The popularity of social media stars has people everywhere asking how to make money on social media. These ways include things like affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, and ad revenue. Content creators need to provide value to their audience, which helps build trust and makes a viewer more likely to listen to endorsement recommendations.
Shopify is an easy-to-use ecommerce platform that integrates well with many social media platforms. Build your ecommerce site, track and ship orders, sell in-person and through social media, and customize your site with Shopify. Get started with a free 14-day trial.
Here’s how to make money on social media in four steps.
1. Decide How You’ll Make Money on Social Media
Monetizing social media can be lucrative and fun, particularly if you’re already talking about your favorite products and services on any number of these platforms. While a creator can use ads to boost the virality of a post, it isn’t always necessary. You can earn money on social media through ways such as sponsored posts and videos, selling your own goods and services, and being an affiliate for other company’s products and services.
An influencer is someone who creates content for brands in exchange for money, exposure, and products. For a single static sponsored post that goes in the news feed instead of an Instagram or Facebook story, an influencer with 15,000 engaged followers might make $200 and $350 for a video. The influencer doesn’t need to have an enormous audience, either. Many businesses work with micro-influencers, which are those who have less than 30,000 followers on a single platform.
Brands tend to care more about engagement because an influencer can buy vanity metrics like followers and likes. It’s more difficult for an influencer to create engagement artificially—an engaged audience is one that’s paying attention.
Video bloggers, also known as vloggers, create videos to share with their audiences on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Many vloggers share their videos across multiple platforms to engage each audience. These videos can be short-form content shared via Instagram Stories or Facebook Stories or through the short-form platform TikTok. Content like this is typically less than 15 seconds. Longer content usually goes on platforms like YouTube, IGTV, and Facebook.
Vloggers monetize their social media content by creating sponsored videos and earning ad revenue. Typical sponsored videos make the vlogger around $350 if they have at least 15,000 engaged followers. Videos tend to pay more not only because of the increased time it takes to shoot and edit the video, but because the brand can then take that video and use it on their own platforms or even on TV.
To earn ad revenue on YouTube and Facebook videos, creators will need to enable their channels for monetization. This will place ads in natural breaks within the content. Otherwise, vloggers can select where an ad should go.
Selling Goods & Services
One of the best ways to control the quality and features of a product or service is to create them yourself. There are many different items you can offer your audience on social media. Products like e-books and physical books, apparel, beauty products, and supplements are popular products created by users on social media. Services like coaching, consulting, and design have higher profit margins without needing to create physical goods.
Sharing your products and services with your social media audience is easy to do. Using your products in tutorials, customer reviews, and behind-the-scenes videos and images work well on social media. A program like Shopify makes it easy to sell your products and services through social media because of its ability to integrate your ecommerce store and the platform. With Shopify, your inventory syncs across any social media platforms and online marketplaces.
Affiliate marketing is a way for people to make a commission by referring customers to a merchant. Affiliate commission rates vary by merchant but start around 1% of the sale and go as high as 90%. Some affiliate promotions pay for clicks and leads, which means that the affiliate will earn a certain dollar amount for every click sent to a specific link. These typically pay less than $1 per click.
People often talk about their favorite products and services on social media, so affiliate marketing is a terrific way for them to get paid for it. A beauty vlogger could offer their audience something like 10% off a curling iron easily as long as the customer uses the affiliate link. These incentives are usually negotiated between the merchant and affiliate to not eat into the profits of the affiliate.
2. Choose a Social Media Platform
The most popular platforms for making money on social media are Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube. With any social media platform, it’s crucial to show more than just a product or service. You’ve got to show that you’re more than just a marketer pushing a product—they want to know that you’re a real human.
There are a few key pieces to understand when learning how to sell on Instagram. It’s a very visual platform, so images and videos work well here. While you can’t link a URL within your static Instagram post, which goes in the newsfeed and on your profile, you can link a URL in your bio. Instagram users typically use a program like LNK.BIO to create a list of URLs mentioned rather than changing the link in the bio every time they talk about a new product.
If you have more than 10,000 followers, you have the option of allowing users to swipe up on your Instagram story, which can send them to any link you desire.
Facebook is one of the most popular platforms because of the training they give users on how to make money on social media. Within Facebook itself, creators, advertisers, and agencies have access to free courses all designed to help use the platform effectively based on the user’s needs.
When collaborating with a brand for a sponsored post or video, users must use the Branded Content tool that tags who sponsored the post. This helps create transparency to the audience that the creator got paid to talk about the product.
To earn revenue from Ad Breaks, which are ads placed within videos, a creator needs at least 10,000 followers on Facebook. They also need 30,000 1-minute views on videos at least 3 minutes long within the last 60 days.
Pinterest is another visual platform. Originally just for images, the social media platform recently started allowing videos too. Users upload an image or video with a link to the source. Crafts, recipes, and tutorials are very popular on the platform, but it can also be a superb way of making money on social media. Creators on Pinterest make money through linking their own products and services or those of other brands as an affiliate.
Shop the Look Pins allow users to purchase an outfit they find right from within the app. A creator will need to be part of the ShopStyle Collective to enable these types of pins. This network is typically used when creating affiliate images rather than selling your own products and services.
To sell your own products and services at scale, use a program like Curalate or Olapic. If you’ve only got a few items of your own to sell, you can use Pinterest’s own tagging tool to create Shop the Look Pins.
One of the original video content platforms, YouTube is still one of the top contenders for all things video. To help creators make money on the platform, YouTube has a free e-learning course called YouTube Creator Academy.
The different ways to make money on YouTube include ads, memberships, sponsorships, and merchandise sales. Creators can get revenue from content they create for YouTube Premium, which allows users to download content for offline viewing and watch videos ad-free. During live streams, fans can also purchase Super Chat, which highlights the users’ comments for greater visibility to the creator.
