If you’re like most people, you probably spend a fair amount of your time every day on social media sites like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or Facebook. If time is money, then this can be a pretty big waste of both! So, why not start earning money from your social media accounts?
It may seem impossible or too good to be true, but there are actually tons of ways to make money on social media – you just have to put in the time, effort, and creativity necessary to succeed.
Best of all, you don’t need to have Hailey Bieber-level follower numbers to earn money: according to Lick’d’s helpful social salary calculator tool, an Instagram account with just 5,000 followers can earn up to $350 per post.
That’s decent money in your pocket, just from creating content.
Logically, the more followers you have, the more money you’ll earn per post – but gaining followers isn’t the only thing that matters. You also have to be smart and strategic if you want to earn money on social media.
Summary: How to Make Money on Social Media in 2023
Although there are tons of ways to make money on social media, the easiest (and most lucrative) are:
- Signing up for an affiliate marketing program
- Getting sponsorships and partnering with brands
- Monetizing your videos (on YouTube)
- Selling products and custom merchandise
- Advertising your business or your personal account (on Instagram or Facebook)
The Five Best Ways to Make Money on Social Media
Although TikTok is rapidly gaining in popularity, Instagram and YouTube are still the top two platforms for making money on social media.
Because of that, this article will mostly be focused on how to make money as social media influencer on Instagram and/or YouTube, but I’ll get into some tips and tricks on how to make money doing social media on other platforms as well.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the best ways to make money on social media.
1. Affiliate Marketing
If you want to know how to make money in social media marketing, look no further than affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing has become the bread and butter of earning money on the internet. It’s a fantastic and easily accessible way to earn a passive income, with very little additional effort required (beyond what you would normally do to produce your content).
With affiliate marketing, you earn money by recommending products to your followers, which they can purchase through affiliate links on your account. When someone uses your link to make a purchase, you earn a commission on the sale.
One of the great things about affiliate marketing is that you can earn money by recommending pretty much anything, from clothing to cookware and even basic ingredients like flour, cheese, and pickles.
All you have to do is sign up with an affiliate marketing program. One of the most popular (for obvious reasons) is Amazon’s affiliate marketing program, Amazon Associates.
When you sign up as an Amazon Associate, you can put links to any number of the products sold on Amazon on your blog or social media account and earn up to 10% commission whenever anyone uses your link to purchase that particular product.
Of course, Amazon isn’t the only affiliate marketing program on the market. eBay also offers an affiliate partnership program, as do many other large online retailers.
You can also sign up with a program that is specifically designed to match you with affiliate partnerships based on your niches, such as Pepperjam, Awin, Conversant, or ShareASale.
2. Brand Partnerships and Sponsored Posts
Social media platforms are constantly innovating new ways to help creators earn money from their content. With the field changing and new opportunities arising so frequently, it can be hard to stay in the loop.
However, two of the longest-lasting, most tried-and-true ways to earn money on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok are brand partnerships and sponsored posts.
Let’s talk about brand partnerships first.
Brands are constantly looking for new ways to get their products onto the social media feeds of potential customers, and one way they can do this is by partnering with influencers and content creators to post about their products.
To become a “brand ambassador,” your account should already have enough followers to make it attractive to companies as a good investment.
This may seem like a daunting task, but building up your social media following with relevant, high-quality content and regular engagement is a great investment.
Not only can it help you seem more professional to brands, but you’ll also open up your possibilities for collaborations with other creators and influencers (but more on that later).
To make your online self attractive to brands, you have to understand what they prioritize.
The most important of these factors are:
- your expertise in your particular niche (for example, makeup brands look for influencers in the beauty and/or makeup artist niche to partner with)
- how regularly do you post new content
- how much engagement does your account get
…and less tangible qualities, such as authenticity, brand compatibility, and “vibe.”
When you find a brand that wants to partner with you, they will generally pay you to publish sponsored posts featuring their products.
These could be product review videos, Instagram or TikTok posts, or other forms of content that prominently feature their products.
While the amount of money you can expect from a brand partnership and/or a sponsored post varies, it can be seriously lucrative: according to Lick’d, Instagram accounts with around 10,000 followers can expect to earn $700 per sponsored post.
When you get into the six-digit follower range, those numbers get even better, with many influencers earning thousands of dollars for a single sponsored post.
