How to Monetize Social Media in 2023 (15+ Ways to Make $$!)
Did you know that you can monetize social media? 💰
Well, you can.
Even if you’re not a celebrity with millions of followers.
And, no, we’re not talking about getting money from posting selfies, your pets, or your vacation highlights. 🌴
Monetizing social media is about creating quality content ― anything from bonsai-growing tips, comic relief for stressed parents, to... monetizing social media (see what we did there?).
We’re going to show you the easiest ways to monetize social media.
Time to make money!
What Is Social Media Monetization?
Social media monetization is a social media marketing strategy where you generate income from your audience on your social channels.
This can be based on digital products you promote (your own or that of others, aka affiliate marketing), and/or exclusive content you offer (such as online courses).
Your social media strategy will depend on which platforms you use and the capabilities of that social platform and your knowledge, understanding of, and connection with your audience.
If you know what they want, know their pain points and struggles, and tailor your content marketing accordingly, you can contribute value to others and make money as a social media influencer.
Why monetize social media?
The most obvious answer is, why not?
With a little effort, strategy, and thought, you can use digital marketing to activate an income stream from something you likely already have ― your social media channel ― a ready audience.
It’s an easy way to connect with customers, and most customers are scrolling away on social media anyhow.
All you need to do is capture their attention with something they want and raise brand awareness.
No, it’s not a get-rich-quick fix, but it works.
Who is your target audience?
Defining your target audience is the key to successfully monetizing your social channels.
If you create content simply hoping to be seen by anyone and everyone, you’re wasting time (which is money, too).
First, choose your niche ― what is your social media platform going to be about? What kind of content creator will you be? What problems will you solve and how?
Second, decide exactly who you want to create content for.
What kind of person do you want to engage with? What are their problems, needs, and dreams?
And, equally important, who is not your ideal target audience?
These two decisions will help you create content that attracts your ideal audience.
Don’t worry about the number of followers.
Build an audience that cares about your content, with people who interact, comment, share, subscribe, and, of course, buy.
Optimize your social media profiles
To get your social media management off to a good start, optimize your social media presence with the following:
- Profile and cover photos must make it clear what you do, including a tagline or phrase for more description. Remove random and irrelevant images.
- Have you been posting relevant content? How often? When last did you post? With an established page, tweak the content to align with your goals. If you’re starting a profile or page from scratch, develop and create a solid base of content before focusing on audience growth.
- What parts of your current content have driven the most results? Make a note of what works. The content that doesn’t drive engagement ― is it to do with the timing of your posts or is your messaging too broad? Evaluate.
- Use the 60/30/10 rule for your content creation ― make 60% of your content interest-based, conversational, educational, Q&A, or entertaining to encourage interaction. Post 30% of your content as shares from relevant industry pages or sites, your audience’s posts, and non-competing businesses. Only 10% of your content should be sales-focused so you don’t bombard people.
How to Monetize Social Media
1. Online courses
Creating and selling online courses is easier to do once you have an established and engaged social media following.
Start compiling whatever content you create on topics you are most frequently questioned about.
Use your audience’s questions and problems as a framework for creating your online course and go from there.
There are different methods to go about this ― presentations, consulting, video content, ebook series, etc.
It’s also an effective way to build a dynamic online community where you can fine-tune the value that you offer based on their feedback.
(Pro Tip: choose an online course platform like Xperiencify to deliver your online course and wow your learners with gamification!)
2. Affiliate marketing
You can use affiliate marketing to generate an income selling other people’s products.
Earn a commission every time someone uses your affiliate link or code to purchase what you’re promoting.
Choose affiliate partners relevant to your chosen niche, then choose their products and/or services that best match your audience’s needs.
Another option is to sign up with Amazon’s affiliate program as an Amazon associate.
Tip: don’t dump your affiliate links everywhere (#notcool #justsaying).
Instead, use your content to send traffic to your social media LinkTree/website where people can then click on your affiliate links.
Create your own helpful content and put your own spin on how you promote products or services.
3. Paid influencer marketing
Does it feel arrogant to think of yourself as a social media influencer?
It’s real work ― getting money for posting content about other brands’ products and offers.
If you’re posting on social media channels, why not be paid for the effort?
Programs like the creator fund on YouTube compensate content creators for the number of views on their content.
When you have a fairly engaged social network (engagement rate matters more than a huge crowd), you can also let brands reach out to you, or actively reach out for relevant partnerships.
Compensation will typically be payment per promotional post or free product, or commission on sales made via your posts.
This type of social media monetization is possible in every niche.
4. Paid memberships
Another popular social media monetization strategy is to create exclusive content that followers have to pay to access.
Subscription-based content is effective if you have already proven that you create helpful content and your audience keeps asking for more.
You can use Patreon or Xperiencify or other similar platforms to build out your paid memberships.
Experiment with the features that work most efficiently for you and your audience, and then give them your best.
Aside from more specific engagements with your audience, it also has the benefit of helping you bring a balance to the time spent creating content for the income you generate.
5. Sponsored posts and videos
When you’ve been working as an online creator for a while and have a good engagement rate, creating sponsored content and video content is one of the easiest ways to create revenue in the creator economy (yup, it’s a thing now).
This is when a brand pays you to make posts promoting their products and/or services.
The sponsor will typically determine the structure of the post, but you decide whether or not you publish it, so make sure you both agree before doing anything.
When that goes well, consider doing a sponsored video series using the Instagram story feature and make even more money based on the number of impressions on your content.
6. Partner with other brands
Partnering with brands yields more income because there is a long-term relationship instead of an occasional once-off sponsored post.
The trick is to do it in a way that continues expanding on the value you’re providing your audience without annoying them.
