Did you know that there are almost four billion social media users across all platforms? That’s a huge potential audience! Growing your follower base opens a world of monetization opportunities that can generate another revenue stream, increase your online presence, and capture leads.
Social media monetization is the practice of generating an income through social media platforms and by mobilizing your audience. This article will teach you the ins and outs of social media monetization, how to monetize your social media accounts, and how monetizing your accounts can help increase your online exposure.
How Businesses Monetize Social Media Accounts
While there are many monetization methods, the “best” techniques vary by platform. Any social media account can be monetized, but Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube tend to be the most lucrative.
With just under three billion monthly active users, Facebook is one of the most widely used social media platforms. The platform’s broad reach is best suited to generating direct sales in three ways:
- Facebook Groups: Groups allow businesses to target posts to users with specific interests.
- Facebook Marketplace: Marketplace allows businesses to sell products directly to customers.
- In-Stream Ads: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads that appear in a user’s Facebook feed, help direct users toward your product and business page.
- Fan Subscriptions: Fan Subscriptions allow Facebook users to pay a recurring monthly donation to pages they enjoy.
Facebook has several other powerful features, best understood by examining the foundations of the platform. Check out this guide to making a website like Facebook for all the ins and outs you should know.
Instagram is a great platform for sponsored posts due to its visual format, which is an incredibly effective way to showcase and promote products. Instagram can be monetized in two ways:
- Receiving sponsorships
- Sponsoring influencers
When you receive sponsorships, you’re paid to tout another business’s product to your followers, typically in return for payment. Alternatively, you might wish to sponsor an influencer by paying them to feature your product on their Instagram account. Sponsoring an influencer requires an investment, but choosing the right influencer can increase direct sales and deliver a strong ROI.
70% of YouTube users have bought a product after seeing it advertised on the platform! The site’s streaming video content and YouTubers’ substantial followings typically have high engagement levels. The platform is proven to effectively generate sales through pay-per-click (PPC) ads and influencer marketing (i.e., sponsorships).
PPC ads are a two-way street. You can run ads for your products on other YouTubers’ videos or run other companies’ ads on your content. You’ll pay (or earn) a small royalty every time someone views or clicks on the ad—depending on the advertiser’s settings.
How To Develop a Social Media Monetization Strategy
1. Choose a Social Media Platform
The first step in monetizing social media is to select a platform. While you’re not limited to one platform, you should focus your efforts where it makes the most sense for your target audience. For example, if your product is aimed toward a young demographic, you should focus on Instagram or YouTube.
2. Set SMART Goals
After selecting a platform, you should outline your marketing goals. SMART goals are an excellent way to define your objectives. They’re broken down into five areas:
- Specific: Your monetization objectives should be clearly defined and detailed, leaving no uncertainty about your strategy.
- Measurable: You must be able to measure the success of your monetization strategy, so define which metrics to track (e.g., click-through rate [CTR]).
- Achievable: Don’t set your sights too high. It’s better to aim low and outperform your goals than to shoot high and miss.
- Relevant: If your goals are irrelevant to monetization and misaligned with the previous three areas you’ve defined, you risk creating a misguided monetization strategy. For example, measuring a change in web traffic isn’t directly relevant to monetization. Conversion rates would be a better metric.
- Time-bound: Over what period do you hope to see results from your monetization strategy? In other words, at what point do you expect to see revenue growth? Your campaign should have a clearly outlined timeline with milestones to help track its success.
Setting SMART goals will help you understand your strategy’s requirements and lead to profitable social media efforts.
3. Select a Suitable Monetization Method
You can use your SMART goals to guide your choice of monetization method(s). For example, sponsored posts are an excellent choice for increasing brand awareness. However, allowing businesses to run PPC ads on your YouTube videos makes more sense if you’re looking to generate passive revenue.
If you have enough time and resources, and the desire to do so, you can utilize multiple monetization methods simultaneously to maximize your earnings on the same platform. For instance, you may choose to run PPC ads on YouTube while sponsoring a social media influencer on another platform, increasing exposure across multiple platforms. If you decide to take this route, make sure that each monetization method is measurable.
4. Plan Your Timeline
Now it’s time to create a timeline for your monetization strategy. Your timeline should include milestones for measuring success. For example, at which points do you expect to see certain sales or revenue numbers?
Gantt charts are an excellent way to document your marketing and monetization timeline. They allow you to create multiple timelines within the main timeframe, clearly showing when certain aspects of a campaign begin, end, and overlap. For example, if you’re using multiple monetization methods (e.g., sponsored posts and PPC ads), a Gantt chart will show you when each is active, helping you distribute resources appropriately.
5. Monitor Results
Once your monetization strategy is in place, you should monitor its results. This means tracking vanity metrics, analyzing analytical information, and monitoring revenue since the start of your campaign.
Examine Vanity Metrics
Vanity metrics show the popularity of your online content. They include likes, views, comments, and essentially any form of on-platform user engagement. While vanity metrics won’t tell you how successful your strategy has been regarding revenue, they can give you a solid idea of brand growth and awareness.
CTR is a crucial metric when attempting a direct sales and PPC ad approach to monetization. For example, if you’re spending a high percentage of your advertising budget but have a low CTR, your strategy isn’t working. On the other hand, a high CTR and a boost in sales indicate that your campaign is likely a success.
Should You Hire a Social Media Management Agency?
If you have limited knowledge of social media advertising, you might want to hire an expert marketing agency to help create a solid monetization strategy. Marketing agencies have access to many resources to aid in monetization, and they also have the necessary expertise to effectively generate leads and sales for your business. Before hiring a social media management agency, it’s important to consider the following factors.
Which social media platform(s) is their specialty? For example, hiring a LinkedIn expert would be a bad choice if you’re looking to monetize your Facebook page. It’s important that your social media management agency specializes in the platforms that are most relevant to your target audience.
Content Creation Ability
You might also want to outsource your content creation. If so, it’s essential to choose a social media management agency that has the right skills to create business-relevant content. Hiring an agency with irrelevant experience is unlikely to produce content that resonates with your target audience or drives the results you’re hoping for.
Ready To Monetize Your Social Media Accounts?
After reading this guide to social media monetization, you should have a better idea of how to generate income through social media. To recap, here are the three key steps:
- Set SMART goals
- Choose an appropriate platform
- Consider hiring a social media management agency
If you’ve enjoyed this article, check out the rest of our blog for more.