Brands, #DadChat, #Money, and Social Media

Category: Weekly Columns

Now that my first-born is going off to college and one that costs almost literally an arm and a leg, I am finally looking at how to make more money from all my activities in Social Media. I began this second career of mine by writing a column. Later, I moved on to radio, graduated to Tweet Chats, my own website, guest-blogging, a comic strip, doing a weekly vlog, authoring a book, speaking at conventions, and finally my own #DadChat.

I did not focus any of the considerable energy and time spent on monetizing. I didn’t really have to or care. Now that I’ve discovered being a responsible parent means NO financial aid for college for my boys, I realized I might as well take advantage of my modest Social Media success and try and make a little dough.

Truly, I began the monetization effort a bit before my son was accepted to a $60,000 per-year-college. I won’t detail those efforts in this column but let’s simply say I’m now spending more money than ever on these efforts due to hiring a team to support them. That has included various ongoing expenses plus a large hunk of change to fully re-design and optimize BruceSallan.com.

I’ve always been an employee, so spending money to make money – the bane but usual necessity of entrepreneurs – is new to me. Add into the mix my total lack of patience and I must say this “team” has been incredible in putting up with me.

Like a juggler, I have a lot of balls in the air that could result in income. I don’t believe there’s any parent blogger that works in as many forms of old and new media as I do, so I’m hoping that some of these balls “hit” the mark. Whether it’s my Because I Said So comic strip, Radio Show, advertising on my website, the I’m NOT That Dad vlogs, or my pet favorite, #DadChat, we’ll see what “pays off” – literally.

Monetizing a Tweet Chat seems like something that is going to explode over time. There are already successful mom bloggers I know that regularly throw Twitter Parties for brands and make good money doing so. These are one-offs that do quite well, but don’t take advantage of a regular weekly community.

My friend Dabney Porte, a truly sharp businessperson, was discussing this with me the other day. She has prepared a detailed media kit about the value of Tweet Chats to brands and she shared the general ideas with me, which are so smart. She has quantified her statements, evidently, and really done her homework, as she does with everything she sets her mind and energy to!

The bottom line of her research comes down to the notion of impressions. Tweet Chats can garner tens of millions of impressions. When I had Guy Kawasaki as guest-host on #DadChat this past May 17th, we got 81.1 MILLION impressions. I don’t know for sure, but that is likely a record or near record for one chat, largely in one hour. See the stats below:

What Dabney says, so passionately, is that the so-called impressions a brand might get from a billboard or other “old media” has so much less direct interaction than what can be gained from sponsoring a Tweet Chat. And, the cost of those sponsorships is many multiples of what it would cost to sponsor a Tweet Chat. Plus, in a chat, the participant can actually interact with the brand; maybe even ask a question of a spokesperson, and at the very least go to a link right then and there. That does not happen as you drive by a billboard, listen to a radio commercial, or watch one on TV, no matter how prominent they might be.

How to monetize any chat and my own #DadChat is a delicate task. For me, I will not in ANY way denigrate the integrity of what I do, what I believe, and the incredible #DadChat community – of dads AND moms – by looking like I’m “selling out.” That means no matter how much money Budweiser or Philip Morris offers me to sponsor #DadChat, I will not go there. For that matter, I will ONLY go with sponsors that offer real “value” to the chat in the form of information, giveaways, and products parents can trust and believe in.

I’ve already done several fund-raisers for various charities including recently [email protected] with Ted Rubin co-hosting. Raising money for these worthwhile non-profits is what I enjoy best, as I believe that Social Media should equal Social Good.

Nonetheless, time is money and the amount of time, effort, and energy I put into #DadChat is considerable. I know few people will begrudge my efforts to garner income from it, but I must do it smart. The sponsor inquiries have begun so stay tuned for how it develops.

In the meantime, I want terrific guest-hosts regardless of sponsorships. I want people that bring expertise, an interesting perspective, their own followers and friends, so that #DadChat remains vital and valuable, first and foremost.

To that end, I ask you for any suggestion of great people to guest-host #DadChat and, in particular, I have two topics/people I want to find. First, I want a money expert to talk about Money and Our Families. Second, given that my son just got his first tattoo and many parents are facing their own kids getting so-called “Body Art,” I want a tattoo expert to join us for a #DadChat about Body Art and Our Kids.

