If you’re wondering how to monetize social media, what social media platform is best for monetization, how to make money on social media, or how to monetize your audience – you’re in the right place.
What is social media monetization?
Social media monetization is effectively the process of generating revenue from your social media audience. This can be achieved in a number of different ways that we’ll dive into in this post. Ultimately it will vary based on your product, the social channel you use, the technology available on each platform as well as the most vital ingredient – the level of insight you have on your audience. Knowing WHO you’re speaking to and what their most common challenges, pain points, and desires are should not be underestimated.
When you know what your people want, you’re in a much better position to tailor your product or service to their needs and make money from doing what you love. Monetizing social media really is a win-win for everyone involved.
Why you should monetize social media
With built-in audiences in the billions, social networks provide a great opportunity to connect with your target market. The value of using social media to drive brand awareness is undeniable. But, let’s face it, social media can be time-consuming. You’re always having to play by Facebook or Instagram’s rules and maybe you’re wondering whether all of the hours you spend posting, commenting, and interacting on these channels can really turn into solid sales for your product or service.
While it can sometimes feel disheartening to not get instant results, it’s definitely possible to monetize social media. You’re missing out on a huge opportunity to put more cash into your pocket if you’re not capitalizing on the opportunities available. I mean, we’ve all heard of influencers on Instagram and YouTube who make millions by advertising their products and services – so that means it’s highly achievable for you too.
Defining your niche
If you want to monetize social media, it’s important to know there’s a fine line between spam and legit advertising. All too often people join affiliate programs, set up profile pages on Twitter and Facebook, and get down to work peddling their products to the masses. And then nothing happens. So, they decide to invest in paid advertising. Again, nothing happens. As the tumbleweed rolls across their profile pages, some may even be tempted to buy followers, which are either bots or not your ideal people.
Before you even think about how to monetize social media, you should think about your target audience. Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, you need to shift your thinking to a customer-centric approach. This is based on the simple reality that trying to reach as many people as possible in a world where we’re so used to personalization and tonnes of competitors can look like you’re taking a stab in the dark. You may have millions of followers, but it counts for nothing if none of them are genuinely engaged. It’s better to have a few engaged users who get what you do and buy into it than having loads of fake or irrelevant followers who don’t.
To build your community, you need to choose your niche wisely. Every brand needs a purpose and an opinion and to choose a target demographic that aligns with those factors. It doesn’t matter how small or specialized your niche is – there will be people out there who want to be a part of it, and social media provides the means to reach them. Once you’ve chosen your niche and defined your ideal customer, you’ll be able to create content that speaks directly to their desires and pain points.
It’s important to not get bogged down by vanity metrics or losing yourself in simply growing your followers. The reality is, you could have a thousand followers – but if they aren’t your ideal client or customer and you’re not speaking their language, then it won’t mean much when you’re trying to sell your product or service.
Optimizing your social media profiles for monetization success
Before implementing our tips on monetizing social media, it’s important to double-check that you have all of the basics in place first.
Things like ensuring your profile and cover photos are optimized with relevant images. Is it clear to your audience what you do? Does your cover photo have a phrase that sums up your service in a single sentence or are you using a random image that doesn’t have much relevance? Does your profile or page have a history of strong content? By this, we mean how long ago did you last post any content – is it up-to-date? Does your content have any relevance to your audience’s specific pain-points? If your page is established this should be the case anyway, but f you’re creating a new page or profile from scratch, we’d suggest waiting a few days to grow some content out around the page before attempting to grow it.
If you’re posting a lot of content – is it driving engagement? If not, is this because the content is too broad, or is it that you’re posting content at times when your ideal audience isn’t online. Part of it could be because Facebook and Instagram are constantly changing their algorithms but it’s also worth double checking these things to make sure that your message is of relevance to your people, this is a fundamental step before you can effectively monetize social media.
How to monetize social media profiles
Before we dive into the 9 best ways to monetize social media, let’s establish one essential rule of social media monetization – the 60/30/10 rule. 60% of the content you post should be of interest to your target audience, and not sales-oriented. This is content that inspires conversation, educates, nurtures, or entertains. It may also include content that poses questions to your target audience. It’s content that gets people talking, sharing, and upvoting posts.
A further 30% of your content should be shared from other sources, such as non-competing businesses, industry-specific resources, and even posts from members of your community. If you see something that’s relevant to your target audience, you should share it. There’s also a chance they’ll return the favour, further increasing your reach. Finally, only 10% of what you post should be sales-oriented. This will help get people into buying mode without bombarding them with advertisements.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s explore some of the most popular ways you can monetize Facebook, Instagram, or whatever other social platforms you’re using to grow your audience:
1. Sell online courses
Knowledge is power, and the internet has made knowledge more accessible than ever before. If you’re an expert in a field and have something to teach others, social media is a great venue for selling e-learning materials, such as self-published e-books and online courses. By posting content that educates your community members, people will be far more willing to invest their money into learning more. (Find out more on how to sell your online courses here)
2. Advertise affiliate products
Affiliate marketing used to be all the rage back in the days when it was easier to launch spam campaigns at a massive scale. However, despite the negative image of affiliate marketing, there are legitimate, ethical, and effective ways to do it. When you’re selling products or services for someone else, having a deep understanding and belief in what you’re selling is imperative. Whatever you do, don’t try to sell things purely because they’re supposedly profitable.
3. Try influencer marketing
Brands love influencer marketing because it gives them a level of visibility and credibility that they often can’t hope to achieve by themselves. Although attracting the advertising pounds of big brand isn’t easy, building a large community of engaged followers around a clearly defined niche will go a long way. Once you can build up a reputation as an authority in your niche, it’s quite likely that companies will start coming to you to advertise their products and services.
