How do influencers make money? 9 ways to make money on social media
As social media keep expanding, it also impacts a part of the economy. Almost 4 billion people use social media which represents a new opportunity for advertisers to gain new customers.
Learning how to earn from social media is now a skill that can make you a full-time income. The ways influencers make money from social media vary depending on the platform. For example, YouTubers can earn from the YouTube partner program, and Instagram influencers may get paid for shoutouts.
Most influencers have multiple streams of income that fall into one of these categories:
- service offering
- ad revenue sharing program
- affiliate commission
- royalty income
- sales revenue
Influencers’ income depends on many factors such as the number of followers, the niche, engagement, views, marketing strategies, and much more.
In this article, I will show you the most common ways influencers make money, and I will also give you some essential tips to becoming a successful social media influencer.
6 essential tips to profit from social media
Choose an niche
Posting about anything you want depending on your mood is not an option if you are on social media for business purposes. Instead, sticking to a niche and creating a buyer persona will give you better results. Your buyer persona represents your ideal visitor, and your target audience is the specific group for which you intend to create content.
Try to take into account your knowledge and hobbies while choosing a niche. For example, you may decide to be an influencer in the parenting niche because you have a newborn and are interested in this subject. More specifically, your target audience can be stay-at-home parents with a toddler.
Do some research to confirm your choice to be sure there are enough people interested in your chosen subject. For example, go on the social media platform, look around, run a search on Google Trends, and utilize a keyword tool such as Keywords Everywhere to estimate the number of people you can reach.
Provide value first
People are not usually on social media to buy but instead make friends, chill out, be entertained, be part of a community, and sometimes find a solution to their problems. Your primary role is to give them what they need.
For example, you can upload funny dog videos on YouTube or provide tips for cats care on Pinterest. If you keep producing valuable posts, people will come back and start following you. It is important to keep posting regularly over a long period to achieve your goal of getting paid as an influencer.
Learn content creation for social media or outsource
Content creation is an essential part of your success as an influencer. In the beginning, focus on producing helpful and engaging content. Always work on improving the quality but do not let technical issues keeping you from moving forward.
Unless you have previous knowledge in video creation, infographics, or a photoshop expert, you will need some time to become good at content creation. Here are three simple strategies to producing content for social media influencers:
- Learn as you go using free resources, for example, on YouTube
- Take a content creation course.
- Outsource your content creation
Outsourcing is an excellent way to snowball for people who have money while freeing more time for other tasks like topic research.
The better the quality of the content you upload, the more it will stand out amongst other influencers who just post content haphazardly. Unique content stands a better chance of going viral, which correspondingly affects the amount of engagement and reach you have.
Monitor social media engagement
Engagement is undoubtedly one of the most critical criteria companies consider when they are looking for an influencer. Having hundreds of thousands of viewers who never click on your links will not make you earn any money.
But a few thousand of active followers that communicate with you and take action when you ask them is an excellent audience. Consistency in your posts is a way to ensure that your engagement rate stays strong.
As an influencer, it is your role to educate your viewers to engage with your post. Here are a few ideas to increase engagement:
- use call to actions and questions for genuine engagement
- run a survey and ask for opinions on specific topics
- organize giveaways and contests
- always ask for feedbacks
Some people are afraid to be judge and avoid engaging with their viewers. Unfortunately, they miss out on the opportunity to improve and grow. It would be better if each post shows interaction, so it doesn’t seem like a one-way conversation is ongoing.
Have influencer marketing strategy
You should treat influencer marketing like a business. Therefore, you need to plan everything ahead of time and build a growth strategy. It is hard to find brand deals as a beginner influencer, but it is even harder to say no to a brand sponsorship when you become a well-known influencer.
A marketing strategy helps you focus on what is more beneficial for your viewers and prevents you from promoting the wrong products. Preserving your integrity is crucial to last and keep growing on social media.
