I was growing up in an ex-Soviet country which was a mess of a country because a 70-year old communist empire just fell down and what was left on its ruins was poverty, a deficit of food and clothes, criminality on a huge rise, and all that stuff.
And there was a shift from children dreaming to become an astronaut when they grow up to dreaming to become a member of the Russian mafia. You can’t blame the children. All they knew was that the mafia had a lot of money and power. They had everything that children from normal families didn’t have.
Well, I am only telling you this because I find it funny how these days children apparently dream to become a Youtuber or Tiktoker or another sort of influencer on social media. Why do you think is that? Again, same old story. Because children somehow know where the money and power are.
And YOU too probably have an idea that social media is THE place to make money in our day and age, but if you came to this post, it’s because you want to know HOW you can actually earn a living with social media.
First, I will tell you how I personally make money with social media, how much money I earn, and which platforms are my favorite.
Then I will show you some additional ways to earn a living on social media which I know work really great for other people. And just so you know, we’ll not talk about super influencers, you know about guys like Ronaldo who make millions with their sponsored campaigns on social media. We are going to talk about folks like you and me, so all the money-making strategies I’ll show you today I totally doable for any average person.
How I made my first $1400/mo with free Pinterest traffic and Mediavine Ads
The first way I started making money from social media was through free traffic that was coming to my website from Pinterest. Posting on this platform paid off for me very early in my blogging journey. By the end of the first year blogging, I managed to get my first month with Mediavine and that earned me almost $1400 in that month.
Keep in mind my blog was brand new to the platform and my RPM which is how much you get paid for 1000 visitors, was still quite low. It tends to get the optimal numbers for each publisher in the first 3 months since joining the platform.
I looked back into my Google Analytics for the same dates and oh my god, literally like 95% of all traffic to my blog at that time was coming from Pinterest. I even had on some days huge viral spikes in traffic like this here reaching about 13,000 users in just one day, all from Pinterest.
Over the years, free Pinterest traffic generated thousands upon thousands of dollars from Mediavine ads, just on this blog.
If you want to learn how I achieved all these results with Pinterest, check out my Pinterest SEO Traffic Secrets course.
How to Make Money on Youtube
Now let’s talk about another platform that brings me great passive income: My Youtube channel.
In the last 365 days, I made $12,5k only with Adsense – which is simply ads you see in Youtube videos. This is kind of a passive income stream for me because I would anyway make my videos on my Youtube channel, it’s just a nice bonus that I can get this extra income from ads in my videos.
The indirect ways of making money from Youtube are much more valuable to me. I have built a solid brand name thanks to this Youtube channel through educating my audience about online business, blogging, and Pinterest marketing. I share a lot of free information and I know for sure it inspired many of you to start your own website!
I wish it was easy to show how Youtube affects my income overall, but Google Analytics reporting of the product sales is never 100% accurate. That’s because people usually don’t buy online courses from the landing page. They first want to learn from your free content, they want to understand if they can trust your information.
So when I show you that in the last 365 days, in my Google Analytics almost 18k were attributed directly to course sales coming from my Youtube channel, that’s still an understatement because a lot of people would go from my channel first to watch my free Pinterest masterclass, and then would buy – certainly, a portion of this number over here with 34,000 USD is also thanks to Youtube and other sources of traffic.
I filtered in my analytics all the traffic sources that brought users to my free Pinterest masterclass for the last year, and I wasn’t surprised to see that Youtube was the top traffic source, followed by everything else like Google SEO, Facebook, Pinterest, and internal clicks on my website (it’s when people find my blog posts first and then inside the website people sign up to my email list through my forms and popups on the website).
So definitely for me personally Pinterest and Youtube are the top income-generating social media platforms. And as promised, I showed you all the juicy details with analytics and real numbers that worked the best for me.
Now let me just tell you like anybody else, I am always a work in progress and learning from watching others achieve great results with their best monetization strategies on social media.
How to Make Money with Affiliate Marketing on Social Media
And the next way of making money I’d like to show you can be used all across different platforms. It’s affiliate marketing. I actually just published recently a very detailed video on how affiliate marketing works on my Youtube channel:
On Instagram, it’s a bit harder because you can only give a link in a Story after reaching at least 10k followers. But a great alternative would be Pinterest where you can add direct affiliate links to your pins. So, people will click on the image you created and go directly to the affiliate product you are promoting. Here is another video that entirely focuses on affiliate marketing on Pinterest.
But to tell you my honest opinion, I think that the best way to use social media for affiliate marketing is by sending traffic to your website first. On the blog or website, you need to talk about the product you are promoting, you need to warm up the audience so that they don’t just get to the product page and leave it. If they come from your blog post that showed them all the pros and cons of the product, they are more likely to actually convert, to purchase the product. And so your chances to earn an affiliate commission are higher if you use social media that way.