3. Create an Outstanding Social Media Profile
If you want to be a trusted content creator on social media, you’ll need to curate your image carefully. Your social media profile and business page should both be a professional representation of who you are and what you’re about.
Even if your personal social media profile is only visible to your friends and family, anything you post online may get used against you, so it’s best to err on the side of caution. There are a few things you’ll need to set up on your social media profile to have a better chance of success.
Follow these best practices for having a great social media profile:
- Use a professional profile picture: Your picture should be on-brand and allows your audience to recognize you across platforms. Smile in your picture, don’t hide your face, and look into the camera.
- Create an inviting cover photo: If the platform allows a cover photo, create one that’s on-brand. Depending on what you’re promoting at the time, you can include the promotion and even a logo in the image. Use a font that’s clear and easy-to-read on your phone to ensure it’s a mobile-friendly image.
- Craft an appealing bio: A good bio tells people who you are, what you do, and what to expect. If the length allows, it’s also a great place to provide a link or two to some of your best work or hottest-selling product.
4. Engage Your Social Media Audience
After creating a Facebook Business Page, be active on social media by posting content regularly. This content should be a mixture of organic content, which is content you create, and content you share from others. Sharing content this way helps create authentic engagement with your social media accounts and can lead to increased income potential.
According to a study on video content, 85% of those in the United States say they watch video content at least monthly on any device. For content creators, this means that video went from nice-to-have to need-to-have.
Video can be in the form of livestreams and carefully curated content and stories. It’s good practice to upload captions to your curated video content so that viewers can watch your content whether they’re in the privacy of their home or out in public.
Popular platforms for video content include YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook. Videos longer than three minutes are usually used for YouTube and Facebook, whereas content less than 15 seconds do best on TikTok.
A hashtag is a word, or sometimes even a phrase, preceded by a hash sign (#). This is also known as a pound sign or number sign. These hashtags allow users to find messages about a certain topic. For example, when entering the hashtag #healthyrecipes in the search field on Instagram, it’ll show pictures of user-created healthy food and will usually include a recipe.
With static Instagram posts, you can use up to 30 hashtags. When using hashtags, even nonfollowers can find your content. This allows you to reach new audiences and grow your following. From a hashtag, users can discover your product and make a purchase right from the app if you’ve got shoppable pins enabled.
Hashtags also work on Pinterest and Twitter well, although your captions can’t be near as long as Instagram allows. Facebook does allow hashtags, but many creators find that they’re unnecessary because of its robust search feature.
A contest can be an ideal way to gain followers and increase engagement with your content. Each platform has its own rules for how contests can run, but most of them prohibit creators from requiring contest entrants to follow, like, and share the post to enter. While many creators get away with this, it’s best practice only to require a comment or tagging a friend to enter the contest.
It’s important to note that while contests can create temporary engagement, you’ll need to give followers a reason to stick around. Create quality content packed full of value, and they’re more likely to stay engaged.
5. Build Your List Using Social Media
Social media platforms come and go, so you must build an audience outside of social media. Do this by collecting names and email addresses through a landing page. You will send newsletters and offers to your list periodically using an email provider like ConvertKit.
In exchange for your audience providing you with their email address, they’ll expect something in return—called a lead magnet or opt-in. Lead magnets include templates, checklists, free courses, challenges, workbooks, resource libraries, printables, quizzes, and giveaways.
You mustn’t be spamming your list with emails encouraging them to buy something every time. Skipping to a sale prematurely causes you to miss the opportunity to connect with people, learn about them and understand what their needs are.
The more your potential client shares with you while you listen, the more you will learn about what they want in terms of services, information, and value. The goal is to have a list made up of people in your target market who engage with your content, are responsive, and loyal—both on social media and your email list.
Pour more value into your list than you expect to receive in return, and you may get rewarded for it. Your list will look forward to your emails and share it with their friends and family. Things you can share in your email include free e-books, lessons you’ve learned, and resources to help them.
Tim Ferriss sends a weekly newsletter he calls 5-Bullet Friday, and it’s packed with short, actionable things his readers can do and resources he’s enjoying at the moment. These resources include things like experiments he’s trying, quotes that inspired him that week, and what he’s reading.
How to Make Money on Social Media Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This section includes the most frequently asked questions about how to make money on social media. If you don’t see your question, head to our Fit Small Business forum and post your question there. We have a whole team of industry experts who answer questions from small businesses every day.
How much money can I make on social media?
You might not make anything on social media. What you make is entirely dependent on your resources, skills, consistency, and work ethic. However, many make a full-time living when they treat it like a real job instead of a hobby.
How many followers do I need to make money on social media?
The number of followers that you have don’t matter nearly as much as the level of engagement. Micro-influencers are those with less than 30,000 followers on social media and can still command $50 to $400 for a sponsored post if they’ve got an audience who regularly interacts with the content posted by the creator.
What is an FTC endorsement disclosure, and how does it relate to making money on social media?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires content creators to disclose their relationship with a brand before endorsing or providing an affiliate link to a reader or viewer. Failure to disclose these relationships will not result in fines from the FTC but may result in law enforcement orders requiring defendants to give up the money received from the violation.
Bottom Line: Making Money on Social Media
You’ve learned a lot about how to make money on social media, but that only matters if you begin implementing what you’ve learned. Start by creating quality content and then the money can follow. An audience that engages is more likely to trust what you endorse, so spend time to curate your social media content carefully.
Shopify makes it easy to sell your own products and services on social media. Build your ecommerce site, track and ship orders, sell in-person and through social media, and customize your site with Shopify. Get started with a free 14-day trial.