Join a group and get into influencer collaboration
Collaboration helps to extend your reach by gaining access to other influencers’ audiences. It also increases your credibility and contributes to establishing you as an authority in your field. Many new entrepreneurs and influencers give up because they lack support and guidance. Being part of a group may give you this extra boost you need to keep going even on a bad day.
By joining a group, you will share your experience, but you will also learn from others. Here are three examples of groups for influencers:
- Social Media Influencers group provides resources for women
- INFLUENCERS is a Facebook group that facilitates collaborations between brands and influencers
- LinkedIn groups for influencer marketing in 2021
These are private groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that connect influencers and help you work with a brand.
10 Ways to make money on social media as an influencer
Here are 10 ways influencers make money on social media:
Create info products and digital goods
Information products and eBooks are among the most popular ways that influencers generate income. All the value is in the information you provide, and the type of digital goods you create depends on your audience. I recommend staying away from shady PLR products and create original e-goods that will boost engagement.
Here are 15 ideas of info products you can sell or giveaway as in influencer:
- low content electronic books
- Webinars and access to online events
- Cheatsheet, one-page guides, or checklists
- digital reports
- video tutorials
- themes and WordPress plugins
- Access to membership sites
- Online courses
- digital tools and software
- grant access to a Facebook group
- sales funnels
- landing pages and websites
Info products can boost direct and indirect sales because they can contain links to your products or affiliate links.
Brand sponsorships for influencers
A brand sponsorship or brand deal is a marketing strategy where brands pay influencers to get in front of their audience. Many companies are willing to invest in a brand deal, but they generally require that the influencer has:
- a large audience
- engaged followers or subscribers
- an image matching the brand principles
- the ability to create a required content
Sponsorships have many benefits for a company, such as increase sales and improve brand awareness.
In addition to earning money, a social media influencer will also take advantage of creating sponsor content by:
- offering the best deals to his viewers
- gaining authority and getting much appreciable channel or social media account
- expanding their reach
If done correctly, a brand deal is a win-win situation. Here are some of the best websites for brand sponsorships that connect companies and influencers/creators for branded content campaigns:
- AspireIQ is an influencer marketing platform helping businesses to grow by leveraging influencers to create branded content. In 2021 they are also hiring fully remote and part-time workers.
- BrandSnob connect Instagramers and brands.
- Channel Pages facilitates collaborations between YouTube content creators and sponsors.
- Content Blvd – Nwukor is a network connecting YouTubers and companies.
- CreatorIQ is a direct competitor of AspireIQ that provides advanced influencer marketing solutions.
- Grapevine Village is for Instagram accounts and YouTube channels.
- GOsnap is convenient for Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter promotions.
- GRIN provides influencer marketing for electronic commerce.
- Izea or Shake Izea is suitable for Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok, Twitch, podcast, blog post, Spaces, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Clubhouse Room, and other social media influencers.
- Sponsorpitch offers a real-time pairing service and a searchable database.
- TapInfluence allows you to get paid to create content for brands.
- Tinysponsor provides collaborations for any platform and audience size.
- Upfluence has advanced tools for influencer marketing and is for working with Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, and Tiktok influencers.
- YouTube BrandConnect monetization service (formerly Famebit) links brands with creators with brands. You can get paid to put advertiser content in your videos.
Facebook groups also help connect brands and influencers, for example, TikTok & brand deals. Plus, many influencers have an active gig on a freelance website to run paid promotional campaigns.
How influencers make money with affiliate marketing
Social media influencers can use affiliate links to diversify their income streams. Earning commissions by sending prospects to a recommended product is one of the scalable ways to increase your income. However, not all social media platforms are affiliate friendly, and you should always read the guideline to know if affiliate links are allowed.
For example, YouTube and Pinterest are two platforms that accept direct linking. But Facebook does not like external links since they try to keep you on the platform. Therefore, there are some restrictions to using affiliate links on Facebook.
