Social media has become a big part of our daily lives, especially for Generation Z. Students on Castleton University’s campus may spend their free time browsing Twitter, scrolling through Instagram, and watching TikToks.
But one student has made a career out of it.
“I’ve been doing social media now for the last 6, 7, years, since like 8th grade,” said Castleton business marketing major Ben Thompson.
Thompson started his own management business, managing influencers social media pages, including the likes of producer Rojas On The Beat, entrepreneur Ponce Deleioun, and musician Sean Kingston.
“It started out when I was on Twitter, I used to run these parody accounts,” explains Thompson. “I had like four to five of those accounts from eighth grade to sophomore year, and those accounts had like 200,000 followers each.”
These pages and their contents ranged from showing female sneakers, to recipe videos, to memes, he said.
Thompson explained that he was in a giant networking group on Twitter that shared each other’s content, or “retweet for retweet,” which is when you retweet another page’s post, and they retweet yours, a skill used to gain more traction from a wider variety of audiences, and therefore more followers.
One day, during his sophomore year of high school, Thompson woke up and found that all of his accounts had been suspended by Twitter in a widespread wipe to pages that made a profit from hosting twitter accounts.
“It was a bummer. All of my hard work that I put into my Twitter accounts, just gone down the drain,” Thompson said.
During his junior year of high school, Thompson transferred his talents from Twitter to Instagram.
“Now, Instagram is like my main job, my main source of income,” Thompson said.
And he’s very, very good at what he does.
“I’m on a person’s account for like 15 to 20 minutes a day, and I comment under hashtags related to their niche,” Thompson said. “For example, I do this one guy who has a food truck out in California, a wing truck, and I’ll go under #foods, #spicyhotfoods, or #wings, and I’ll comment on photos all day for him. And that builds his impressions, his analytics up, his profile views up, his likes and comments up. All that.”
Thompson has been taking business classes since high school, and his teachers always talked about how social media is a way of the future, a way for money and big opportunities. That’s what inspired him to take social media from being a fun hobby, to being a career.
Thompson has around 15-25 clients, and makes around $4,500 a month.
Not bad for a 19-year-old kid.
Although he has kept it a secret from most people on campus, fearing they won’t understand, he does help out some students sometimes, including Castleton University’s own superstar, Obi the Voicegod.
Thompson said he hopes to someday make a brand for himself, be more than the person behind the scenes. He would also like to maybe start his own marketing company.
Thompson said he has also begun managing artists, including what he said is a well-known artist from Connecticut, and even helps promote record labels and colleges.
“I feel like more people need to open up to the opportunities that social media can open for them, the doors it can open for them,” Thompson said. “Nowadays, everything is online. Everyone’s on their phones. There’s a lot of possibilities that can come from the internet.”