How to Actually Make Money on Social Media in 2023
Monetizing social media — it's not only possible; it's life-changing.
In 4 short years, I've turned posts into profits, generating $4M+ in revenue.
Now, it's your turn.
In this article, I'll unveil 9 tried-and-tested ways to make money on social media and the steps to make it happen.
No fluff, just actionable insights I’ve learned along the way that could transform your journey to success.
How many followers do you need to monetize your social media?
There's a common misconception that you need a 6 or 7-figure follower count to make money online.
This isn't true. You can make a killing with a much smaller but more engaged audience.
Take 'micro-influencers,' for example.
These creators may only have 1,000 followers or so, but they possess something powerful:
Influence — they have a loyal audience that listens to and acts upon their recommendations.
Micro-influencers build an authentic connection with their followers, creating a strong community. This connection is precisely why nearly 80% of marketers favor working with them over celebrities.
So don't fret if you have a modest social media account.
1,000 followers invested in what you do > 100,000+ ghost followers
If your followers are active and love what you share with them, you have what it takes to monetize social media.
9 ways to make money on social media
- Sell online courses
- Make digital products
- Become an influencer
- Try affiliate marketing
- Create sponsored content
- Start a paid community or subscription
- Offer consulting, coaching, or mentorship
- Sell products with Instagram or Facebook shops
- License your content for individual or company use
1. Sell online courses
Imagine packaging your niche expertise into a format that benefits others.
An online course does exactly that. Gather your unique learnings and experiences and deliver them to people eager to follow in your footsteps.
Take my journey in building an audience of 750K+ fans on social media, for example. Along the way, I've gained valuable insights into what works and what doesn't. These are lessons I've distilled into structured, comprehensive online courses.
By creating and selling these courses, I'm helping others replicate my path to success while opening a valuable revenue stream for myself.
It's a win-win. I get to share my knowledge, and others get to learn from it.
The best part?
Your course can be about anything. As long as you have passion and knowledge others are willing to pay for, you can create a profitable online course.
2. Make digital products
Digital products are another excellent way to monetize your social media. They allow you to package your experience and knowledge into tangible, useful, and practical resources for your audience.
Let's say you're a freelance writer and know how tough it is to negotiate rates. But after years of freelancing, you've developed an effective email template that consistently brings you positive negotiation outcomes.
Why not turn this template into a digital product and sell it at an affordable price? It's a simple, accessible solution to a common problem.
Generally, individual digital products don't produce as much revenue as courses. But they can become a steady passive income source.
You make them once (and maybe update them as needed), and they can roll in the dough for years to come.
Pro tip: Offer your digital products as complements to your courses or as standalone offerings that solve specific problems for your audience.
3. Become an influencer
As a social media influencer, your job is to bridge the gap between brands and potential customers, offering your unique perspective and authentic voice.
If your followers trust and respect your opinions, becoming an influencer could be a rewarding way to monetize your social media.
Suppose a software company develops a new invoicing tool designed to simplify the process of getting freelancers paid. They approach you, recognizing that your specific audience could benefit from this tool.
In this partnership, you'd use and evaluate the product, sharing an authentic review with your followers. Your endorsement gives the product exposure, credibility, and direct access to a relevant customer base.
In return, the software company pays you for the promotion, acknowledging the value you bring through your influence.
4. Try affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is all about sharing and earning.
You share unique affiliate links to products or services you stand by with your followers. Each time they make a purchase through your link, you earn a commission.
Not sure where to start with this?
Amazon has a solid affiliate marketing program that you can't go wrong with. The online marketplace sells items we all love and use daily, so you're bound to make some extra cash by sharing your favorite finds.
This form of advertising is a fantastic way to monetize your influence while providing value. It's a win for you, a win for your followers, and a win for the brands you work with.
5. Create sponsored content
Similar to influencer marketing, creating sponsored content is a powerful way to leverage your influence and reach while giving your audience useful information.
Sponsorships involve featuring a brand's products or services in your posts or stories.
It works like this:
- A brand you trust offers a product that aligns with your audience's interests.
- You create content showing this product in use (usually in the form of a series of video tutorials or a blog post).
- You share it with your followers. Depending on the brand's marketing goals, they may ask you to help host giveaways.
At the end of the partnership, the sponsor pays you for your role in highlighting the product.
6. Start a paid community or subscription
A paid community not only generates income but also fosters a deeper connection with your most engaged audience members. It's an awesome way to offer greater value and more personalized interactions.
To launch one, you need to offer something more than the value you already provide in public. This could be premium content, behind-the-scenes access, or unique perks to subscribers on platforms like Patreon or a membership program on your social media.
For example, I've offered live Q&A sessions before, exclusive to members of my previous paid community. During these sessions, I dive deeper into content strategies and provide direct, personalized advice.
7. Offer consulting, coaching, or mentorship
After years of doing your thing, you gain experience, insights, and lessons learned that others will pay you to share.
Besides becoming "The Diversified Solopreneur," I have a strong background in SaaS.
At the beginning of my LinkedIn journey, I had plenty of experience in this field and knew a lot that others didn't. So, I was a SaaS consultant for a while, helping other professionals in the space level up in their careers.