It is possible to earn affiliate commissions using any social media, but the strategies vary widely. For example, it is more profitable to utilize Facebook groups, grow a community, and later recommend a product.
|Social media platform||Allow affiliate links||Where to place your affiliate links|
|Yes, but there are restrictions. For example, you can not link to some health and weight loss offers.||In your bio for any account. Use a call to action in your regular post to get people to visit your bio. If you have more than 10,000 followers you can use swipe-up feature to add a clickable URL.|
|TikTok||Yes, but you cannot add clickable links on TikTok videos.||You can only have one link in your bio if you have 1,000 followers or switch to a business account.|
|Snapchat||Yes||No restriction. Snapchat is affiliate-friendly.|
|Yes. Facebook support Amazon affiliate link but you need to read the TOS to know if they allow your affiliate network.||On your profile and in Facebook groups. Do not spam, instead create and grow your Facebook group.|
|Yes||In your tweet|
|Yes||Follow the LinkedIn guideline|
For better results, you can redirect visitors to your website, a landing page to collect emails, or use a program like Linktree to get multiple affiliate links in one place.
Driving traffic to your blog
Social media is an excellent traffic source for blogger influencers. Here are some benefits from linking to your blog from your social media accounts:
- increase traffic and get access to a broader audience
- sometimes, there is less competition compared to a blog
- diversifying your traffic sources make you less vulnerable to Google updates
- establish you as an authority and create a brand
- increase sales
- help to grow an email list
Blogger and social influencer are two complementary online occupations. Plus, they usually give excellent results when combining. The social media platform you use depends on your niche. For example, you can use LinkedIn if your blog is in the make money industry and Tiktok if your blog is related to entertainment.
The key is conversing with people in a non-salesy way to create engagement and get people’s trust. Later you can apply the 80/20 rule that consists of 80 percent of your posts focus on providing value, and 20 percent contain promotional content.
AdSense Revenue Share and paid advertising for influencers
There are two ways to benefit from advertising as an influencer: ads revenue share and ROI on advertising.
Influencers get paid to display ads on their content. For example, with Google Adsense, publishers get 68% of the revenue for displaying ads and 51% with Adsense for search. To benefit from YouTube AdSense earnings, you should apply for the YouTube partner program when you meet the requirements.
If you are a blogger influencer, getting accepted by an advertising network is one way to monetize your traffic. Of course, if you have an authoritative high-traffic website, you can apply for any ad network, but Google Adsense is probably a wise choice if you have just getting started.
YouTubers, blogger influencers, and the ones running a podcast can earn from ad sharing. It means if someone clicks (or views) on ads placed on your content, you get a percentage of the commission.
Other social media influencers are also proficient in paid advertising, and they know how to use it to boost their income. Facebook ads, Bing ads, and Google ads are among the most popular ways to advertise online. Investing in paid traffic is the fastest way to acquire leads, drive traffic to your offers, and scale.
Even if you do not spend as much money on ads as the big companies, you can still create highly profitable campaigns for your eCommerce or affiliate products. For example, Franklin Hatchett is a well-known influencer marketer that utilizes paid advertising to make money online.
How influencer earn from service offerings
Most social influencers have become proficient in a particular field over time. They have the expertise and are an authority in their niches which allow them to offer different services such as:
- online course
- audit services
- business plan services
- SEO services
You get paid to share your knowledge and expertise.
Run a giveaway or a contest
If done right, running a giveaway or a contest can make influencers make more money in the long run. You will have better results by targeting a specific audience, collecting leads, and getting a more engaged audience. Whereas a giveaway solely intending to grow subscribers may not be a good idea.
Keep it short and straightforward:
- Decide what you will be giving away (it should be highly valuable for your audience).
- Who can participate?
- How long will it last? (3 to 7 days)
- How will you choose the winner?
- Promote your Giveaway before and during the period
After, you will probably have new followers or a more engaged audience. Therefore during the days following the contest, it would be in your best interest to post your best pieces of content.
Paid membership sites and Onlyfans
Creating a membership website has become easier with the development of various content management systems and all-in-one platforms like Grin. You can offer extra paid services on your membership site that matches your followers’ expectations.
