Today, many of the top-grossing companies in the world are social media platforms, as consumers now devote more of their attention than ever before to digital content. Whether it be photos, videos, or live streaming, online content is well and truly in demand, and there is a pretty penny to be made by those who can tap into this demand effectively.
For a long time, the social media space has been dominated by a few long-standing juggernauts, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, with the advent of new technology and consumer trends continually shifting, we are witnessing a wide range of new platforms enter the space, such as Tik Tok, which is currently ranked as the 6th most popular social media website in the world per a Statista report.
Therefore, if you’re looking to become one of the 500,000 professional content creators, you now have a vast array of platforms to choose from, depending on your goals, target audience, and type of content you wish to produce.
How social media sites make money
First things first, if you want to learn how to make money as a content creator, you need to have a deeper understanding of how the business model of social media companies operates. After all, most (if not all) of the top-ranking platforms are free to use, so how exactly do they generate revenue?
Well, as you probably guessed, it’s all about ads. Of course, this is far from a new concept, as it is how most mass media publications work, such as TV and newspapers.
To put it bluntly, social media platforms are essentially in the business of selling consumer attention. The more eyeballs they have on their website (and the more engaged their users are), the more advertisers will be willing to spend to display their marketing material.
In many ways, this means the social media sites and content creators are in cahoots with one another since they both have a mutual goal – getting more views/traffic. The content creators use the platforms to develop material that draws in viewers (through which they can monetize independently), and the social media sites profit from the ads.
In fact, some platforms even pay money directly to content creators as part of a revenue-sharing scheme. Notable examples of this include YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch. Considering that YouTube generated almost $29 billion in ad revenue in 2021 alone, it’s safe to say there is plenty to go around for those looking to get involved.
Groups and community owners
One of the most popular methods of making money as a content creator is to run your own group. Let’s take the industry leader, Facebook (Meta), as an example. The overarching idea behind this method is to create a Facebook Page or a personal brand where you post content on a regular basis in order to build a loyal audience. As your audience grows and you have more attention on your content, you can begin to leverage the power of your community by introducing them to some of your own product lines, sending them to your blog, or giving them access to affiliate links.
While Facebook doesn’t pay you directly for the traffic you bring to the website, it’s relatively straightforward to build a following as long as you can spot a trend and deliver high-quality, relevant content. According to Niche Pursuits, you can even make a decent income from just a few hundred engaged people, which is certainly an attainable goal. Aside from Facebook, some of the best platforms to build an online community within are:
Social networks that’ll pay you to produce content
As alluded to previously, a handful of social networks will pay you directly for bringing traffic and getting views on their platform. While it is still possible to monetize independently, these platforms offer a fairly generous revenue-sharing scheme, which can be quite lucrative if you can build up a big enough viewership. Some of the most popular examples include:
As with any skill, hobby, or industry, there are always tricks of the trade that you can use to help boost your income and make the most out of your efforts. Ultimately, the aim of the game is to extract the maximum amount of value from each piece of content you produce, so you can achieve an ROI that makes it all worthwhile.
For example, Twitter recently launched a mini-site called “Twitter Creates,” which is specifically designed to help content creators on the platform make the best use of the revenue-generating opportunities presented to them.
Notice anything different around here? Twitter Media is now Twitter Create. Same great content, with a brand new look. pic.twitter.com/elwXkijn3s
— Twitter Create (@TwitterCreate) May 24, 2022
If Twitter is your platform of choice, then it’s certainly worth checking that out. With that said, here are a few helpful creator tips that will help you boost your income across any of the social media platforms:
- Accept tips – Tipping is extremely commonplace within social media these days, as content viewers look for easy ways to give back to the channels they subscribe to. In general, tipping is most commonly associated with video content and live streaming on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch, but nothing is stopping you from accepting donations while using other platforms. If this sounds like an avenue you would like to pursue, check out PIP, a chrome extension that allows creators to receive tips using crypto payments across ANY social media platform. All payments are processed instantly, upon which you can hold them in your wallet or cash them out into your preferred currency.
- Sell merchandise – Merchandise is a popular revenue generator for content creators, especially those with close-knit communities. If you develop a particular style or slogan or have a recurring joke with your audience, why not get it printed on a t-shirt and sell it to your audience? Teespring is a great service that automates most of this process.
- Subscriptions – Some types of content can be sold as a subscription, or you could offer a subscriber-only mode when live streaming with your audience. Asking viewers for a small monthly fee, such as $2.99 per month, may not sound like a lot, but it adds up fast. Patreon is one of the industry-leading membership platforms for content creators looking to establish a monthly revenue stream.
Is it really worth your time being a content creator?
Finally, it’s important that we sign off this post with a healthy dose of realism. While becoming a content creator may sound like a dream job from the outside looking in, the reality is that it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. As with anything in life, going into a profession or a hobby purely based on the monetary aspect is an indicator that you will fail in the long term.
Instead, ask yourself if you have a genuine passion for producing content and generating a following. If the answer is yes, focus on delivering as much value to your viewers as possible, and don’t forget to have fun in the meantime.
With that said, if your main objective is to make money and become a full-time content creator, you need to do your research beforehand to give yourself the best chance of success. Research trends, conduct audience analysis, and optimize everything from the ground up, such as having access to all the tools and services that will help make your life easier (such as PIP, Teespring, and Patreon).