6 Ways to Make Extra Money Using Social Media
By Mikey Rox
It's safe to assume that if you're not making money on social media, you're probably just casually wasting time on it. Flip that script. Make your profiles pull in a profit with these seven tips to on how to squeeze the juice from your tweets, posts, pics, and more.
1. Join the Sharing Economy
My friends are probably tired of hearing about all the ways I add extra cash to my savings account by participating in the sharing economy -- a recently coined term that denotes a person sharing something he or she possesses with someone else who's willing to pay for it -- but I harp on it for a reason. In many cases, this is easy money -- and I want them to get in on the action. Examples of commodities in the sharing economy including housing, dog walking/sitting services, personal property (like bikes and tools), cars and more.
I rent my homes to travelers via Airbnb and other micro-subletting sites; I list my dog-sitting services on DogVacay; and people can rent my bicycles by visiting Spinlister. All of these side hustles earn cheddar on items I already have or low-level services I have to offer, and I think it's brilliant. There are many more ways to participate, so do some research of your own to find out how the sharing economy can fit into your life. There's a certain time commitment attached to some of these revenue avenues, but if you have some to spare, you should be turning a profit. Time is money, after all.
2. Pursue Blogging Opportunities at Outlets That Pay
Have something to say? There are blogs for just about every topic you can imagine -- and some of them pay. Take my success as a personal finance blogger, for example.
Just a few years ago I was a journalist primarily covering LGBT lifestyle topics and writing essays for mainstream publications like the Baltimore Sun and Examiner newspapers. I'm naturally someone who "lives my best life on a budget," and I had a money-saving topic about which I wanted to write. Wise Bread accepted my article pitch, which was initially a one-off engagement four years ago, but subsequently asked for more. After writing for Wise Bread for a year or so, other personal finance sites started to notice my work and offering me gigs. It just snowballed from there. Today, I have hundreds of published personal finance posts.
It's possible for you to fall into a great gig like this too, considering that you have fresh ideas written from a new perspective. Research the blogs in which you have the most interest and start making pitches. You've gotta start somewhere, and this is square one. Social media angle? Publishers love to work with writers who have big social media followings.
3. Follow and Use the Apps of Your Favorite Brands
Depending on how you look at "making money," you may want to download the apps and follow the social media pages of your favorite brands, some of which have opportunities to win prizes or earn swag when you become a brand ambassador. In that case, receiving free product from a brand on which you typically spend money is like keeping more of your own in your pocket. In addition, many popular businesses -- especially the "fun" brands -- offer cash for referrals, and that's as easy as sharing on social media the affiliate link generated for you by the company.
4. Publish Sponsored Tweets or Posts
It's always paid to be popular -- you remember high school, don't you? But these days you can turn popularity into actual dollars if you're one of the cool kids on social media. "Even if you have a small audience, you can literally sign up for Sponsored Tweets right now, select the topics you'd normally talk about, and wait to be matched with advertisers for campaigns," adds Sakita Holley, founder of House of Success, a lifestyle brand-relation firm in New York. "Or, you can work with various social media influencer/advertiser agencies that have appeared over the last few years to help you sell your influence online. You could also pitch prospective advertisers directly by cold calling, emailing, or connecting over social media."
5. Create How-to Content on YouTube
I'm a big fan of how-to videos on YouTube, especially when they help me learn a skill for free that I would otherwise pay for. A friend of mine recently fixed his dishwasher using a YouTube how-to, and I was quite impressed. While these videos are free for users, however, you can make money based on the viewers it brings in, according to Jason Parks, owner of The Media Captain, a social marketing agency in Columbus, Ohio.
"Creating 'how-to' content on a niche topic can earn you money on social media," he says. "I worked with a tennis pro who created a simple YouTube video, 'How to Hit a Faster Tennis Serve.' We monetized the video (which now has over 150,000 views), and he gets money based on the overall view count. We have also created other videos after the success of the initial video. While the tennis pro can't quit his day job, the extra money into his bank account definitely doesn't hurt."
6. Post on Craigslist, Thumbtack, LinkedIn and More
OK, cards on the table: My media business was built on posting ads on Craigslist in New York City and other major metro areas, back when I couldn't afford other types of advertising. I know firsthand how social service-listing sites are bankable, and if you have a service or product to offer, you can make money, too. Find the network that suits your service or product best and work hard at building your profile and building a reputation.