It’s more difficult than ever to get paid to post on social media. So, what are brands and creators doing to stand out from the crowd? Here are eight ways to make money on social media in 2024.
How to make money on social media: 8 ways
- Become a micro-influencer
- Partner with brands
- Become an affiliate partner
- Sell your own products
- Sell your own merch
- Offer coaching or mentorship
- Sell courses or books
- Make and sell digital products
1. Become a micro-influencer (a.k.a. micro-creator)
Some people make money on social media as content creators and influencers by featuring brands in their posts.
You don’t need a massive following to unlock your earning potential. Micro-influencers can start making money on social media with as little as 1,000 followers. One HypeAuditor survey found Instagram influencers can charge $20 to $100 for a single post, even if they have fewer than 10,000 followers.
But the more followers you have, the more money you stand to make. If you have 500,000 to one million followers, for example, the average price per post can be up to $7,000.
Niche markets can also afford you higher rates in influencer marketing. This allows you to hone in on a specific audience and industry, and brands in that niche will be more willing to pay higher rates because of your targeted audience.
2. Partner with brands
Partnering with brands to create social media content and marketing campaigns can earn you money on social channels because it’s a flexible option. Plus, working with brands is a great way to legitimize your influencer marketing business and appear professional to other potential partners.
Many social media creators have found success through brand collaborations. Oftentimes, people use social media as a side gig to supplement the income from their full-time job. You can bring them on to sponsor your content, create ads and exclusive content for them, or join a product launch to expand its reach.
When you partner with brands, position yourself in a way that meets their needs. Think about what a brand would want from a collaboration. Create a pitch deck or press kit that highlights this information and showcases your best posts. You may consider sharing analytics about your reach and engagement, as well as case studies of past collaborations, if you have them.
3. Become an affiliate partner
Affiliate marketing is a passive way to earn income for recommending products and services on your social media channels. Companies pay a commission in exchange for every sale you refer to the business. It’s sort of the generic version of brand partnerships. Affiliate programs typically come with lower commissions but are more accessible—in other words, it’s easier to work with a brand as an affiliate than as a content partner.
You can use your social media platforms to earn money as an affiliate marketer by sharing your unique referral codes and links in your posts. And the best part is you can start affiliate marketing with no money.
Many social media influencers and content creators share affiliate codes for brands they like. They then earn a commission in exchange for every customer who makes a purchase using the code. Sometimes affiliate codes also include a discount as extra incentive.
If you want to get started earning money on social media as an affiliate marketer, check out the following resources:
- Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: Your Startup Guide
- 16 Affiliate Marketing Tips and Strategies to Earn More Money
- Instagram Affiliate Marketing: Everything You Need to Know
- YouTube Affiliate Marketing: 7 Pro Tips to Earn Extra Income
- Start Earning With the Amazon Affiliate Program
Keep in mind: Not all affiliate networks and programs are the same. Each has its own fee and payout structure, among other guidelines. The best affiliate programs offer healthy commission rates and frequent or instant payouts. Always do your research to find the best option for your goals.
4. Sell your own products
You can also make money by selling products directly on social media, by using it as a sales platform, even without your own ecommerce site. Social commerce has opened the doors to direct sales via platforms including Instagram and TikTok, making it possible to sell directly to customers from the social media platform they’re already on.
Using a platform like Shopify, you can even launch your own online store and integrate it with your chosen social commerce channels to manage a full, multichannel business. Shopify has tons of integrations to choose from, allowing you to turn it into a complete command center where you can manage every aspect of your business.
5. Sell your own merch
If you’ve built a strong brand, you might consider turning it into branded merchandise. Social media is an excellent channel to promote products, whether driving people to your Shopify store or selling directly via social commerce and tools like Linktree.
Julia Roblin is a Canadian artist from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who turned her TikTok success into a product-based business opportunity. She started posting her tattoo ideas and quickly garnered an audience of more than half a million followers. When people demanded her designs on products they could purchase, she launched a Shopify store to sell merchandise in the form of stickers, apparel, and tattoo mock-ups. This has been a workaround for TikTok’s strict creator fund restrictions.
