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How to Make Money on Social Media (Free Guide)

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Social media is huge.  As of 2019, it is said that more than 3.5 BILLION people have a social media account.

And, yes, where there are people, there’s usually money.  This can be said about social media, no matter which platform you’re on.

While it’s not my favorite way to make money online as I do much better with SEO, people definitely do make some big bucks on it.  So can you!

In today’s post, I wanted to talk about the many ways you can make money on social media.  I will link to some great outside FREE resources as well as what it will take from you.  Of course, you will need a following, but I’m not talking millions as one hundred targeted followers can be much better than 100,000 random people.

If you want some ideas, then here are a few ideas you may want to consider if you want to make a few bucks in the social media world.

Common Questions

Before I even get started with the many ways you can make money on social media, I want to get a few things out of the way.

Do I need a ton of followers?

For starters. you do not need hundreds of thousands of followers.  You just need to make sure your audience is engaged and specific.  Brands no longer want to advertise on a random model’s Instagram page with one million followers then they can reach out to someone who has a specific audience, say, a fisherman with 10,000 fishing enthusiasts.  Quality over quantity counts, so don’t worry about the numbers.

How much can I make?

The sky really is the limit, but as with any money-making venture online, it really depends on your following, your niche and which platform you’re using.  Based on this criteria, you could make anywhere from as little as $5 for a shutout to as much as thousands for a quick 24-hour post.  According to a recent study, though, 66% of businesses pay less than $250 per post.  Making a living is entirely possible, but as with anything, you will need quite the following before your dreams come true.

How can I get followers?

There are many ways to so, most of which I cover quickly at the end of this post.  But, if you want to go more in-depth, I highly recommend you check out some of these highly rated courses on Udemy (most are $11 or less) or just search online.  You can find a lot of the information you need to know for free, so know that you don’t have spend $100s to learn.  This can be said just about anything in the make money online world.

How to Make Money on Social Media

If you have the following and/or are building your following as a rookie as I type this, then let it be known that there are so many ways to make money on social media, no matter how large your following is.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing can work with any online marketing method and industry, including your social media profile.

In short, you find an advertiser that fits your promotion.  If you had a huge following who loved to fish, for example, then it would make sense to partner up with a fishing retailer such as Amazon or Dick’s Sporting Goods that pays you a certain commission for every item sold.

And, no, you don’t need to reach out to a hundred advertisers as most big-name companies work with what are known as affiliate networks.  You can find all of your advertisers in one place.  As there are so many out of these out there, I would start with some of my favorites such as Shareasale, Clickbank,, MaxBounty, Amazon, the eBay Partner Network and FlexOffers, to name a few.  There are many more, all of which you can find via a quick Google search.

If these affiliate networks are willing to accept you as a publisher, then you can use their dashboard to find advertisers that are willing to work with you.  Usually, an advertiser will want to know how you’re going to advertise them as well as what your company is about.  If the advertiser accepts you as a publisher, then you can use a special link that tracks any sales/sign-ups that come directly from your link.  Each time someone signs up, you get that credit.

You will then use these links to blend it in naturally with your content.  As long as it fits in with what you have to say and/or promote, you may be surprised as to how much money you can make.

Before you advertise an affiliate link, however, you just need to make sure you can actually promote them on your social media platforms as some do not allow it.  You will also need to disclose your relationship as the FTC requires it.

Out of all the methods I mentioned, affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money as it’s closely targeted.


If you can offer your expertise to others, consider letting them purchase coaching/consulting calls directly from you.

From 15-minute blocks to an hour+, it’s up to you as to how long you want to talk to someone, but this could be a huge money-maker as many consultants can easily make $50+ an hour.  Some may even want to fly you in for a few days to help their team.  It all depends on your experience and what you have to offer.

You can either talk over the phone or even via a webcam on Skype.  Again, it’s up to you.

If going this route, consider having someone pay you via PayPal to set up an appointment or use one of the mean online appointment software tools found online.

Become an Ambassador

Another great way to make money with your social media profile is by becoming an ambassador.

In this situation, you would work with a brand for a limited amount of time, usually a few months, and will agree to promote their products on your social media profile.  In some cases, you may even earn more if they offer an affiliate link where you receive a certain commission.  If they like the results, then you could be brought on part-time, you never know.

