How Do Social Media Influencers Make Money?

Social media influencers play a key role in the social media marketing industry. Influencers act as an intermediary. They connect businesses with their target audience. And influencers perform better than social ads as 60% of millennials are more likely to take advice from influencers than traditional media. But how do social media influencers make money? How exactly do they fit into the business-consumer relationship?

If you are planning to become a social media influencer, you must know the ins and outs of making money as an influencer. Else, businesses might exploit you. Besides, understanding how things work, you’ll be able to optimize your income.

Let’s take a deep dive and see how influencers make money online.

How Do Social Media Influencers Make Money?

Social media influencers can make money in multiple ways. When you have a decent number of engaged followers on any social media platform, you can use any of the following ways to make money:

  1. Affiliate marketing
  2. Sponsored posts
  3. Display ads
  4. Sell courses
  5. Sell photos/videos.

1. Affiliate Marketing

This is the best way for social media influencers to make money. You can recommend affiliate products to your followers and make money.

Here is an example:

affiliate program example

Here is another example of how you can add a short link in an Instagram:

affiliate marketing example on Instagram

It doesn’t matter what social media platform you are using, you can promote affiliate products to make money. There are certain things that you need to ensure when using affiliate marketing to make money as an influencer:

  • The affiliate product must solve a problem that your followers are facing. This means it has to be extremely relevant
  • The product must work. If it won’t, you’ll lose followers and their trust. So, you must buy and use the affiliate product before recommending it
  • You can recommend a single product once or maybe twice. You can’t promote one affiliate product multiple times as it will negatively impact your credibility.

2. Sponsored Posts

One of the best ways for influencers to make money is by publishing sponsored content and partnering with businesses. This is more lucrative than promoting affiliate products.

Statistics show that an average influencer having 100K to 500K followers’ charges $2000+ per post:

how much influencers make per post

If you have over a million followers on Instagram, you can charge $10K+ per post. This is a lot of money as compared to what you’ll make with affiliate products. The benefit of publishing sponsored content is that you don’t appear salesy.

Here is an example:

micro influencer campaign example

You can’t tell if she is promoting coca-cola, right?

And this is what makes influencers love sponsored posts. Your followers love it, and you make money. Finding brands and partnering opportunities is the challenging part, however. As the number of influencers is increasing, brands have a lot of options to choose from.

Instead of waiting for brands to contact you, a better option is to target businesses in your niche. You can do it manually by sending a proposal to target brands.

You can also join social media influencer platforms that connect influencers with businesses. Here is a list of the top platforms that you can join today:

3. Sell Courses

This is my favorite method to make money as a social media influencer. You can create a digital course or a video course for your followers and sell it.

This works best.

You’ll retain your audience and won’t be selling someone else’s products.

For example, if you are a travel vlogger. You can create an eBook on a traveling guide and sell it via Gumroad or any other platform you like. Your followers can’t resist buying such an eBook because this is why they follow you.

Or you can write local guides for every place you visit.

There are so many ways to create online courses for your followers. You can get ideas from Udemy, Gumroad, and Patreon. These are the platforms where people sell courses.

If you don’t know what course to create, ask your followers what they’re interested in. You have followers, listen to them, and see what they’re willing to buy and at what price.

4. Sell Photos/Videos

If you are an Instagrammer or a YouTuber and create photos and videos, you can always sell them. Patreon and Getty Images are the best places to sell creative items.

This works best for travel, food, and creative influencers. For example, if you are a travel influencer, you can sell high-quality photos of famous monuments and places that you visit.

This is the best way to create a sustainable income without monetizing your social media account. If you hate running ads, sponsored posts, and promoting other people’s products to your followers, this is the best method for you.

5. Display Ads

There are ad networks like Mediavine that lets influencers run display ad campaigns. You can join ad networks and monetize your social media account. You’ll get paid per click (known as CPC) or on the number of impressions (CPM).

There aren’t a lot of such ad networks that you can use to monetize your social media account to make money. It is still a new market.

There are two key issues with running display ads on your social media account:

  1. Running display ads will negatively impact engagement. Your followers might not like ads
  2. The CPC and CPM rates are very low as compared to what you’ll earn with affiliate marketing or sponsored posts.

Use display ads with caution.

Social Media Influencers Can Earn a Lot

Yes, you can earn a lot.

You don’t have to stick with a single earning method. You can use all of them.

Promote affiliate products, post sponsored content, create and sell a course, sell your photos, and occasionally run display ads. This will not bore your followers. When you consistently use a single money making method such as sponsored posts, your followers might get used to it leading to lower engagement to such posts.

And low engagement is suicidal for any influencer, I’m sure you know it.

Featured Image: Pexels

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