by: Elise Mesa// @elisemesa
Buzzfeed jokingly refers to them as the “Twitter Illuminati.” The network of Twitter parody accounts have way more influence in social media than one may think. They are responsible for driving millions of clicks, creating such overnight sensations as “Alex From Target.”
Cameron Asa is a 21-year-old communications major at the University of Tennessee and owner of Tweet Like A Girl, a Twitter account with 1.2 million followers. He wracks up thousands of retweets with every post.
Asa’s first Twitter success was a Carly Rae Jepsen parody account he created in High School. The “Call Me Maybe” account got around 40,000 followers, and it got him thinking about other kinds of things that could do well on Twitter. In 2012 he began “Tweet Like A Girl,” meant to make fun of girls. He gained 100,000 followers in five days, but Asa hit the wall that all novelty accounts eventually hit: He ran out of material. So he decided it was time to expand Tweet Like A Girl’s scope to include relatable tweets for girls.
Asa tries to keep his account relevant and relatable. He’s now pulling in a ton of money. He would not discuss the specific amount he makes per retweet, but he said that it can be as high as hundreds of dollars.
“Lately I’ve been posting for different apps, and it can range from anywhere from $500 – $1,000 per post — it’s awesome,” Asa said. “I actually did an app tweet last week and I ended up getting the app 20,000 downloads off one tweet.”
With those kind of numbers, brands are trying hard to work with these parody accounts and create more engagement. Asa posted a trailer for the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ The Best of Me and said he was able to send it 13 million impressions. He provided Twitter analytics for a similar movie trailer tweet he posted in July boasting 4 million impressions.
Asa is part of an unofficial network of Twitter users, all with massive parody accounts who are regularly responsible for making new memes go viral. The network of parody accounts work together to keep momentum. The larger parody pages create a retweet-sharing deal amongst themselves. For instance, Tweet Like A Girl will make a three-retweet deal with another large Twitter account, like Dory or Fat Amy, so each account retweets three of the other account’s tweets and usually one of those three retweets is a paid ad.