If you google the above headline, you will probably get close to 100,000 links on the topic. That number is hardly a surprise, as more and more people find that social media opens up ways to make some extra money or to even make a living.
Many naysayers will disagree, but recent polls and trends have shown the exact opposite. Most people will say it is risky, but that is the very nature of any business – it’s all risky. However, it’s a known fact that you can actually make a decent living out of social media.
Here are a few ideas of how you can maximize social media for your monetary benefit.
1. Decide upon your ultimate goal
It is vital that you decide what you want from this exercise. Before you subscribe to any social platform or app you must know what it is you are aiming for. For example, do you want to use social media to attract more traffic to your website, or do you want to become the next Instagram influencer?
Your goal will decide which strategy you employ. Once you have decided on the ‘why’, then commit it to paper. This will help keep you on track and lets you know if you are on the path to success.
2. Test your hypothesis
Every successful growth hacker and digital influencer will tell you to test before hitting the throttle at full tilt. Missing this crucial step will cause you to miss a few vital insights. For example, are you sure your target market is big enough for monetary gains? Also, the problem you are trying to solve, is there an actual market for it? And finally, does your plan follow the precepts of your original goal? Testing and validating your idea is a very important next step.
Check out Google Trends to view your niche market
Punch in your niche keywords and hit search. A graph will pop up showing you the level of interest in that topic over a specified time. The graph will give you a good indication regarding the interest level of your niche among your target audience.
Research any competitors
Competitors are a good indicator of whether there is a market for your business or not. This should not be a negative factor, as competition will highlight the demand for your product or service.
You can do a simple search on Amazon as book sales will also give you a good indication of demand.
A search on Udemy will also highlight a demand especially when there are loads of courses in your niche on offer.
YouTube is the most popular video platforms, and if people are viewing your niche content, then there is a clear demand. YouTube will also reflect the number of people viewing the content; this is an excellent indicator of demand.
Instagram is the second most popular app, and a simple hashtag search will show you the number of posts in your niche. A significant number of posts is a good indicator of demand.
Once you have successfully validated your idea, you can go about monetizing the idea on social media.
3. Set your idea and define your niche/target market
It is helpful to give your business idea more definition. Broad strokes are not useful when trying strategizing. Your business idea has to address a specific target market or niche.
First off, you need to decide on your target audience and be specific. This may seem like a moot point, but one that is continuously overlooked and its importance realized too late. The more specific your audience, the more impact you will have.
Secondly, define your product or service you are offering to your audience. You may find that you will need to structure your offering a bit more. For example, your business idea may be to venture into marketing. However, what type of marketing are you offering specifically? Will you be offering digital services, traditional marketing or perhaps copywriting? Each type of marketing speaks to a very different target market.
4. A few monetizing strategies
Many want to know how to go about monetizing. Here are a few ideas.
• Affiliate marketing
People in the blogging world have known about affiliate marketing for a while now. It has steadily made its way into the mainstream of social media marketing and monetizing. Affiliate marketing involves a process where you promote other people’s products or services for a commission.
It is a great strategy however, you need a big following to ensure profitability. There are actual affiliate networks that you can become a part of, such as Amazon Associates, Commission Junction, and ShareASale.
• Sponsored advertising or blog posts
Again, here you are promoting products or services of others. However, this method is more popular on Instagram and not in blogging circles. This is where you will earn a fee for publishing a post or product on your account. Brands themselves will pay you for the post.
You can approach brands directly if you have a decent size following.
• Provide informational products
Products as information are gaining incredible momentum. Providing an audience with product or service information is incredibly lucrative when done correctly. Most online users are searching online for information. For example, you can provide online events, courses or ebooks. And you don’t even need a website to host this, you can set up funnels using land pages and email management.
• Offer a service
If you have some sought-after skills, there will be someone willing to pay for it. Use your skills and strengths to offer a service. For example, social media marketing or freelance writing.
5. Choose wisely
It is unwise to try and cover every social media platform available. Instead, decide on a few and focus on those. Most people will focus on the top three or five. You need to consider elements such as your target audience, your content, and what platform will work best for you content.
When it comes to social media platforms, you are spoilt for choice.
6. Best profile forward
Use your profile to attract clients and an audience. Gaining followers is a golden ticket to validation of your idea.
To make sure you have a profile that stands out, ensure your profile photo is professionally done and add your keywords with your name before you upload it.
Be sure to complete your profile in full. Do not leave any blanks and the more information the better. Also, add a message or note that will appeal to your target audience. Think of your profile as your billboard. Make sure it is unique and that it highlights your unique selling point. And importantly, you need to tell your audience what to do. Insert a call to action statement.
7. Do not overlook email
An email list is like treasure to any entrepreneur. Successful marketers will use email marketing as their go-to marketing tool.
It is important to start compiling an email list from the very start. All you need to do is use a call to action asking online traffic to subscribe or sign up for a newsletter or blog. There are plenty of platforms that make email marketing simple, such as MailChimp.
8. Develop a content strategy
A content strategy is not a marketing strategy. Social media relies on content to attract your audience. The type of platform chosen will determine how you deliver that content. For example, the video for YouTube and photo for Instagram.
Research the content that is already out there, to give you an idea of what works and what does not.
Determine what makes you different from the rest. Use this element to make your content great. Finding out what your competitors are doing and making it better is one way of ensuring that people are attracted to your posts. Be sure to make it unique.
In today’s digital world it is simple to make money online or via social media. Just like any business venture, it needs careful planning and strategy. Luckily, there are many tools available online to help you formulate and execute a clear path to success. The one great thing about social media is that you don’t even need a website or a laptop, as you can do all you need with a smartphone or any mobile device. Long gone are the days where you need to be desk-bound to start a business and make a profit.