Entrepreneur and Biz: Ben Palmer
Tilt: Using humor to hold people in online conversations accountable
Channels: TikTok (1.7M), YouTube (25.5K), Patreon (303), Facebook (35K)
Rev Streams: TikTok, merchandise, live shows, Patreon, Cameo
Our Favorite Actionable Advice
- Promote what works for the business: Ben includes a link on all his distribution platforms to his Patreon subscriber program.
- Diversify your revenue: Though his big audience is on TikTok, Ben does more than rely on the TikTok Creators Fund. He’s also on YouTube, Patreon, Cameo and sells merchandise.
- Don’t expect to get rich quick: Even with his success to date, his digital revenue streams don’t pay all the bills, but he’s working hard to get there.
TikTok provided a perfect platform for stand-up comedians everywhere to continue growing their careers during the pandemic, even when stages internationally were shut down. Ben Palmer has become one of TikTok’s most beloved comedians not only for his dry humor but for how he advocates for equality by infiltrating controversial Facebook groups to spread awareness.
Though some may not appreciate his style or message, over a million flock to Ben’s PalmerTrolls account to see how he holds “netizens” accountable for their words and beliefs.Comedian Ben Palmer uses @PalmerTrolls on @TikTok to hold “netizens” accountable for their words and beliefs. #contententrepreneur #contentbusiness Click To Tweet
For example, Ben emailed a fake Pride month logo to the CEO of Chick-Fil-A, a national restaurant chain publicly criticized for its donations to anti-LGBTQ+ organizations. The response? Ben says, “The CEO responded with a cold, ‘This is not an authorized use of our logo’ with no elaboration – no, ‘While we do support LGBTQ+ people, this is not …’ No anything else, just a silent, dead sentence.
“I think that makes it more clear to people how Chick-Fil-A really is behind closed doors.”
For those who agree with Ben, his comedy is not only unique and entertaining but full of meaning. And it’s skyrocketed him to success. Ben started his TikTok account in November 2019 and now he has 1.7M followers. In the short time between my interview and publication, Brian’s following increased by 100K. Most of his TikTok videos earn between 2M and 4M views, something that’s difficult to come by even as a successful creator.
When he first entered the world of TikTok, Brian wasn’t expecting to monetize those videos. Now, he profits from TikTok’s newly established creator fund. It is open to TikTok creators over the age of 18 who have a minimum of 100K views and 100K followers.
For Ben, viral success came after his video about a public comment on Target’s new restroom policy. Someone who identified themselves as Lane published a comment on Target’s Facebook page, criticizing the brand for allowing transgender people to use the public restrooms based on their gender identity. The commenter suggested Target create separate bathrooms for transgender people; otherwise, the critic erroneously claimed pedophiles would enter the men’s or women’s restrooms.
Ben created a Facebook account under the name “Pedophiles” and published this comment: “We’re going to enter these areas regardless of the bathroom policy, Lane.”
The internet loved it. So, Ben continued to build his fanbase.Millions loved @PalmerTrolls response to a Facebook comment about @Target restroom policy, and his fan base grew exponentially. #contententrepreneur #viral Click To Tweet
One of Ben’s favorite ways of monetizing his content business is his Patreon account. His dedicated followers pay a monthly subscription fee for bonus content. Ben says this has been crucial to growing his audience.
“Most of the people who sign up for my Patreon signed up from seeing my content on Facebook. I attach my Patreon link to every piece of content that I post. So if it goes viral or gets a big reach, my link is going to be right there with it,” he says.
“That has been my most effective way of earning income. Regular monthly subscribers. In exchange for their support, I share extra content with them, host live streams, movie nights, and game nights.”
Ben says growing an Instagram following has been nearly impossible, and YouTube hasn’t been that easy either, with many of his followers coming directly from his TikTok success. “You should not be afraid of putting different nets out there to catch fish – different sources of income. If you’ve got a podcast, post it on all of the different platforms, don’t close yourself off to just one,” he advises.
“Even if you only end up making a little bit of money, it still helps, and a bunch of different small sources of income can add up and make a big difference in your life. My streams of income are YouTube, TikTok, Cameo, and Patreon. Each one by themselves doesn’t pay all my bills, and even all of them combined don’t as of now, but they still really, really help me keep my dream alive.”A bunch of small revenue sources from your #contentbusiness can make a big difference in your life, says @palmertrolls. #contententrepreneur Click To Tweet
Ben jokes about the strength of the social media algorithms, too. “Attract millions and millions of people. And then some more. And then don’t piss off the algorithms,” he says. “They are the almighty determiners of whether or not you will be successful.
“No, but honestly, I would say that if there is a will, there is a way. So if you really care about making a career out of your creativity, you will do anything it takes. You may try different things and see them fail, and you may find something that works best for you.”
About the author
Kelly Wynne is a journalist and creative writer living in Chicago with her pet dachshund. She's an advocate for women's rights, mental health, and chronic illness.