Social media monetization isn’t as easy as posting a few affiliate links and hoping for the best.

Though affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money through social media, that’s only one way to monetize social media…and it’s not necessarily the most lucrative.

In this article we’ll cover a few of the major social media monetization methods. And we’ll explain how to use all of them together by creating a social media sales funnel.

Top Social Media Monetization Methods

The internet is a massive content marketplace. Anything online can be monetized.

If you have digital content to sell, then you can monetize it.

And if you don’t have your own content to sell…sell someone else’s.

Here are a few major ways to monetize content on social media:

  • Sell affiliate products. While there may be some limitations to affiliate marketing, if you follow the rules and avoid spammy activity, you can sell affiliate products through your social media accounts.
  • Sell your own products or services through your account. Self-promotion is where the real money is at. If you have your own business, products, or services, then this should be the core focus of any social media account. Even if your only product is informative content, you should package this information into products, such as ebooks, that you can sell.
  • Advertise for others on your account. Chances are, if you build a large enough following, people may request that you promote their products or services. As with a blog, popular social media accounts can become valuable advertising spaces.

In general, most social media monetization – and any type of monetization, for that matter – involves selling or advertising something.

The 2 Keys to Social Media Success

Gone are the days when you could start a Twitter account, gain followers, and spam them with affiliate links. Nowadays, people are much more discerning. So you need to use tact and offer real value…if you want to make money from your customers.

In general, people like to consume content that is:

Entertaining – Think cat videos, YouTube pranks, TV shows, Twitter jokes, funny pictures on social media, and so on. Entertain your social media followers and you’ll be able to grow your account quickly.

InformativePeople are always searching for information. They may be looking for ways to lose weight, methods to make money online, strategies for a successful career, or recipes for dinner. Positioning yourself as an information provider is an early step in the sales process.

Your social media account should provide content that is either informative, entertaining, or both.

The 2 Types of Content

There are two types of content that you can distribute through social media:

Curated ContentThis is content that you find and share. For instance, if you run a social media account devoted to fitness, you’ll probably share articles on exercise, motivational photos, and so on.

Created Content This refers to content you create yourself. If you run a blog, for example, then articles on this blog would be considered created content.

Creating a Social Media Sales Funnel

Whether you’re an affiliate marketer or whether you have your own products to sell, you’ll need to sell something.

There are 4 steps to creating a successful social media sales funnel:

1. Make them aware of a problem, product, or serviceThis is the step where you provide informative and/or entertaining content.

2. Get them interested in a solutionPositioning yourself as an authority helps to build trust…which makes people more likely to become your customers.

3. Generate desire for your solutionThis solution can be your own product, an affiliate product, or a product you’re advertising.

4. Get them to take action Include benefits-driven calls-to-action for best results.

There are two ways to monetize your social media funnel:

  • Sell to people directly from your social media account. For instance, you can tweet or post affiliate links directly in your social media account. People would be driven directly to the product page. And if they purchased the item, you’d earn a commission.
  • Use social media to acquire customers. This is the best approach to take, for several reasons. For one thing, it’s often difficult to sell to people on social media: they don’t necessarily know you and they aren’t necessarily looking to buy something. For another thing, it’s easier to sell to existing customers than it is to acquire new ones.

Making a short-term sale is much less valuable than acquiring a new customer who will buy from you repeatedly. Your social media funnel, then, should aim to acquire new customers.

Provide them with informative, entertaining content. Interact with them. Build trust.

And drive them to other parts of your online sales funnel, such as:

  • A sales page on your website
  • An opt-in form for your email marketing list
  • A download page for your app
  • Your other social media accounts – so they follow you on those accounts as well
  • More in-depth content posted elsewhere on your account

The more you interact with people and the more value you add, the more they’ll begin to trust you, pay attention to you, and the easier it will be to sell to them…on social media and off.