To find an ambassador program, you can usually do so by reaching out to bigger companies in your niche or even viewing their official website to see if they have a brand ambassador program that you can apply to.

Create Your Own Informative Product

If people respect your opinion and even consider you as an authority, then consider creating your own product.

Whether it’s a video series, a 200-page eBook or even a mix of both, it’s up to you to figure out what you can sell that’s not out there already.  Remember, since people will be paying for your product, you will want to make sure it’s 100% worth it and can’t be found elsewhere, I can’t stress this enough.  Why should someone pay $10, $100 or $500 for your product?

Even if you’re just promoting yourself on social media, it doesn’t mean you can’t sell your product.  Very popular platforms such as Gumroad, Udemy and Amazon’s Self Publishing tool make it easier than ever to create a paid product.  In using these services, they will take a few bucks off the top, but it’s much easier than setting something up on your own.

Just be sure to promote your link here and there and be sure to have it accessible in your bio at all times.

Start an Online Store

Consider starting a separate online store where you could sell handcrafted items that relate to your social media profile.  Etsy is a fantastic storefront to consider as it only takes a few minutes to set up and is extremely easy to manage.

Using that fishing example mentioned prior, it could be a great idea to link to an Etsy store selling handcrafted lures or fishing t-shirts, for instance.  You can then add a post every once in a while showcasing your craft in hopes people follow through to maybe purchase it.

Of course, this could only work if you know of a craft that could blend with your profile.  If you think something could work but don’t know what it could be, consider checking out Etsy to see what other people in your niche are selling to maybe get a few ideas.

Sponsored Posts

If you have a following, then there’s a good chance there’s a company out there who wants to plaster their message in front of your followers.  Influencers often say this is where most of their profits come from.

From buying Instagram shoutouts to sponsored Tweets, consider adding your profile to the many databases online that companies use to find a targeted audience.  You can also reach out to other brands you may see being advertised online.

Like many of the ideas I already mentioned, it’s important to have an engaged audience as this metric is one of the first things companies look at.  If you’re buying followers and plan on making money, it just won’t happen.

You won’t make much with sponsored posts unless you have millions of engaged followers, but regardless, it’s a way to make money.  Just don’t expect much from it.

Set Up a Patreon Account

If you’re active on social media, then there’s a good chance you have come across a profile that’s promoting their Pateron account.

In simple terms, a Patreon account allows you to collect money from your followers every month in exchange for something unique, ranging from a special experience to private content.  Or, you can simply use it as a donation platform.  It’s up to you!

I would only recommend this route if you have a loyal following and you’re able to offer something unique that people actually want to pay a monthly fee for.

Share Your Referral Links

There are a ton of companies out there that will give you either a bonus and/or a chunk of what your referrals make.  So much so, I created a post profiling the 50+ best referral companies out there.

Take a look at that list and see if you’re part of any of the companies mentioned.  If so, you may want to consider promoting your referral link to make even more cash.  If not, check out a few to see if they are worth joining.

Like affiliate marketing, referral links work in the same way, only that you’re able to promote your link immediately and it may be something you’re already familiar with.

Join an Influencer Network

If you don’t want to put much effort into your posts to make money and would rather have people/companies come to you, then consider joining a network for influencers.

In short, these platforms are designed for companies to find someone like you who may find their demographic/niche.  They can filter out exactly who they are looking for via the network’s search engine, and if you fit the match, you will show up in the results.  From there, you can communicate within the platform to figure out the marketing details.

There are a lot of these networks out there, but some of my favorites include Brandwatch, ifluenz, Upfluence, and CreatorIQ, to name a few.  There are many more, but these are some of the bigger players out there.

Consider joining as many as you can since most are free to at least join, but you will start paying fees once you connect with a potential advertiser.

Offer a Service

This idea could work only if you’re marketing yourself as a service.

For instance, let’s say you’re a freelance writer.

If you were to use social media as a way to promote your services, then it could be yet another way to promote yourself.

As with the other ideas, it’s best to either link directly to a website if you have one or add your contact information inside your description box.

Sell Your Photographs

Since there’s a good chance you’re on Instagram and maybe even posting unique photographs, consider selling what you upload.

I know this is similar to that of offering a product or service, but I feel it’s a bit different as it could be a unique idea for a profile that focuses solely on photography.

