You probably spend a great deal of time on social media every day so why not make money while you’re using Facebook, Instagram or Twitter?
Let’s face it; when you try to Google the words “how to make money online” you will most probably get close to a million search results on the topic. That number is hardly surprising as more and more people find that social media opens up ways to make some extra money or to even make a living.
Many naysayers will disagree but recent polls and trends have shown the exact opposite. Even just looking at the number of active users on social media can make your eyes pop out. Facebook has over 2 billion active users, Instagram has 800 million active users and Twitter has about 330 million monthly active users. Most people will say it is risky to try to make money online but that is the very nature of any business though – it’s all risky.
Bottomline, the internet, and social media have given you the opportunity to make money from your business idea via social media and it’s pretty much up to you to do something about it.
Here are a few ideas of how you can maximize social media for your monetary benefit.
1. Define your niche/target market
You need to give your business idea more specific definition.
Broad strokes are not useful when you’re trying to strategize for online success. Your business idea has to address a certain target market or niche.
First off, you need to decide on your target audience and be specific.
This may seem like a moot point but one that is constantly overlooked. The more specific your audience the more impact you will have.
Secondly, define the product or service you are offering to your audience.
You may find that you will need to structure your offering a bit more. For example, your business idea may be to venture into marketing. However, what type of marketing are you offering specifically?
Will you be offering digital services, traditional marketing or perhaps copywriting?
Each type of marketing speaks to a very different target market.
2. Figure out your ultimate goal
It is vital for you to decide what you really want from this exercise. Before you subscribe to any social platform or app you must know what it is you are aiming for.
For example, do you want to use social media to attract more traffic to your website, or do you want to become the next Instagram influencer?
Your goal will decide which strategy you’ll eventually employ. Once you have decided on the ‘why’ then commit it to paper. This will help keep you on track if you are on the path to success.
3. Test your hypothesis
Every successful growth hacker and digital influencer will tell you to test before hitting the throttle at full tilt.
Missing this crucial step will cause you to miss a few vital insights.
For example, are you sure your target market is big enough for monetary gains?
Also, the problem you are trying to solve, is there an actual market for it?
And finally, does your plan follow the precepts of your original goal?
Testing and validating your idea is a very important next step.
Search Google Trends to view your niche market
Punch in your niche keywords and hit search and a graph will pop up showing you the level of interest in that topic over a specified time.
The graph should give you a good indication regarding the interest level of your niche among your target audience.
Research any competitors
Competitors are a good indicator of whether there is a market for your business or not.
This should not be a negative factor as competition will highlight the demand for your product or service.
You can do a simple search on Amazon as book sales will also give you a good indication of demand.
A search on Udemy (an online learning platform) will also highlight a demand especially when there are loads of courses in your niche that are being offered.
YouTube is the most popular video platforms and if people are viewing your niche content then there is a clear demand. YouTube will also reflect the number of people viewing the content, this is a great indicator of demand.
Instagram is the second most popular app and a simple hashtag search will show you the number of posts in your niche. A big number of post is a good indicator of demand.
Once you have successfully validated your idea, you can go about monetizing the idea on social media.
4. Develop a content strategy
A content strategy is not a marketing strategy.
Social media relies on content to attract your audience. The type of platform you choose will determine how you deliver that content. For example, videos will work for YouTube and photos will work for Instagram because that’s what those two social media platforms cater for.
You need to research the content that is already out there to give you an idea of what works and what does not.
Determine what makes you different from the rest.
Use this element to make your content great. Finding out what your competitors are doing and making it better is one way of ensuring that people are attracted to your posts. Be sure to make it unique.
Here are a few proven ideas of how to make money via social media:
People in the blogging world have known about affiliate marketing for a while now. It has steadily made its way into the mainstream of social media marketing and monetizing.
Affiliate marketing involves a process where you promote other people’s products or services for a commission. You need to have a blog to get into affiliate marketing and as long as people click on the link you provide links to the Affiliate site you’ll be able to score a commission.
Affiliate marketing is all about trust, if people trust you online then they’ll most likely purchase whatever you’re pitching to them.
