons of retweets and likes. To limit some of that content to her Subscribers can sometimes feel counterproductive.
“When I post messages, I gain clients. I gain new followers. Those followers resonate with my work, and then they book with me. And, they book with me consistently,” she said. “And if I’m only posting messages on Subscriptions, yeah, that's 4.99 a month, but is it taking away from the tips I could get, the engagement I could get, the extra clients that I could get?”
Ashani does caution other content creators and small businesses owners to really think about the effects Subscribers may have on their content before jumping into the feature.
Have fun and experiment!
While Gary appreciates his Twitter Subscribers, he also hopes Twitter will provide a clearer picture on best practices for using the feature as he feels the burden is currently on content creators to navigate it.
“Twitter has to show businesses and creators the value in [Subscriptions] by providing a sort of roadmap,” he said.
For now, content creators are testing the feature, using it to the best of their abilities. Ashani encourages others to try out Twitter Subscriptions, but to be intentional about it as well.
“So the one thing I would say to people who are going to approach [Twitter Subscriptions] is know what you're trying to offer… and what you have the capacity to offer for the price point as well. Don't overextend yourself … But consider it and have fun with it.”