The Social Media Slot Machine

TikTok Shop, Latest in AI and Reddit IPO

Welcome back to The Signal, a weekly letter where I share stories, strategies and insights to help you level up as a creator and entrepreneur in a few minutes per week.

Today’s topics:

  • The Social Media Slot Machine

  • Leveraging AI for Content

  • Reddit IPO

The Social Media Slot Machine

Modern algorithms have turned social media into a slot machine. I don’t love it, it’s cluttered our feeds with more nonsense and noise than ever before… but it’s the way it is.

And with advancements in AI, you’re able to play several machines simultaneously.

I will explain what I mean, give you examples of how people are playing this game, and then I’ll show you an experiment I’m running in this lane.

Okay. So in the past, in order to have visibility on the internet – you had to build an audience through providing value. Only then, after compounding a reputation for years on end, would your content to be served to others at scale.

Today, as I’ve spoken about before, followers are as meaningless as ever.

You can start a fresh account, and because of the way modern algorithms work, your content can instantly go viral, repeatedly.

TikTokers are making serious cash by taking advantage of this.

Thousands of TikTokers are making anywhere from a few thousand to several hundreds of thousands of dollars per month playing the slot machine.

Many of these accounts are faceless.

They aren’t necessarily worried about a compounding reputation. They aren’t following the traditional path we think of when we think of when it comes to building a personal brand.

They are just worried about volume. The more they play, the better chances they have at winning big.

This girl is making hundreds of thousands of dollars per month just creating affiliate videos about products on the TikTok shop from her bedroom. She makes at least 20 per week. Many are duds, but because of the slot machine algorithm, many (like this one) go extremely viral, netting her jackpot after jackpot.

This account is making over $25K per day just reposting other people’s content at scale, driving sales to the affiliate product from TikTok shop. Absolutely minimal effort for maximum income.

This can’t be sustainable, can it?

No, probably not. It’s a serious arbitrage opportunity right now, but like any hot online trend to make money, it can and will likely fizzle out, fast.

I don’t recommend chasing a shiny object like this, unless you understand that it’s very likely a short term play.

It’s always better to play in decades and build something that will compound over years and years.

Eventually, like with any trend, so many people latch on to it (since the barrier to entry is dramatically low) and supply starts outweighing demand, becoming less effective over time.

You’re also a single algorithm change away from becoming obsolete.

Now, it’s safe to say, that with TikTok being so hellbent on pushing TikTok shop (which I think is destroying the identity of the platform, but that’s for later) – this opportunity will remain for at least several months to come.

How can you take advantage of it with AI?

If you explore Kalodata, you’ll realize that so many of these accounts making serious money are entirely generated with AI.

So let me show you how these AI video creators are doing this.

  1. They first identify a product from TikTok shop to promote. Let’s use this flossing toothbrush combo – which went super viral for Alle.

  2. Next, they write a script, with a focus on the hook. Most savvy TikTokers evoke emotion with the hook, describing a problem the user may have. The rest of the script (often generated by ChatGPT) would describe the solution to their problem – the affiliate product.

  3. Third, after writing the script, they are generating dozens of images to complement it.

  4. They then use Eleven Labs to narrate the script. “Adam” is the most commonly used voice on TikTok.

  5. Finally, they drop the images along with the audio narration track into an editor like CapCut or InVideo, generate subtitles, add animations and transitions and post to TikTok.

They then repeat this cycle, over and over, all day long. Here’s an example of one of these videos. This account puts the slot machine into practice,

If you look at an example of one of these pages, you’ll see that most of these videos are duds. But because of the amount of times they are playing the slot machine, and the better they get at evoking emotion with their script, they are repeatedly going viral – hitting the jackpot.

How do I plan on playing the slot machine?

I am going to try something completely different. I am going to experiment with an Instagram Reel x Manychat integration.

So here’s the plan. I have a side project coming out in March. It’s an iOS app that allows you to emulate the look of your favorite films on your photos and videos, complete with rec709 conversion for any raw profile you shoot with.

I’ve had someone post film scenes on this Instagram account every day since December. Most are complete flops, but every now again, a post goes super viral.

When the app launches, every caption will have a call to action. It will ask the audience to comment a specific keyword if they want their photos & videos to look like their favorite films.

Manychat will then automate a DM to them with a link to the app, or alternatively, a link to purchase the LUTs directly.

Voila. Playing the slot machine. It’s a volume play - separate from my personal brand. I’ll have someone post 15-20 times per day, with the idea that some will go mega-viral.

Will this work? Only time will tell. I will keep you updated on the results here on the newsletter.

Speaking of TikTok…

They are now starting to prioritize photo carousel posts. The claim (by TikTok) is that they result in 2.9x more comments, 1.9x more likes and 2.6x more shares.

Reddit IPO

Reddit is going public. And they’re doing something quite interesting. They are letting their early users buy shares at the price of early investors.

I qualify for the program, and as I shared in my video about this – I plan on trying to take advantage of the typical IPO pump.

At the same time, we’re talking about a company who has never turned a profit in its almost 20 year history, and I don’t see a clear path to monetization here… will there even be a pump as early investors rush to lock in profits?

Are you planning on participating in the IPO? Reply and let me know your thoughts here!

Quick Hits

This section includes things I have found interesting and helpful this week.

 Jensen Huang argues that we should stop saying kids should learn to code.

 Adam Mosseri shares some interesting insight into how the youth in Japan are using Instagram.

 Mr. Beast confirms what we’ve all been thinking – the era of overly edited, hyper-stimulation edits seems to have come to an end. More storytelling, slower paced, more personality –– that’s the meta.

Thanks for reading!

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And as always. feel free to reply directly with your thoughts, comments or questions.

Much love,