Select partnerships that align with what your target audience needs and the values behind your content.
If there is a value clash, it will create awkwardness and cause problems.
The YouTube partner program may help with this. See what your target audience’s favorite brands are and explore potential opportunities.
If you and the brand partner agree on the details of the partnership, methods, type of content, and compensation, everybody wins.
7. Sell using built-in social media shops
If you sell physical products, set up a social media shop on your Instagram and/or Facebook account.
Convert your personal account to a business account, plug your Instagram account into your Facebook page, then create a product catalog or plug it into an eCommerce platform.
Once approved, activate shopping and use shopping tags to draw traffic.
Now, customers don’t need to go to your site, they can shop right where they’re scrolling on social media!
Track the metrics and optimize what works and sells best.
The key is having a social media community. Don’t set up shop and expect sales before you’ve built your audience.
8. Send traffic to your website
If you prefer selling from your website (i.e. website monetization), you need traffic, so use social media to get it.
This is more appropriate for selling complex high-ticket products or services that require more in-depth explanation, landing pages, answers to your customers’ FAQs, etc.
You can’t put all that on a Facebook shop, and a Google ad or a Facebook or Instagram ad won’t convert enough sales on its own.
Use this in content that makes your Instagram followers eager to find more information about your offer.
Create a link or button to send them to your site’s store or your offer’s landing page and track results with Google Analytics.
9. Generate niche sales indirectly
This is about using your social media platform to drive sales to your website, landing page, or your booking calendar instead of monetizing your actual Instagram or Facebook following.
In other words, it’s website monetization.
What does this mean?
Post regularly (daily or weekly) on social media, telling people about your service or product, sharing info, tips, and related news.
You’re mainly aiming for conversation.
This helps people remember you when a relevant need comes up for them and they can DM you or go to the link in your bio.
Don’t forget to track which social media platforms get you the most digital engagement and website traffic.
10. Create your own product to sell
Creating your own product can be as complicated or as simple as you make it, and it’s definitely worth considering if you are already monetizing your social media following with other methods mentioned above.
Decide how much time and money you can invest in developing your own product ― something that will appeal to your target audience and align with your brand message, values, and goals.
The payoff can help expand your influence, grow your audience, and increase your income.
It also makes your income more independent of sponsors and partnerships.
Try to aim for something your competitors are not doing or providing your target audience.
11. Host events
You can do both online and in-person events (and stream the in-person events to your online audience at the same time or after).
Charge a small fee depending on what your event is about, whether it’s a Q&A or a workshop, etc., and then upsell your other offers as well.
The main thing about making events successful as a monetization strategy for your social media is to remember that it is about connecting with your target audience.
Let them get to know the real you a little better, and you can get to know them more, too.
12. Utilize chatbots
People are valuing the privacy of their online interactions a little more, making them less eager to engage in the comment section.
Instead, they prefer to head for your inbox, and that’s where you can use a bit of marketing automation as a powerful sales tool.
Chatbots enable you to set up an automated chat sequence for the initial interactions with potential customers.
From there, you can have customers complete a quiz for a special coupon, or subscribe to your newsletter for more information on special offers.
13. Write sales posts
Okay, so you’re down the road of growing your social media following, building trust, learning their pain points, and which problems you can solve best.
Monetization strategies are great when your audience is ready, but regardless of your chosen marketing strategy, you need to put some thought into every promotional post and piece of content you create.
Here are some starting points to consider:
- What does your customer get out of your offer? How does it improve their life or solve their problem? How will they feel once they have it and use/implement/take it?
- How/where can they get your offer? (Tip: Make this as easy as possible.)
- Do your images and videos make your offer clear and compelling?
These tips also apply to your video content.
14. Answer FAQs
It’s common to see an FAQ page on most company websites or on landing pages, but you can use the same content on your social media platform.
Get creative by presenting the info in a live video, one question at a time, and go into more detail (then it becomes a series).
This will increase engagement with your content because it allows followers a more personal glimpse of the face behind the offer.
It’s compelling, showing that you care enough to cover more details and this may convert the customers who have been hesitant for a while.
15. Leverage testimonials
To make money and sales, you need conversations that connect and encourage trust.
Using testimonials is one of the most powerful ways to do this because they serve as social proof that you’ve truly delivered on your offer to other people.
Most customers look for reviews and testimonials before buying into offers, making this a key part of every successful influencer’s marketing strategy.
Get into the habit of asking your loyal customers for testimonials or reviews after they’ve purchased from you.
Share these on your social media with images, video content, screenshots, etc. You could offer a small discount or a coupon as an incentive.
16. Use polls to see what your tribe wants
Remember the point about conversations and sales earlier?
Using polls helps you get the information you’re looking for.
If you’re wondering about certain features, colors, or styles of your product before you launch, ask your target audience what they think and what they want.
This eliminates guessing and decreases your risk in the time and money you spend developing another offer.
Keep the questions relevant, simple, and clear.
Make it easy for the customers to choose answers so that as many as possible participate.
Customers like to feel they have a say in what you’re creating for them.
Ready to make money from your social media?
Is your mind popping with ideas and profitable possibilities?
Just remember to start with your niche, your target audience for that niche, and the problem(s) you aim to solve for them.
From there, optimize your chosen social media account, grow your audience, and build brand loyalty.
Be sincere and appreciate your followers. They’ll notice and help propel you to success.
Now, decide on your social media monetization strategies and go for it!
Heideli Loubser is a wellness and education copywriter and a content marketing strategist helping you grow your business. She is also a solo homeschool blogging mom of two kiddos. When she’s not wielding her powerful pen to help businesses and other parents, she enjoys gardening, painting, caffeine, and dark chocolate in large amounts.