If you have a proven track record and a willingness to share your expertise, this option can be a fulfilling and profitable venture.
8. Sell products with Instagram or Facebook shops
Social media platforms have become new-age storefronts. By setting up Instagram or Facebook shops, you can sell products to your followers without them needing to leave the platform.
Perhaps you've created branded merchandise or developed a physical product that aligns with your brand. By showcasing these products on your social media shop, you make it easy for your followers to support you.
9. License your content for individual or company use
The content you create for social media doesn't have to live and die on your profile.
Your high-quality photos, video content, or written posts can be given a second life when licensed to other individuals or companies for their marketing campaigns.
For example, a hotel may want to buy usage rights to a photo you took while traveling for their promotional materials.
So way after you’ve published, this approach turns your social media content into extra cash.
How to monetize social media
Monetizing social media isn't about a quick buck; it's a strategic endeavor. It takes time, dedication, and an understanding of the platforms you use and the audience that gathers there.
Let's delve into the process of turning your social media presence into a money-making machine.
Step 1: Build a memorable social media presence
To monetize your social media profiles, you need to make an unforgettable impression.
First, focus on crafting a professional, personable, and on-brand image.
- Does my bio communicate who I am, what I do, and what value I bring?
- Does the content I share reflect my brand's voice?
- Are the aesthetics of my page consistent?
The goal here is to create a cohesive, inviting space that speaks to your target audience.
The stronger your persona, the more likely you'll attract followers who'll become future customers.
You can see the exact system I used to go from 2k to 400k+ followers and $4M+ in income inside The Operating System. I’ve helped 15,000+ students grow and monetize their social media.
Step 2: Establish your expertise with high-quality content
Becoming a trusted authority in your field starts with the content you post on social media.
Your posts, stories, and videos are all vehicles for showcasing your know-how.
Start by identifying your audience's pain points. Then, address these issues with insightful and actionable content. This could be through a tips and tricks video or an informative carousel, for example.
When you consistently deliver top-tier content, your credibility grows. And with credibility comes the potential for monetization.
Step 3: Engage and interact with your audience
Engaging with your social media audience takes you from being a face on a screen to a relatable human.
Start conversations, respond to comments, and show genuine interest in what your followers have to say. Encourage questions and provide thoughtful answers.
The more you interact, the more your followers feel seen and heard. This builds a strong sense of community and trust, which is invaluable for monetization. When people feel connected to you, they're more likely to spend their hard-earned dollars with you.
Step 4: Build an email list
Email lists are often overlooked when it comes to social media marketing.
But having one is crucial. You're literally at the mercy of fickle algorithms without it.
My best advice?
Collect emails before you have something to sell. You can start with only a couple of hundred followers. Offer a freebie to your audience in exchange for their email addresses, like exclusive content or early access. Over time, this list becomes a powerful tool for promoting your offerings.
And when inevitable social media algorithm changes happen, you'll have an unshakable, direct connection to your audience.
Step 5: Promote your offering
Once you have a solid base and established trust, it's time to start sharing your product, service, or offer. But remember, it shouldn't be a hard sell.
Think about how your offering solves a problem or fulfills a need for your audience. Highlight those benefits in your posts. Be open about the value you're providing, and let your genuine enthusiasm shine through.
When you get testimonials, success stories, and positive reviews, share them. Promoting your offering is about helping your audience understand why it's worth the investment — not about convincing them to buy something they don't need.
Step 6: Deliver top-notch value
I've mentioned it countless times, and I'll mention it again:
You must consistently deliver unparalleled value.
Whether it's through a course, a digital product, a sponsored post, or a consultation, always ensure your audience gets more than they expected.
If people feel like they're getting substantial value for their money, they're more likely to become repeat customers and recommend you to their network.
Pro tip: A satisfied customer is your best marketer. Focus on overdelivering, and watch your reputation and income grow.
Step 7: Diversify your revenue streams
When I say 'diversify,' I don't mean do everything all at once. Diversification is about strategically adding new income streams as your online business grows.
Think about the 9 ways already discussed.
Could you weave several of these into your social media strategy?
Perhaps you start with an online workshop and then add affiliate marketing.
Or maybe you offer coaching first, then roll out a premium community.
Whatever it is, your goal should be to create multiple income streams. This increases your earning potential and provides a safety net, so your financial success doesn't hinge on a single source.
Start monetizing your social media today
Understanding how to monetize social media might seem almost impossible at first, especially if you have no idea how or where to start.
Your value isn't measured by your follower count but by the impact you make.
Each connection you cultivate and every piece of content you create adds to your digital footprint.
This journey is about making your mark, offering value, and leading with authenticity.
With these insights and strategies, you're geared up to make money on social media.
Want the nitty-gritty on how I grow and monetize LinkedIn? My course, The Operating System, could be the game-changer you need. It's already helped 15K+ content creators carve out their path to success on the platform (and other social channels).
Some final thoughts…
Good luck out there.
Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:
1. The LinkedIn Operating System: Join 16,000 students and 30 LinkedIn Top Voices inside of The LinkedIn Operating System. This comprehensive course will teach you the system I used to grow from 0 to 470,000+ followers and $4.8M in income.
3. Promote yourself to 175,000+ subscribers by sponsoring this newsletter.