Making and selling merchandise doesn’t require extensive experience. In fact, you can outsource everything from product design through order fulfillment. You can even work with third-party print-on-demand suppliers who can manufacture and ship your products to customers on your behalf.
Each platform has its own rules when it comes to selling products on its platform. Julia found a way to use TikTok to promote her merchandise business venture. Check out these channel-specific guides to help you navigate the nuances of selling merch on social media:
- How to Make and Sell Merch on TikTok
- Creators in Control: How YouTubers Can Make Money With Merch
- How to Make Money on Twitch: Making Merch
6. Offer coaching or mentorship
You can make money on social media selling consulting or coaching services.
There are many avenues you can take with this business idea. You can choose a specific niche, such as helping product-based businesses create social media plans or coaching professional photographers on how to prep their photos for their feeds. You can offer private one-on-one coaching or organize group coaching sessions, a membership program, or a paid community.
Consider bundling your services into packages, which will protect your time and prevent your relationship turning into one akin to an employer-employee relationship. Perhaps you offer a certain number of posts for a flat package fee, or you conduct an audit for a set rate.
7. Sell online courses or ebooks
Sell courses on your Shopify site and then promote them on your social media accounts. This offers you more control and insight into your business while offering the convenience of seamless integration with social tools.
When building your content-driven products, make sure you’re ready to commit to regular updates. Annual is a good idea, but this may vary depending on the topic.
8. Make and sell digital products
Making and selling digital products is another fun avenue to explore on social media. Digital products come in various forms, so it’s a flexible venture to pursue. You might even already have digital assets you can turn into sellable products.
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Digital art and design: digital illustrations; graphic designs; art prints; customizable design templates for social media posts, stories, or banners
- Photography: high-quality stock photos, digital wallpapers, or photography/Lightroom presets
- Ebooks and guides: in-depth guides or tutorials related to your niche
- Printable planners: calendars or organizers for various purposes; cater to specific needs, such as fitness, productivity, or goal-setting
- Online courses: courses for platforms like Udemy or Teachable; live webinars; virtual workshops; Q&A sessions
- Music and audio: digital music tracks, sound effects, audio samples, or music production templates and presets
- Virtual assets: 3D models for use in virtual environments or gaming; virtual assets for content creators, such as virtual backgrounds
- Coding resources and templates: code snippets, website templates, or app templates
How do I make money on social media if I’m a brand?
Brands can also use social media to promote product sales and brand awareness. In fact, many of the ideas above apply. There’s little difference between individuals and businesses when it comes to creating popular monetized social media content. Businesses are now personal, and people are now brands.
Regardless, here are a few ideas:
- Promote sales and special offers: Discounts, sales, giveaways, and special offers give customers an extra incentive to buy. And limited time offers instill a sense of urgency. When it comes to promoting discounts on social media, you can offer codes in exchange for an email signup, as an incentive for social media engagement, or even exclusive deals to top customers in your “close friends” list on Instagram.
- Highlight your best customers: User-generated content (UGC) is a great way to boost sales on social media. Not only does this give you easy access to content—an ever-present challenge for brands—you can also tag featured products for social commerce sales.
- Build anticipation for product launches: Social media is an excellent platform for building buzz around specific events, namely product launches. With the right mix of paid, organic, and influencer posts, you can put your brand in front of millions of potential customers.
- Sell your products directly: Social commerce means people can make purchases on social media platforms, without visiting a dedicated ecommerce site. With Shopify’s Facebook and Instagram integration, your Shopify products will automatically sync to your Facebook and Instagram storefronts. You can also easily create ads, tag products in shoppable posts, and offer a one-tap checkout experience.
- Partner with creators: Partnering with creators puts your product and brand in front of new, engaged target audiences. It’s also a great way to amass a small collection of content to add to your arsenal for future use.
Slow and steady wins
While there are many different ways to make money on social media, in reality, you’ll probably need to do most—possibly even all of them—to make decent money on social media.
The main thing to remember is hard work and consistency are key. It takes a lot of time to build a loyal, engaged social media audience, and you have to offer value if you expect users to give you their money. Start with a strong social media marketing strategy that outlines your goals and then build your roadmap to get there.