4 Ways to Monetize Your Social Networks
In this digital era, e-commerce is bigger than ever and while retailers and marketers were some of the first to capitalize on this new way of life, the market expands every day. With the rise and popularity of social media, brands have tapped into their own revenue stream - their consumers. Social media for e-commerce has transformed into a modern day “word of mouth” marketing tactic.
People generally trust their friend’s endorsement more than direct marketing efforts from the brands themselves. With this new trend, almost anyone can become a brand ambassador.
Companies looking to to boost their organic and native advertising are willing to dole out cash to people who can create an online identity/personality and utilize their personal social networks.
Some of the more popular methods for influencers are listed below:
1. Become a Blogger
This is probably the most successful and popular approach that I’ve personally witnessed. There are endless topics where almost everyone can find their niche to write about.
Becoming a blogger is as easy as picking a topic and committing to a schedule of creating content and publishing that content onto a website known as a blog. By creating a blog and developing a strong following by creating content relevant to your audience, you can become an “influencer” in a topic where brands of a similar nature are more willing to partner with you.
As blogging communities continue to grow, tapping into personal social networks only expands the reach and can be more influential with the support of family and friends via social media. On a blog, there is also physical virtual space to sell digital advertising which can be a profitable venture. Some brands will even pay to have targeted messaging included in your posts which is called native advertising. Advertising networks like Millennial Blogs and Chitika help connect bloggers and advertisers.
2. Promote Products on Instagram
These days, followers and friends on social media have become social currency in the digital landscape and digital marketing efforts.
Mobile social networking apps like Instagram have become very popular among the millennial key demographic and for the right amount of followers, you could receive cold hard cash. Companies like Snapfluence have created a marketing platform for the everyday user to utilize their Instagram social network and promote different products to their Instagram friends and followers.
3. Upload Videos on YouTube
YouTube has become one of the most popular social networks for video content. Users have created personalities and channels based on every topic from cats to make-up tutorials. Find an audience, create a personality, and upload away.
YouTube videos can be easily shared onto most other social networks which can also aid in creating a fan base. In terms of advertising, YouTube has developed a new algorithm that involves pre-roll ads before most videos and sometimes even in the middle of a YouTube uploaded video.
By creating a YouTube channel and establishing a ‘YouTube Personality’, you can monetize your videos by giving up the copyright to your content and enabling Google AdSense that allows YouTube to play ads before and/or during videos. If you gain a big enough audience and create a substantial following, you can become a YouTube Partner and really rack up some dough.
4. Create Affiliate Accounts
Any online user can become an “affiliate” advertiser to help generate sales for a company.
More than a brand ambassador, an affiliate's sole purpose is to drive sales versus creating brand awareness. Users will be provided with marketing materials that can be distributed on any social media network or platform and paid commissions based on how much business is generated by influencing friends and followers to make a purchase. It’s as easy as posting a link or picture or video provided by the company. Popular companies like Amazon and iTunes use affiliate advertisers and have successful programs.
The internet is what you make it and more and more users are finding ways to capitalize on the social networks they already have. Find the approach that works best for you, create some content and engage your audience!
Jessy Davis is an Assistant Media Planner/Buyer at Havas Media with experience in digital marketing, branding, promotion, and social media strategy. She currently serves as Communications Chair for the Chicago Creative Collective, on the Chicago Advertising Federation Young Professionals Board and on the Young Professionals Network Committee for the PRSA Chicago Chapter. When she's not tweeting or blogging, you can find Jessy traveling to a new adventure, skiing or scuba diving.