You could let people know in your profile that your pictures are up for sale or you can use many platforms that can put your photographs in front of more people, such as Snapwire, MobilePrints and Twenty20.

Sell on the Facebook Marketplace

If you don’t feel you have enough followers and/or you don’t want to bother with Instagram, Twitter or Facebook pages, then consider selling on the Facebook Marketplace.

From selling items you may have around the house or even flipping items for profits, the Facebook Marketplace is no different than holding a garage sale.

While it won’t be a replacement for your full-time income, it could be a fantastic way to bring in a few extra bucks for the month.

Find a Job in the Industry

And, as my last method, consider finding a job in the industry if you feel you know social media but don’t want to put too much effort into your profile.  Or, it could also be another great opportunity if you want to supplement your income if you’re already making money from your profile.

From finding remote jobs on FlexJobs to creating a job post on Fiverr, there are so many ways to promote yourself and/or find a job that suits your needs.  There are also companies, such as Belay, ModSquad and Appen, that are often hiring social media managers.

Of course, you will need some experience in order for someone to hire you, but it’s another way to make money on social media, nonetheless.

Simple Ways to Boost Your Social Media Following

I don’t do much in terms of boosting my personal social media following as I personally find much more success in SEO and email marketing.  This doesn’t mean you can’t succeed, however.

In my research, there are a handful of things you can do right now to boost your social media following in an organic way.

While I only touch upon the basics, I recommend you check out these highly-rated social media marketing books or these very low-cost social media marketing classes on Udemy.

Be consistent

If you’re going to post to social media, people will want to keep coming back to you only if you continue to post new things.  If you start to slow down, then your followers will start to lose interest and go elsewhere.

Quality Content is Important

Aside from being consistent, make sure everything that you post is unique and offers something of value.  If you want to be a model on Instagram, what’s going to make you different from the million other girls doing the same thing?  Quality draws in followers, especially if it’s something they are interested in.

Post High-Quality Photos

I know I mentioned high-quality content above, but high-quality photos are just as important.  If you have to, buy a professional camera or even upgrade your smartphone so that you at least look professionals.  If you want to take this venture seriously, then it’s important you invest in yourself.

Create a Competition and Give Away Free Stuff

Competitions are said to be a great way to gain new followers.  While you do need a prize to giveaway, it doesn’t need to be anything huge as many people will follow you for a simple $25 gift card.  When running one, however, just make sure you make your followers share a post, like and/or use a hashtag to enter.  Remember that you want your brand to spread.


Many people often search by location, and for that reason, it’s a good practice to try geotagging so that more people can find your account.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags are so important for every post you create as this can help you show up in searches.  Like SEO, people also search Twitter and Instagram for particular things and hashtags can help your posts show up in their results.  To get some ideas, one of my favorite tools is  Experts say you should use at least seven to see results.

Start Interacting with Others

Find like-minded people and start to interact with them.  Don’t just add one-word answers, but rather, add some insightful advice.  If people like your replies, then they may want to head to your profile and follow you for more.

Paid Advertising

If you have the budget, gaining followers can easily be done by creating a paid campaign on Facebook or Instagram.  Just make sure you know what you’re doing, however, as it’s very easy to spend a ton of money and see no results.

Final Thoughts

Where there are people, there is money, but it’s not going to be easy.

As with starting any business from the ground up, social media will be no different.  You could find yourself working 40+ hours a week before you even see your first dollar!  This is how it was for me for the longest time.  I know it can be frustrating, but I can assure you that if you read the right materials and apply yourself, then the sky is the limit.

For now, take some of the simple methods mentioned above and start digging into it more. I tried my best to link to as many outside resources as possible to help.  In following them, you should start to see some nice organic growth.  Once you feel you have that engaged following, then you can look into the many ways to monetize your profile.

As always, if you have any ideas and/or want to comment on the strategies mentioned, then you’re more than welcome to do so below.

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Tom Nathaniel

Hi! My name is Tom Nathaniel, and I created LushDollar to help share my honest thoughts on everything money. You won't find gimmicks here. It's the Internet's most honest money site after all. I graduated from Arizona State University, and I have worked in the finance industry since 2006, consulting with multiple Fortune 5000 companies.

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