Onlyfans is gaining in popularity and offers a new way to earn money as an influencer. You can redirect your viewers to your Onlyfans page, where they can have access to free and paid content. Contrary to some beliefs, it is not exclusively for adult content, and many savvy influencers use it to supplement their income.
However, some people earn a full-time income by levering the power of paid membership sites and Onlyfans. It all depends on your offers and your subscribers’ engagement. People also get to know you and a more personal level and may ask for custom content that you sell for a higher price.
Get paid to publish guest posts and to share content
Guest posting and content sharing take different forms. For example:
- share a post in a Facebook or LinkedIn group
- save pins on high-traffic Pinterest boards
- do Instagram shoutouts
- create social signals for traffic generation by placing a link in the description of a YouTube video or mentioning something in a video
- create and publish a guest post on Medium, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, or other social media platforms
Who pay influencers, and how do they get paid
Influencers earn their pay from anyone who wants a service from the influencer, which involves using their name, image, voice, or social media account. Depending on the social media platform, influencers get paid by:
- advertising networks that place ads on their content
- other influencers who want to expand their reach
- affiliate marketing networks and platforms
- online store and eCommerce owners to get traffic to their products
- companies offering brand deals
- people who want to learn through consulting, mentoring, or online courses
- viewers that opt for a paid membership service
The payment process varies, but many influencers use PayPal to collect their money. For the ones who are selling online courses on a platform like teachable or their website, there are payment processing companies like Stripe and 2Checkout.
There is a misconception that the only influencers that get paid are those with millions of followers on their collective social media platforms. Many fail to understand that even influencers with as little as five hundred engaged followers can monetize their accounts with affiliate marketing.
Pros and cons of being an influencer
To decide if you want to become an influencer, you need to know about the advantages and disadvantages.
Benefits of being an influencer
- Help you to improve your communication skills
- Receive gifts, samples, and free products
- You can impact people’s lives positively
- Diversify your income streams
- Expand your knowledge
- You can work with brands
- You can work from home
- You can be a digital nomad
- You get to schedule your work time
Challenges of being an influencer
- You are exposed to criticism and haters.
- It can be time-consuming.
- You may need many months to start making money.
Top influencers that can teach you how to make money on social media
Even the most successful influencers had to start at the bottom of the ladder. Now it is your turn to learn from them so that you can shorten your learning curve and avoid the pitfalls of newbies entrepreneurs. And during my entrepreneurial carrier, I have learned that taking a course is one of the best investments you can make.
Here are some top influencers that can help you start the right way:
A YouTube influencer success story to inspire you
Sunny Lenarduzzi is a YouTuber that focuses on helping people achieve financial freedom by leveraging social media. She provides free tutorials on her YouTube Channel about growing on Instagram and YouTube.
Sunny has gained experience for more than a decade, and she is now running a highly profitable online business. Her Youtube page features a video on how she became a millionaire.
I am currently taking her YouTube for bosses course, and I am very pleased with the content. I believe it is a detailed but straightforward course that can benefit beginners and advanced YouTubers. If you want to learn more about her success as an online entrepreneur, you can read more about her on Forbes and The Huffington Post.
A Pinterest success story to inspire you: Anastasia Blogger is a successful blogger, Pinterest influencer, and Youtuber. One of her goals is to help online entrepreneurs to grow their business with Pinterest traffic.
In 2017, Anastasia became a blogger, and in less than a year, she was able to resign from her day job to become a full-time blogger. And, she has managed to make $8,336 working from home with her blog by utilizing SEO and Pinterest traffic.
Anastasia has developed three online courses to show you:
- how to create and launch a course
- get massive free traffic from Pinterest
- how to use Tailwind to automate your Pinterest strategy
Check the previous link if you want to learn how she earns 300,000 views on her blogs monthly.
Before venturing into the life of an influencer, you have to weigh the pros and cons. Social media marketing requires patience in its planning and execution. Plus, niche selection plays an essential role in your success.
The beginning stages of becoming an influencer can be draining and would not always (if ever) bring in income. In those moments, your passion and determination are what will keep going. Persevere until your social marketing effort translates into sales.