3. Monetized Videos
If YouTube is your thing, you’re in luck: the world’s most popular video-sharing platform offers several different ways to earn money from your video content.
However, just making and posting videos isn’t enough. To get paid on YouTube, you have to first apply for their YouTube Partners program. Approval isn’t guaranteed, and you have to meet some pretty strict standards, including:
- having more than 1,000 unique subscribers to your channel
- having over 4,000 watch hours within the past twelve months
- having a Google Adsense account, AND
- having a clean record when it comes to YouTube’s community guidelines (i.e., nothing that YouTube has found to be offensive, violent, or otherwise inappropriate).
Once your channel is approved, YouTube will place ads at the beginning or in the middle of your video, allowing you to earn money every time someone watches.
4. Selling Products
If you’ve started to build some buzz around your various social media accounts, why not capitalize on it and sell your own merch?
These days, many people like to wear something niche and internet-specific, so designing your own line of t-shirts, hats, tote bags, or even shorts can be a great way to earn money from your social media accounts while also building brand awareness (when someone asks one of your followers where they got their t-shirt from, they’ll be directed to your social media accounts).
If clothing isn’t your thing, you could go for popular novelty items like coffee mugs or phone cases instead.
There are tons of wholesale retailers and online designers that you could order your customized merch from. After that, it’s all about finding a way to sell your merchandise.
You could create a shop on Etsy or Redbubble, both of which are popular options for artists who are just getting started selling their merchandise.
Instagram allows its users to sell on Instagram Marketplace and even lets customers check out on Instagram, meaning they can make purchases without ever having to leave the app.
If you’re selling merch, this is a great opportunity to make sales: simply sign up for Instagram Marketplace, tag your images with their product details, and let your customers make their purchases from your shop easily.
(Note: Instagram Checkout only works for shops and customers based in the U.S. If you’re based internationally, you can still tag your products in your Insta posts, but your customers will be redirected to your website when they click on the tag.)
5. Ad Placement
This one only applies if you’re running a small business and trying to build a social media buzz around your products.
If that sounds like you, you may consider paying for ad placement on Instagram or Facebook.
Instagram Ads are a particularly great way to connect with your potential customer base and boost your sales numbers.
Instagram now places ads in users’ Reels and Stories, as well as in its main Feed, so your brand will have plenty of opportunities to reach its target consumer base.
Here’s how it works: simply sign up with Instagram Ads, and choose the particular settings and customizations you want. For different price points, Instagram allows you to add an impressive range of ad placement and audience targeting features.
Even if you aren’t selling any of your own products or running a business, you could use Instagram Ads to boost your branded content posts (see my earlier section on that) and/or promote other monetized posts.
What is the best social media to make money on?
The world of social media is constantly changing, and newer platforms like TikTok are quickly rising through the ranks.
However, as of [year], the most lucrative social media platform to make money on is still Instagram, followed closely by YouTube.
These two social media platforms offer various ways to monetize your account and earn both passive and active income.
With that said, if neither of these is your preferred platform, don’t worry: Facebook, TikTok, and other social media sites also present opportunities to earn money by creating sponsored content and/or selling products.
How can I make money as a blogger?
If blogging is more your thing, many of the tips and tricks I shared in this article may also apply to you, such as joining an affiliate marketing program, selling merchandise, and getting brand sponsorships.
For more information, check out my full guide on how to make money as a blogger, whether you are blogging about fashion or food.
What is the fastest way to make money on social media?
Many people want to know how to make money on social media fast. While many of the tips I mentioned in this article require you to put in a fair amount of time and effort before you ever see a profit, there are a few ways to start earning money fast.
The simplest and fastest way to earn money on social media is to join an affiliate links program and earn a commission every time someone uses your link to purchase the products you’ve recommended.
If you have a blog or website, another easy way to start earning money fast is by signing up with Google Adsense (or an alternative ad placement program) and earning revenue when visitors to your site view or click on ads.
The Bottom Line
These five ways to make money on social media may be the most common ways to make a profit online, but they’re definitely not the only ways.
The social media sphere is expanding every day, and with a constant demand for fresh content comes new and exciting opportunities to earn money as a creator.
Across all popular social media platforms, there are ways to make money. In this article, I’ve mostly focused on making money on popular social media platforms, but this is definitely not the only way to make money on the internet.
If you put in the time, effort, and creativity, anything could happen – you may even be able to quit your day job!