This is just one nuance I can share from my experience as a full-time blogger for 4 years now. But you can get a lot more of these nitty-gritty details that can be otherwise learned only the hard way – by joining my Blog Your Way to $10K Program. It’s all about solving the money problem that most bloggers have. Not only do beginner bloggers have no idea how to tackle the monetization of their blogs. I’ve seen people trying to make at least something with their blogs for several years, unsuccessfully. This has to be fixed guys! No matter why and how you started your blog, you should know if what you are doing is moving you in the right direction to finally making some decent income from your blog.
Get Leads to Your Services from Social Media
One of the ways to make money through social media is actually by getting qualified leads to your own services. You know, if you are a freelancer or a small business owner and you are looking for ways to get more clients, definitely you should use social media because opportunities are endless.
Just as an example, what you can do completely for free is start a Facebook group and name it around the thing or service that you want to promote. People will find your group on Facebook group search, you will manage a community of people who talk about the stuff that you want to offer. And as the admin of this group, you’ll be the only one allowed to post about your services or products in the group. Yes, it does take time to grow and manage FB groups but this is an entirely free tool and you as the group admin can decide to promote your stuff at any time in any form.
Here is a real example of a group I’ve seen grow really quickly in front of my eyes and making a ton of money to the group admin. Let’s say you are an independent real estate agent offering properties in Portugal to wealthy foreigners. We are talking about selling houses that cost over half a million dollars, usually way more than that. And the real estate agent might be getting between 3 and 6% of commission from each deal like that. What is the group about?
Well, it’s a group about moving to Portugal where people ask each other questions, talk about the documents they need, about the prices here, about the medical system, schools, about everything they need to know before moving to another country. Most of the conversations actually are user-generated content. Just questions people ask and other members of the group answer from their experience.
The admin of this group doesn’t even need to create much content for the group to keep going. All they really need to do is shut down some spammers or occasionally inadequate users and Internet trolls. And of course, from time to time they remind the community about their services and post the new properties they have to offer.
I can tell you more, the real estate agent working through this model is not a millennial. It looks like he is a baby boomer who just figured out how to use social media to promote his services for free, and he never paid a cent for ads on Facebook, and his business is thriving.
Make Money with Sponsored Content and Brand Collaborations
The next way to make money on social media is more obvious to most of you guys but I still wanted to bring it up because even if you know it’s possible, you often don’t know how it even works, how do you find brands or should they first approach you, how much to charge for sponsorships and so on.
You need to be realistic about brand deals, they usually don’t come to you when you are brand new and your following is very small. Even if they reach out to you, it’s usually some kind of barter deals where they give you a free sample of a product or a free trial month if it’s a service, and you have to give them a review basically for free.
Even when your social media following is growing bigger, oftentimes they will reach out to you expecting to pay $20 per sponsored mention or even for an entire video review on Youtube. You might even accept those deals when you are just starting out.
These kinds of brand partnerships will not make you rich, so I would say, if you do accept them, be very selective and make just enough of them to build a solid portfolio which will help you negotiate much better conditions on the future deals that will happen later when your social media accounts are getting bigger.
Also, don’t come to your brand collaborations from the place of being a poor content creator, bring to the table that even if your following is still small, you have other advantages. Your audience might be still small but super focused on a specific topic and there is a fit for your advertiser, it should increase your pricing for the brand deal.
Remember when it comes to sponsorships, it’s not only about the number of followers, it’s more about the quality of your audience, it’s about the relationship of trust you’ve built with your people. Don’t let any potential sponsors undervalue your audience quality and if you know your audience is very engaged, they reply to your posts in comments, they ask you questions, etc., do mention that when you negotiate your prices.
So here you go, we’ve just talked about these 5 ways of making money on social media:
- Driving traffic to your website and making money with ads
- Selling your own digital products on social media
- Affiliate marketing using social media like Youtube and Pinterest
- Selling your offline services – I gave you an example of a Facebook group but definitely, you can think of many other ways to attract your ideal clients through social media
- And we talked about sponsored content and brand collaborations.
This is all I wanted to share with you today! If you found this post helpful or if you have any further questions, do not hesitate to leave a comment below!
- How I made my first $1400/mo with free Pinterest traffic and Mediavine Ads
- How to Make Money on Youtube
- How to Make Money with Affiliate Marketing on Social Media
- Get Leads to Your Services from Social Media
- Make Money with Sponsored Content and Brand Collaborations
I’m Anastasia and I’m a full-time blogger, online entrepreneur, and Pinterest marketing strategist. I help digital entrepreneurs and bloggers drive targeted traffic from Pinterest either through my online courses or through Pinterest consultancy.