How to Make Money With Social Media Make connections first, but at some point consider how to leverage the connections you make. Here are six ways.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
There are more money-making opportunities on social media than you might realize. Social media, in fact, can be quite lucrative.
Many experts say that social media is for connecting with people, and not for selling, but at some point, you're going to want to leverage the connections you create. If you've built up enough trust with your followers, they'll be more inclined to check out your recommendations and the links you share.
Here are six ways you can make money on social media.
1. Promote affiliate products.
No matter what industry you're in, you can find great products to promote on ClickBank. And if that doesn't quite jive with you, you can also become an Amazon Associate, promote products of your choosing and earn commissions on them -- Amazon has no shortage of products.
Next, instead of spamming links on Twitter and hoping for the best, keep in mind that the most honest and effective way of promoting affiliate products is through reviews. If you personally use a product and like it, and know that your followers serve to benefit from it, then write a long-form review on your blog, and share why you like the product. Don't be afraid to talk about what you like and don't like about it. You can even use video if that's more your style.
Also make sure to disclose your affiliate relationships. This is a legal requirement in most cases, but it's also "best practice." Your readers or viewers will appreciate your honesty.
2. Create and promote your own information products.
If you already have a blog, and you've demonstrated your expertise on a specific subject over a period of time, there may be an opportunity to create an ebook, audio program or video course and sell it to your audience. Social media is the perfect place to promote such a product.
Platforms like Gumroad, Sellfy and Amazon's KDP program make it easy for you to publish and sell your PDF, MP3 or video file at a price of your choosing -- keeping in mind that all platforms do take a cut, even if it's small.
As with anything, quality is key to creating something people not only want to read, but will pay to read. If you take extra care in creating great information, designing and promoting it well, you will definitely see more sales.
3. Promote products and services.
There are many opportunities for you to share sponsored posts that promote the products and services of other businesses. This is a very direct way of earning money from social media.
But, if you don't have a sizable following, this may not be much of an opportunity. You also have to beware of over-promoting products for want of money, because if your followers see that you're constantly tweeting about one product or another, not only will they not click on the links, they will also un-follow you.
It's important to mix things up. It's wise to take the time to craft a proper social media posting schedule, to make sure you're adding value to your followers while promoting products. Calls to action should definitely be a part of your social media strategy, but every post can't be a call to action.
4. Use visual media to promote your crafts.
If you tend to create handmade crafts, art pieces, or even articles of clothing and knitting, there may be an opportunity to showcase your products on social media. Instagram and Pinterest may seem like obvious places to hit, but Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are also great channels for sharing visual media.
If you have an Etsy account, you can direct your followers to check out your products there, and between the different channels, you have the potential to make a good living.
5. Promote your coaching or consulting services.
Social media is a great place to generate leads for your consulting business. Whether you're a guitar teacher or a life coach, if you have demonstrated expertise in a specific area, you can create more interest for your services by connecting with your target customer on social media.
Coaching sessions can be conducted over Skype, so this is definitely an opportunity to make money without leaving home. Consulting can be lucrative, so remember not to undercut yourself -- charge a fair price for your time and effort.
This strategy can also work in unison with selling information products, as those who want your advice are more likely to be interested in the ebooks and courses you've created.
6. Join the YouTube Partner Program
Building a popular YouTube channel can be a lot of work. But if you already have a following, or you're determined to build your audience, joining the YouTube Partner Program to make money on advertising might be a path worth exploring.
There are prominent YouTube content creators who have made substantial amounts of money with this program, but they are the exception rather than the rule. It would take a lot of time, strategy and sheer luck to make money on YouTube. However, this is a good thing to keep in mind with advertising in general. Unless you're already getting a lot of views and clicks, you're not going to make a lot of money on them.
These are just some of the many ways you can make money with social media; there are plenty of other money-making websites for you to explore.
It's important to remember that making money on social media isn't necessarily easy. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and are willing to work hard, test and experiment, your chances at success will be far greater than the chances of those who just want to "give it a try" to see what happens.
So, build a strategy; don't just wing it. Make a plan for how you're going to reach your financial goals, and be willing to adjust as necessary.