I remember seeing R&B group Pretty Ricky on one of the Scream tours. They were joined by Marques Houston at the height of his success with the single “Naked”and fellow boy band B2K. B2K at the time was basically what New Edition might have been in the 2000’s and Pretty Ricky was the CD you had to hide from your mama with lyrics like, “I rip off panties and I pop off bras.” But no sooner than the sweat dried up on their pecs, Pretty Ricky was a distant memory and Trey Songz picked up where the quartet left off.
Recently one of the members of the group is making headlines for the al the right reasons. Spectacular Blue Smith recently sat down with Inc. Magazine to talk about some dark times that followed the band’s demise and how he tweeted his way to a fortune:
“A family member–our manager and label owner–took care of all my money until my late 20s. He made some bad decisions and left me with nothing. I was living with that family member and had no responsibilities or stress, until one day he got angry about something and kicked me out of the house. I left with no money or clothes, and went to my girlfriend’s mom’s house.”
He says after he was no longer making money with the group, he was practically left homeless before retreating to a girlfriend’s home where he began his life as a social media guru:
“I worked almost 18 hours a day on my girlfriend’s mom’s little computer in her den, building up my Twitter page.”
“Within the first 30 days, I started making $15,000 from monetizing posts with ads sold against them. By the time I left my girlfriend’s mom’s house six months later, I’d earned about $100,000.”
After a conversation with singer Sean Kingston and rapper Soulja Boy the company Adwizar was born. Learning that they had little to no idea how to monetize their millions of Facebook followers, Spec was inspired to start the company which would manage and grow social media accounts. The Rancho Cucamonga, California-based company manages and monetizes the accounts of more than 100 actors, musicians, and athletes. In 2016, Adwizar showed some pretty impressive numbers, with more than 300 billion social media impressions.
Spectacular Blue Smith says initially he had to get creative to give the company some momentum:
“After two or three months, it wasn’t moving fast enough, so I created parody accounts. Jay-Z, Eddie Murphy–whoever was hot at the time, I’d make a parody account, post in their voice, grow the following, and then sell against that engagement. My pages had six million combined followers, and I could make something trend within 30 minutes.”
The singer now social media expert explains he learned many financial lessons from the music business and at this point is able to delegate much of the work he used to do himself:
“I don’t do it all myself anymore: I built a team of strategists, content creators, account managers. You can see by the numbers that we know what we’re doing. Celebrities see that. Actors or musicians or athletes put in hard work to build this fan base, and they should be able to capitalize on that. I’m bridging that gap.”