If you’re thinking of posting affiliate links on Facebook or Instagram hoping that someone would click on it, you’re living in a fantasy world sparky. The best and most effective way of promoting affiliate products is through honest reviews.
If you’ve personally used a product and you honestly like it, and you also know that your followers can benefit from it, then write a review on your blog and then share a link to the product. The more honest you are the more people would trust you and buy whatever you’re promoting.
Just make sure that you are not selecting products that are unrelated to your niche. You’d run the risk of losing your followers trust. Don’t forget to tell your followers about your affiliate partnerships as well, transparency goes a long way with your followers.
Sponsored advertising or blog posts
This method is actually more popular on Instagram and not in blogging circles. This is where you will earn a fee for publishing a post or promoting a product on your account. Brands themselves will pay you for the post as long as you have a decent following.
A number of Instagram influencers who have more than 50,000 followers can easily earn $1,000 per post.
But if you’ve just started your Instagram account and you don’t have a lot of followers yet, you can still make money online, you just need to assure potential sponsors that you can offer them something of value.
Why don’t you offer an Instagram shoutout post and sweeten the deal by adding a blog review? If you have a Twitter account or a YouTube account you can also throw in a Twitter shoutout post or a YouTube vlog review. That should catch someone’s attention.
Provide informational products
Products as information are gaining incredible momentum. Providing an audience with product or service information is incredibly lucrative when done correctly.
Every single person is always searching online for information. For example, you can provide online events, courses or ebooks and you don’t even need a website to host this, you can just set up funnels using land pages and email management.
Keep in mind that quality is key to creating something people would want to pay to read.
Offer a service
If you have some sought-after skills, there will always be someone willing to pay for it. Use your skills and strengths to offer a service. For example, there is a huge demand for social media marketing or freelance writing so you can try and tap that niche if you have a background in it.
Sell your photos online
If you’re active on Facebook or Instagram and you love taking photos you can try selling your photos online. Just make sure you’re active on these two social media platforms and you’re engaging with your followers so that they’ll buy whatever you’re selling.
You can also use websites such Snapwire, Mobileprints or Twenty20 if you want to find buyers for your photos. There’s also the option of selling professional photos to stock photo websites like Shutterstock or Istockphoto.
6. Focus on a few social media platforms
It is just plain dumb to try and cover every single social media platform available. Unless you have nothing better to do then knock yourself out.
Instead, focus on a few social media platforms and focus on those. Most people will focus on the top three or five. You need to consider elements such as your target audience, your content, and what platform will work best for you content.
When it comes to social media platforms, you are spoilt for choice because there’s just so many out there.
7. Create a kickass profile online
Use your profile to attract clients and an audience. Gaining followers is a golden ticket to validation of your idea.
To make your profile stand out, ensure your profile photo is professionally done and add your chosen keywords with your name before you upload it.
Be sure to complete your profile. Do not leave any blanks and the more information you can give out online the better.
Don’t forget to add a message or note that will appeal to your target audience. Think of your profile as your billboard. Make sure it is unique and that it highlights your unique selling point.
And most importantly, you need to tell your audience what to do so you need to insert a call to action statement.
8. Do not overlook email list
An email list is like treasure to any entrepreneur. Successful marketers will use email marketing as their go-to marketing tool.
It is important to start compiling an email list from the very start. All you need to do is use a call to action asking online traffic to subscribe or sign up for a newsletter or blog. There are plenty of platforms out there that make email marketing simple, such as MailChimp so you need to start working on getting those targetted emails.
In today’s digital world anyone can make money online or via social media.
The question is, how far are you willing to go to make it happen for you?
Just like any business venture, it needs careful planning and strategy. Luckily, there are many tools available online to help you formulate and execute a clear path to success.
The one great thing about social media is that you don’t even need a website or a laptop, as you can do all you need with a smartphone or any mobile device. Long gone are the days where you need to be desk-bound to start a business and make a profit – welcome to the future!
Don’t forget to visit StarCentral Web if you want more tips and tricks when it comes to making money from your website.