Social media is constantly growing and changing. According to Sprout Social, there are 3.96 billion users across all platforms, and adults spend over an hour and a half per day glued to social media.
But more users bring more noise. It’s more difficult than ever to get paid to post on social media in 2022.
So what are brands and creators doing to stand out from the crowd? Let’s look at 10 ways creators and brands are making money on social media in 2022.
How can you make money on social media?
There are many different ways you can make money on social media, each with its own earning potential.
Some people make money on social media as content creators and influencers by featuring brands in their posts. One HypeAuditor survey found Instagram influencers make $2,970 per month by working an average 28.7 hours each week.
Social commerce, meanwhile, has also opened the doors to direct sales via platforms including Facebook and Instagram, making it possible to sell directly to customers from the social media platform they’re already on.
You can also make money indirectly on social media, by using it as a sales platform to promote your products and services and drive traffic to your own ecommerce site.
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On the creator side, 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. However, generally speaking, the more followers you have, the more money you stand to make. According to HypeAuditor’s data, the sweet spot seems to be 500,000 to one million Instagram followers, though there’s opportunity on all ends of the spectrum.
5 best ways to make money on social media as a creator
You can make money on social media even if you don’t already have an official business. You just need a few followers and some spare time to dedicate to one of the ideas below.
1. Partner with brands
Partnering with brands to create social media content and campaigns is a great way to earn money on social media because it’s a flexible option with many approaches. 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, supplemental to income from a full-time job. You don’t need tons of spare time to pursue this route.
When you partner with brands, it’s important to position yourself in a way that meets their needs. Think about what a brand would want from a collaboration. According to one survey, brands’ priorities are:
- The influencer’s personal experience with its product
- Quality of content
- Number of followers
- Audience demographics
Be prepared to share this information upfront. 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, and case studies of past collaborations, if you have them.
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Brand partnerships are a great way to make money on social media. Don’t go overboard, though: 81% of people will unfollow accounts for posting sponsored content “more than a few times a week.” So remember to maintain a healthy mix of engaging content and sponsored posts.
2. Become an affiliate
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.
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 frequently 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: Ultimate Guide for 2022
- 16 Affiliate Marketing Tips & Strategies to Earn More Money
- Affiliate Marketing on Instagram: 7 Ways to Make More Money
- YouTube Affiliate Marketing: 7 Pro Tips to Earn Extra Income
- How to Become an Amazon Affiliate and Sell More Online
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.
3. Sell your own merch
If you have a strong presence and loyal following, 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 Linkpop.
Julia Roblin is an artist from Winnipeg 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 merch in the form of stickers, apparel, and tattoo templates. 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.
Keep in mind that each platform has its own parameters 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
4. Offer premium services or coaching
You can make money on social media selling consulting or coaching services. If you’re a skilled social media marketer, you can monetize these assets via a service-based business.
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. The possibilities are endless, which makes this a great option to make money with social media.
If you want to offer social media services, start by building your own website. Showcase your services and portfolio, as well as customer testimonials if you have them.
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.
5. Start a membership program
After the onset of COVID-19, virtual events and communities started popping up left and right. People are now more familiar with virtual memberships and, as a result, more willing to enroll in them. Plus, membership programs are guaranteed recurring revenue, which is often easier to forecast.
Instagram user @stretchwithlex is a flexibility and mindset coach offering virtual stretching coaching memberships. She promotes these primarily on her Instagram page. Membership programs can be either service-oriented or product-based, or even both. You might offer a community-based membership program meant to build connections and offer value, or you might sell subscription boxes with your favorite curated products.
Sell courses and membership programs 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 membership program, make sure you’re ready to commit to it. If the idea of an ongoing membership-based business is overwhelming to you, consider starting small. Maybe you offer a three-month membership program to test the waters before going all in.
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5 ways to make money on social media as a brand
Social media is an excellent channel to make money as a brand. While it used to be solely a platform for promoting your products and connecting with customers, new features and advancements have elevated it into a place of commerce.
1. Promote sales and special offers
Everyone loves a deal, and social media users are no different. Discounts, sales, giveaways, and special offers give customers more for their money, so it’s an extra incentive to buy. Plus, limited time offers instill a sense of urgency, giving an extra push to buy now instead of later.
You can offer discounts on your entire website or limited to specific products, categories, or collections. Sustainable swimwear brand Seea, for example, often uses its social media accounts to promote the sales on its Shopify website.
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. We’ve also rounded up some ideas on how to use discounts and coupons, along with the best discount Shopify apps to help you execute your ideas.
Don’t go overboard when it comes to discounts, though. If you run promotions too frequently, you may completely dissuade shoppers from purchasing anything at full price. Instead, they may choose to wait for the next inevitable sale. Keep the promotions to special or seasonal events and in support of specific business goals or marketing campaigns.
2. 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. Just over a quarter of social media users would like to see UGC from brands.
To leverage the power of social proof via UGC, give your customers a reason to share about your product in the first place. Create a branded hashtag and include it, along with your social handles, on printed items like packing slips and price tags. Promote your social presence on your website as well, perhaps featuring a feed at the bottom of your homepage.
Remember when using UGC, it’s always best to ask permission. Even if you’re not legally obligated to, asking permission is polite and will nurture your customer relationships. Plus, this gives you a chance to request the original high-resolution assets and permission to use them elsewhere.
3. 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.
Women’s fashion brand Motif Concept Store uses social media to tease upcoming product launches and build buzz around each drop to drive more sales on its Shopify store. It also uses the Shopify–Instagram integration to allow for seamless sales on the social platform.
Not everyone is willing to leave Instagram to make a purchase on your website. That’s why it’s a good idea to set up Instagram Shopping to connect to your Shopify store. This will encourage more sales and help you make money from social media.
Consider building a cadence for your launches or drops. Motif Concept Store teases drops gradually over the span of about a week, starting with a single post and then increasing the frequency as the drop approaches. Figure out a frequency that works for you and build that into your social media marketing workflow.
4. Sell your products directly
Social commerce means people can make purchases on social media platforms, without ever visiting a dedicated ecommerce site. And considering more than half of social media users want to see brands post content about their products, it offers a great opportunity to make money on social media as a brand.
It’s not technically challenging to sell products on social media without requiring customers to leave the platform. 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.
Check out more on how to get started with these guides:
- How to Sell on Instagram with Instagram Shopping
- How to Sell on Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Shops in 2022
Keep in mind that it’s important to avoid over-posting. Nearly three-quarters of people think brands should stick to no more than two posts each day.
5. 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.
Sustainable slow fashion brand Kūla does this on its Instagram page. The Shopify merchant frequently features models, social media influencers, creators, and other brand collaborators in its Stories and feed posts. It also includes links to the product pages so users can learn more and make a purchase.
Not sure where to start looking for the right creators for your brand? There are many platforms to help you find creators who match your audience targeting and visual aesthetic. You don’t need a big budget to partner with social content creators. In fact, some micro-influencers will accept free products as a form of payment.
When partnering with creators, look for people who fit your brand aesthetic. This will not only make it easier to work with the creator, but it also appears more authentic to the audience. Provide guidance in the form of visual brand guidelines and examples of photos and social media content that works for your brand.
Slow and steady wins
While there are many different ways to make money on social media, the main thing to remember is that hard work and consistency are key. It takes a lot of time to build a loyal, engaged 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.