Other suggestions are welcome, too. I hope to “see” you at #DadChat every Thursday from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. PT.

  • http://twitter.com/DabneyPorte Dabney Porte

    You rock Bruce! Thanks for finding value in our conversation! From Twitter to beyond!  xo

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      It’s easy to “find value” when speaking with you, Dab! 

  • http://brianvickery.com Brian Vickery

    Good luck, Bruce. It sounds like you have some nice mentors in folks like Dabney. It would be interesting to see if you could host other Twitter chats for brands or if you simply pursue the occasional sponsorship/giveaway on DadChat.

    And good luck paying those college expenses. I feel your pain with one already in college, and another one looking at East Coast (so out-of-state tuition or private) universities that will come with nice-sized price tags…again, because we’ve been fiscally responsible all this time, I expect zero aid.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I will only seek to do things with #DadChat – have put way too much time and effort into building THAT brand. As far as paying for my kid’s college – I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all a horrible scam perpetuated on HONEST parents that do their jobs – both as parents and in work…Stay tuned for my column on this exact subject!

  • http://stay-at-homedadblunders.tumblr.com/ dadblunders

    Thank you for all of this information! I seriously enjoy listening to the things you share and discuss. I didn’t start this venture of blogging until i was 42 (current age) and I always thought I was proficient in the internet but I keep discovering just how little I actually know (I also know over the course of the next 20 years or so I will know even less in my sons eyes.) I consider you a mentor when it comes to blogging and building a community. 

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I’m honored. Trust me – being older than you by more than a decade – your kids will get it sooooooo much easier and faster. They’ll also pick up and reject more things than you’ll even hear about. THAT is the way with every next generation, isn’t it?

  • http://twitter.com/embedle Embedle

    81 million impressions is insane.  You’ll definitely be able to pull something off with that.  I wasn’t even aware of people monetizing twitter chats until now – very interesting.  

    As a side note, college tuitions are ridiculous.

    – Mike

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Thx Mike. I want to be the first chat to get 100 Mil in ONE hour! #DadChat

  • http://twitter.com/audaciouslady audaciouslady

    I’ve been following you on twitter for awhile. I like this post because I’ve gained some useful information about twitter chats. Curious about the comment you made regarding college tuition. I went to University of Miami on a full scholarship from 1988-93. Can your son get scholarships? Not all scholarships are based on need. I’m not an english teacher as well as an entrepreneur and I value education. With that said, can you explain what you mean by being a responsible parent means no financial aid? Thank you. See you at #dadchat @brucesallan:disqus 

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Ask me that question at #DadChat – and look for forthcoming column about EXACTLY that topic – how being a responsible parent screws OUR kids for college financial aid. It is meant extremely facetiously, though it is ironically true!

  • http://twitter.com/mqtodd Michael Q Todd

    Impressions mean next to nothing what matters is an increased flow of people into your community

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @twitter-19684844:disqus – okay, so I’m a little late responding to your comment, Michael – I didn’t see it till now! I agree that impressions are more-or-less meaningless, but brands still use them as a measurement of reach (or potential reach) and #DadChat’s growth since I wrote this column has gotten so much bigger that our numbers are strong across the spectrum. Just last night, we had 174 participants from ALL over the world – YOU were there – over 1,300 tweets, and over 25 million impressions. The reach of the participants was slightly less than 2 million people. THAT is significant – especially when you compare the cost of most traditional advertising (e.g. billboards where impressions are very similar in theory)…That is also why I’ve signed a 6-sponsorship deal with a major Social Media company for #DadChat. It’s the wave of the future without a doubt!

  • http://twitter.com/Honoree Honoree

    Best wishes, Bruce! Please let me know if you’d like to do a guest blog for The Successful Single Mom and/or The Successful Single Dad blog. (@Honoree & @SingleMomBooks)

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @twitter-15732121:disqus – I’m too busy to do guest blogs anymore, but I’m happy to put you on my column (A Dad’s Point-of-View) mailing list if you’d like to run some of my weekly columns? The only “cost” is a guarantee that you include my byline with its links “live.” Happy to speak directly, too, if interested…