How to make millions on social media
Josh Peck found fame young in life. The 35-year-old starred on Nickelodeon shows like ‘The Amanda Show’ and ‘Drake & Josh’ when he was just a teenager, and slowly built up a repertoire that spanned Sundance in 2008 “The Wackness” and on the Fox show “Grandfathered”. opposite John Stamos. However, assembling a life in entertainment turned out to be unstable.
“There were some great wins in the traditional space but, you know, inevitably, I found I was in that waiting pattern,” he says. “We’re so at the mercy of Guardians, and so many people have to sign us up to even get a few lines in a movie or TV show, that it’s really hard to plan your life.”
Peck wanted to be able to start allowing himself such simple freedoms as going on vacation with his then girlfriend, now wife.
In 2013, he decided to try his hand at a now-defunct social media site called Vine, which allowed users to create six-second videos. His videos took off, as did new opportunities to earn money through sponsored content. Peck realized he could make a living “without having to be at the mercy of show business”.
He has since expanded his social media output to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, and he brings in seven figures a year. In March, he published an autobiography, “happy people are boring.”
Here’s how he built his social media business and his advice for anyone who wants to follow his lead.
Vine turned out to be a great platform for Peck. “I was uniquely positioned for that because I had a kind of schticky big comedic sense from having been on a sitcom for most of my life,” he says. “I found it really works in a six-second video format.”
Peck started seeing other popular people on Vine find paid opportunities on the platform and eventually booked a $5,000 deal to create a video for dating site Badoo.
Unlike entertainment, Peck didn’t have to wait for someone to greenlight his ability to work. On social networks, “if I worked hard, I made good videos, good content, I had more followers”, he says, this popularity offered him opportunities to earn a living.
As he continued to grow his following on Vine, Peck found he could use the platform to start growing his base on other platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Each medium required its own form of content, which Peck learned to adapt accordingly. “With Instagram, it was interesting photos and eventually it was videos,” he says, adding, “Twitter was fun phrases. Facebook was more family-oriented, sort of mom-centric.”
When Vine folded in 2017, Peck decided to take the opportunity to expand to another platform: YouTube.
Success on YouTube, however, hasn’t come so easily. “My first year on YouTube, my views were dismal,” he says.
“In a time when everyone is showcasing these beautifully curated lives that look so lavish,” says Peck, what he thinks people really want to see is honesty. Peck was doing a lot of videos in the vein of other YouTubers, but it didn’t feel right or natural.
So he devised a setup that would talk about who he was as a person: he’d buy a bucket of chicken wings, and he and a friend would sit in front of a camera “and we’ll just piss off each other a little.” and joke around and eat those delicious chicken wings,” he says.
This video got 5 million views. For Peck, it was proof that on this platform, “honesty and vulnerability wins out.”
For anyone looking for social media success, Peck has some advice: “Consistency. Like blind consistency.”
It’s something a friend who works in social media told him. “The algorithm will always shine brighter on consistent people,” he says. It is therefore important to continue to publish content.
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