Social media is an ever-growing juggernaut of personal and professional connections, interactions, and experiences. Facebook alone has over 2 billion active users a month, and that number is steadily increasing. And everyone knows about “influencers,” Instagram or YouTube personalities that make a living from working with companies to promote their products and services to a bevy of followers.
But what about you? As someone who may be new to social media marketing and the power influencers have in the modern online marketing space, is it possible to make money? If you work smart, you can easily make money on social media. It just takes some planning.
Rule Number One: Choose Your Niche
One of the most important things to consider when thinking about becoming a social media influencer is what you want to be known for. Brands like to work with people they consider “experts,” people who have a unique hook or story that will draw potential customers in. It’s not enough to like clothes; you have to be a fashion expert or a massive fan of a particular brand if you expect to work with fashion advertisers.
It’s also essential that the subject you choose is something you’re genuinely passionate about. Don’t pick a niche because you think it’s going to make you money; you’ll burn yourself out and lose interest in the work it takes to maintain an active social media presence. Speaking of that…
Rule Number Two: Be Active on Social Media
If you’re not consistent on social media, you’re never going to attract the kind of deals that you might be looking for. Consistency is critical when it comes to building a dedicated following. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to post immediately to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and whatever other channels you choose right away! While experienced social media influencers can keep up with multiple platforms, you may want to pick one or two to focus on at first, then slowly expand.
Another huge part of consistency is interaction with your followers and with other people who have similar interests. Whether you have 1,000 followers or a million followers, this networking and communication can quickly build your reputation and make you someone advertisers want to work with. You don’t have to have a huge following to make money on social media; you just have to be smart in how you utilize the followers you do have.
Rule Number Three: Evaluate Your Options
While we’ve been talking a lot about advertiser revenue—and indeed, that’s what most people consider first when they think about being a social media influencer—direct sponsored posts aren’t the only way to generate money from your social media accounts. You can also easily use your platforms to promote affiliate products or even advertise your own products and services.
If you have a particular set of skills you think would be useful to the public, like expertise in HTML coding, consider advertising consultations. Create a “How-To” guide that’s only available to people who subscribe to your email list, or that can be purchased through you. Reach out to a larger brand that shares your passions and suggest a collaboration; you’ll likely gain more followers from its support.
Rule Number Four: Remember Your Marketability
Keeping your marketability in mind is important. While some advertisers may look only at your followers, many look closely at you and your personality and activities as well. It’s important to be authentic online, but it’s also important to remember that when choosing to be a social media influencer, everything you post can be seen as a potential connection to the companies and products that advertise with you.
This includes photos! Selling photos is a viable way to make money from your social media accounts, but the images must be advertiser-friendly to get bought. Of course, what “advertiser-friendly” means depends on who you want to sell your photos to. A beer company will have different standards than a fashion magazine.
Rule Number Five: It’s Not Easy
There are hundreds of online blogs that claim to teach you how to make money “easily” from social media. While it’s true that just about anyone can make money from social media, it’s not true that it’s easy. Making money from your social media accounts takes work. You need to do your research, cultivate your following, and strategically choose which platforms you’re going to focus on. Building a follower count can take a year or more, even with consistent posting and engagement.
It’s important not to get discouraged. If making money off something you’re passionate about is important to you, then it’s going to take work. It’s going to take time, effort, and practice, and some days you’re going to want to throw in the towel. But if you make a solid social media plan and stick with it, you’ll find that it is indeed possible to make money on social media.