It would take a snail nearly 4,575 years to circle the earth.
Um, why is such a fact relevant? Well, it’s not (unless you’re a globe-trotting mollusk). Actually, such a fact is one of the many unimportant things you’ll never need to know that gets tweeted every 15 minutes on the @UberFacts Twitter handle . . . a handle currently rocking an audience of 11.4 million followers . . . a non-celebrity channel with, yes, 11.4 million followers.
So, how does a college dropout without a built-in audience rise from zero to hero and amass one of the largest followings in social media?
@UberFacts founder and CEO Kris Sanchez spoke with MiLLENNiAL to explain his success.
Born from Boredom
In 2009, Kris Sanchez opened a Twitter account in a spell of procrastination (originally for the sole purpose of following Britney Spears) while attending college at SUNY New Paltz in New York. Study? In college? Fuhgettaboutit! Bored of hitting the books, Sanchez decided to pass the time by digging up random facts on the Internet and sharing them via his Twitter account.
Aside from the pleasure of binging on a daily dose of his favorite Baby One More Time superstar’s life, Sanchez adopted Twitter as his chosen digital diversion because of its basic structure and ease of accessibility.
“Twitter was the easiest for me to learn. And all of the content was very well-organized. At the time there was Facebook, Twitter and I guess MySpace was still around. But who was using that?” Sanchez jokes.
Originally, Sanchez tweeted only one fact per day. A hobby. But he eventually realized that one tweet per day wasn’t enough to generate the substantial number of followers exclusive (then and now) to already-established celebrities such as Katy Perry and Justin Bieber.
So in 2011, Sanchez compensated his lack of celebrity with consistency and volume by swelling his tweet output to once every 15 minutes and supplementing a 24/7 schedule with a $1000 investment in influencer endorsements and retweets (a taboo Twitter tactic), thus creating the @UberFacts handle.
“I invested in advertising with other people who had large followings on Twitter . . . if someone’s just starting out, it’s a good idea. But I think it’s important to be selective of who they purchase retweets and shout-outs from,” Sanchez tells MiLLENNiAL.
Say what you will about Sanchez’s strategy . . . but it did work.
By January 2012 the @UberFacts account had garnered enough audience awareness for Sanchez to secure his first advertising partnership . . . and that’s when Sanchez realized that he could make money through social media.
How Kris Sanchez Monetized Social Media
Sanchez’s first advertising partner, ChaCha-owned advertising company Social Reactor, structured a deal with @UberFacts that was based on content sharing. Social Reactor provided Sanchez with galleries and lists (of the 9 Strangest Religious Beliefs In the World sort) that he could share with his followers. Sanchez picked the galleries that most appealed to his audience and tweeted them on a daily basis. In exchange, ChaCha paid Sanchez for every Internet user that visited their website through the tweeted @UberFacts gallery links.
Within a two-year period, Sanchez’s advertising revenue climbed from an average of $800 per week to $1200 per day.
Clearly, Sanchez had developed a devoted fan-base. But in order to maintain (and elevate) the interest of such a fan following Sanchez made it a point to tweet facts that related to the current events being churned out on a daily basis. For example, “The highest-paid female CEO in the U.S. was born as a man” is an @UberFacts tweet dated 18 July 2015.
The recent media interest in transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner as well as the controversy of gender discrimination in the workplace certainly solidifies public interest in such information. But paralleling tweets with hot-topic news isn’t merely a means of generating audience-material connection . . . it also elevates the ‘clickability’ of a tweet, thus creating potential for even more advertising revenue.
“Consistently tweeting content is the key. Keeping people interested. Making things relatable that people would want to share with their friends,” Sanchez says.
Soon enough, Sanchez’s @UberFacts account had gathered several million followers, a virtually unheard of Twitter audience for a non-celebrity.
Holding Down the Fort
Kris Sanchez maintained his consistency for several years. However, the @UberFacts account had accumulated more than 6 million Twitter followers by 2014 and meeting the demand of a rapidly mushrooming audience demanded more responsibility than any single person could handle. The pressure showed when a March 2014 BuzzFeed article questioned the veracity of Sanchez’s @UberFacts.
“That was a real wakeup call. It was something I did myself while trying to balance it with a normal job. I couldn’t put as much effort into getting facts of high quality,” Sanchez tells us.
Since then, Sanchez has hired a team of employees to help him wrangle the massive @UberFacts workload. His team spends the day surfing websites (Reddit is prime real estate) for potential leads to the type of obscure trivia that only @UberFacts knows how to dig up. Once a team member locates a juicy enough fact they paste that fact and its source into a shared Google document. Finally, Sanchez reviews the facts listed in the Google document at the end of the day and approves the ones best-suited for tweeting (timely, relatable and fun).
Today, Sanchez’s @UberFacts account has 11.4 million Twitter followers. Sanchez continues to generate revenue by sharing social media content (currently with the Diply community) and he has set up shop on Facebook and Instagram as a means of giving users several avenues for connecting with @UberFacts. He’s also released an @UberFacts app that’s projected to rake in $3 million annually . . . oh, and there’s also a television show and a book in the works as well.
So, what motto does Kris credit for his success?
“Commit . . . whatever you’re doing, commit to it,” Sanchez concludes.