Ahh, influencers. You either love ‘em, or you hate ‘em. Either way, we’ve all heard the news stories about this or that influencer becoming a millionaire (or billionaire!) from their social media accounts. A lot of us have probably even seen some of our favorite creators announce that their channel/page/IG is their only source of income.
All that publicity really makes you wonder, “Can I make money from social media?” If you hate influencers, the thought has probably made you cringe. You’re definitely not the “influencer” type, and you don’t want to change who you are.
On the other hand, the average person spends at least two hours a day on social media: might as well make some money from that, right?
How to Make Money From Your Phone
When you search how you can make money on social media, you’ll run into two problems. First, the creators you know and love have made it seem easy — effortless, even — to make money from social media. The second problem is when you find “how-to” articles for influencing. They either give too much information or waaaay too little.
There’s definitely a bit of a trick to making money from social media, but it isn’t magic — and it isn’t impossible.
Anyone can make money from social media but don’t forget that you’re growing your presence. You wouldn’t plant a seed and then be dismayed when there isn’t a flower there the next day. You have to keep watering, monitor, and maybe change how much light, heat, or moisture is in the soil.
Making money from social media is the same way. Your efforts will pay off, but you can’t give up! You need to be patient and adjust along the way.
First, there’s the cliche…
If you’ve ever even thought about making money on social media, you’ve probably run into three big cliches.
First, people will scream at the top of their lungs, “YOU NEED TO FIND A NICHE IF YOU EVER WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL. If they bother to explain what that means, you’ll probably find more platitudes like “be specific” and “be genuine”.
Then, you’ll find the people who tell you to “build a following.” They’ll throw out that “money doesn’t come from nowhere” and tell you to “spread the word any way you can.”
Finally, there’s good ol’ consistency. “Consistency is key!” “The algorithm will never push you if you aren’t consistent, you know,” they tell you. They seem to expect that every content creator is a consistently never-ending fountain of ideas to post on social media.
What people who write about social media never seem to realize is that these things aren’t helpful.
…but there are steps you can take to make money on social media.
The good news is that it’s not all platitudes and hope. You can take concrete steps to make money on social media. There’s actual, practical advice for all of these things.
What’s so frustrating about these cliches is that they’re all true but vague. You know that you need to make content about something, but what is it? You know that you need more followers, but how can you do that? You know that you need to be consistent, but what does that look like?
There are some dos and don’ts for these three crucial steps that work on every social platform out there. Let’s take a look at what they are.
Finding Your Niche: Dos and Don’ts
- Pick something you can talk about for hours. After all, you will be!
- Plan to stick with it for a while and give it a chance to perform.
- Be confident about it. Even if you think that whatever you’re picking is too niche, it’s not. (Promise.)
- Look at the creators you already follow for inspiration. If you feel like you like too many things, look at the things you already like, comment on, and share on social media. That niche is a great place to start creating since you’re already familiar with the topics.
- Worry about boxing yourself in. You can always make branch-off accounts later in different niches.
- Stress out about picking a “profitable” niche. Those big, popular niches have some steep competition. Smaller niches are less likely to make you a millionaire but will make you more consistent money.
- Be inauthentic. Your sponsors, your followers, and you will all be much happier around someone who’s genuinely excited about their niche.
Building a Following: Dos and Don’ts
- Add value to people who come across your content. Make sure that when you post, it’s something interesting, fun, and worthwhile. In other words, the kind of thing you want to see in your feed.
- Keep yourself current. Participate in trends, use hashtags, keep an eye on the “explore” or “for you” pages. The algorithm will boost you much quicker when you’re involved in what people are interested in.
- Add a call-to-action. Depending on your platform, you might want to put this in every time you post, or just pepper it in, but don’t forget it! Encourage people who find your content to give you a follow in a fun way.
- Invite friends and family willy nilly. This can add extra stress, as you have to worry about grandma seeing everything you post. Also, your friends and family might not be in your niche, which won’t boost your follow count any further.
- Spam. Self-promoting everywhere is a surefire way to get banned, and it doesn’t work. Don’t go into other people’s comments and groups just to say, “Follow me; I’m cool!” If you leave comments, make sure they’re relevant and interesting.
Being Consistent (While Keeping It Fun): Dos and Don’ts
- Set yourself a reminder, so you post at the same time every day.
- Always be drafting. Keep notes or a spreadsheet of content ideas for when you’re feeling creatively dry.
- Ask your audience what they want to see. This gives your interaction metrics a good boost, too. People comment more to share ideas and then come back to see it happen.
- Randomly post once a day. Try to post at the same time every day, instead of posting at 8 am on Monday, but not till 7 pm on Tuesday.
Making money with social media doesn’t happen overnight. At least, not for most people. When you give it some time, though, it’s a great way to make some extra cash. More importantly, you can build a community of followers and other creators with whom you can have fun.
You might feel shy and awkward getting started, but that’s totally normal. When that happens, think of all the great content creators you enjoy every day. Think about the creators that make you excited to see them on your feed. They all started from 0 followers, too, just like you!
The internet is a big, amazing place. There are hundreds of content creators, but I think we need one more. We’re missing you!
About the Author:
Alexandria is a copy and content creator from Missouri. Alexandria has two kids and runs NorthStar Copywriting, LLC. With all that on her plate, she knows firsthand how important money smarts are to daily life. That firsthand experience fuels her passion for writing and education here at Penny Calling Penny.