4. Sell products with Facebook shops and direct sales.
Social media is also a popular venue for selling physical products. Facebook, for example, lets users set up online stores where you can add an unlimited number of products, organise them into categories and track sales through an analytics dashboard. To get started, all you need is a Facebook account and a business page. Another option is to display products from Shopify on your Facebook page.
These are some of the most effective and proven social media monetization tactics but selling is just the easy part. Almost all the work involves building your community in the first place.
5. Lead generation
Making money directly on social media isn’t the only way to go. For many people, growing their social media accounts with a number of targeted followers is only the first step. Social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even Instagram, lend themselves to monetization.
But it doesn’t have to happen directly on the social network platforms. You can actually use your social reach as a lead generation tool for your business outside of the app. If you’re planning to sell software, cookbooks or even a fitness program, use your social network accounts to provide value and create new potential leads for your business. You can do this with specific call-to-action buttons on your page or by making good use of your cover photos to promote what it is that you’re trying to achieve.
Just because your social media is online doesn’t mean your monetization strategies have to stay online too. Growing your social following online and then offering in-person (or even online) events at a cost is a great way to make money from all the people who follow you.
7. Use Chatbots to monetize social media
With so many people shying away from commenting publicly out of fear that others will see what they’re saying or them being trolled, many people are moving towards messaging – this makes chatbots a crucial part of a monetization strategy.
Chatbots can be tailored to answer specific questions from potential customers and can be used as a powerful sales tool.
Your Style Your Story a fashion brand used a chatbot to launch its store. They enticed users to subscribe with a style quiz then messaged them with a coupon offer when the store opened.
8. Write effective sales posts to monetize social media
Before diving into selling on your social media profile or page it’s vital to build engagement and trust with your audience but once you’ve done that it’s important to get the selling part right, after all, they are going to be the most important posts you will create.
The easiest way to do this is to think about the following things before posting:
- What’s in it for your customer, what problems do you solve?
- How do you or your product or service solve the problem?
- What do they need to do to get their hands on your offering – what steps do they need to take?
- Is the image or video eye-catching? Is it a thumb-stopper?
9. Answer FAQ’s
Many of us are used to seeing FAQs on websites or landing pages but you can leverage social media to answer questions too. If you’re noticing a theme from messages or comments on posts then creating a short video answering questions is a great way to drive engagement on your page, gives people an opportunity to get to know the face of the brand and ultimately overcomes whatever it is that is stopping your people from clicking the buy button.
Keeping a note of questions your customers commonly ask and posting a weekly video that answers them is a great way to convert your followers into customers.
10. Embrace testimonials
Building trust in a highly competitive and spammy world is vital for making sales. Testimonials are a great way to act as social proof that what you’re offering is legit and actually works or gets results. Reaching out to your existing customers and asking them for written or video testimonials and sharing them on the reviews section of your page or as posts on your feed or stories is a great way for people to feel incentivized to buy from you.
11. Leverage Polls features
Maybe you’re thinking about launching a new product or service and wondering whether people will be interested in it or whether you’ve chosen the right colour. Making use of the Polls feature is a great way to get insight into what your people want and eliminates the guesswork before you invest hours of your time creating something. Coming up with a list of questions that are relevant to your audience, products, or services and launching daily Polls is a great way to get clarity, and is also a valuable opportunity to drive engagement and for your people to feel involved in the process.
Monetize your own social media platform with Disciple
Social media monetization strategies typically assume you have a Facebook or Instagram account with a large, dedicated following. But what if that’s not the case? Or what if you’ve tried social media channels and found them wanting when it comes to monetization options?
The importance of focus
If you are already a well-known actor, athlete, musician or celebrity you’ll have a built-in following that will flock to your Instagram account. But if you’re not, you need another option. That’s where Disciple comes in.
Disciple provides a host of tools that help you create a dedicated community, one that is far more cohesive than anything you can build using social media channels. Those tools include commenting, private messaging, polls, push notifications, branding and customisation and so much more.
Monetization: The icing on the cake
Social media monetization strategies are all very well and good but they won’t be worth much if you don’t have the necessary social media following. Disciple is the ultimate work-around for that problem because we give you the tools and technology to create our own community and then institute your own social media monetization models built on our wealth of monetization options, including, but not limited to:
Subscriptions – As long as you’re building your own social community why not take advantage of our various subscription options? This will do 2 things, 1) it will provide you with some base income and 2) it will ensure that the people who subscribe to your community are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
In-app purchases – Trying to sell products or services directly through your Instagram account is a chore to say the least. Not so with Disciple. We make in-app purchases super simple and super effective. Whether you’re selling courses or clothes, Disciple makes it easy to turn your passion into profit.
Sponsorship & advertising – If your community is focused and engaged around a particular product, subject or service you’ll be able to attract both sponsors and advertisers in a way that would be nearly impossible with Facebook or Instagram. It’s just one more reason Disciple is the best social media platform to monetize.
By far the biggest challenge of social media monetization is being heard through all the noise. You’re also entirely at the mercy of the platform.
Having a private community built with reliable community software can help you overcome the limitations and uncertainties of social media and the monetization opportunities that come with them. With a private and, preferably, mobile-centric online community, you have complete control over your own social space, and that means higher engagement too. There’s no denying that private communities are the way of the future.
Disciple community management platform helps people build independent, valuable, and trusted communities in a safe space that they own and control. Choose from subscriptions, sponsorship, and in-app purchases to monetize your content and expertise. Create your own community space today.