Making money with social media does not have to be difficult, but there is always work involved.
Here's the good news: The more information you have about how to streamline the process, the easier it becomes to get those high value impressions to turn over revenue quickly and consistently!
Social media is not an advertising avenue to take lightly.
Facebook alone currently hosts 1.5 billion profiles and growing. 70% of people across all major demographics use it, and 41% of total Americans check Facebook on a daily basis (with 7% and growing checking Twitter daily). Add in Instagram's 400 million users and the B2B reach of the 100 million profiles on LinkedIn, and you have a force that you cannot ignore if you are looking to turn an online profit.
Your path to online profitability will have unique twists and turns. However, there are some overarching themes that you can count on.
Let's take a look at some of the things that everyone who makes social media profitable always seems to do.
1. Building Personal Trust
Although social media separates us physically more than ever, people still expect more personalized service than ever. 72% of people fully expect an answer from a company on Twitter in 60 minutes if they complain to that company.
One of the quickest ways to build personal trust is to create a video imagery around your brand.
One of the best places to do this is on YouTube, although many brands are building themselves on Vine, Instagram and even Snapchat.
The secret is to first determine where your target audience is most likely to find you. Snapchat is more conducive to teenagers; Instagram is the place for suburban Millennials, and YouTube is great for Gen Y and Gen X if you need them.
Before people will buy from you, they need to know who you are.
Dave Asprey from the Bulletproof site and brand is a great example of this – this is a guy that can sell anything because of the years he has served as a go to health expert.
Other top bloggers that now sell products based on their reputation for personal connection include Boogie2988, PewDiePie and Gary Vaynerchuk.
2. Establishing Yourself as an Expert
After personal credit, expertise is one of the most important aspects of making social media profitable.
If you are a known expert in a niche, people will naturally think of you first when they have a problem in that field. You will not have to advertise in the traditional sense if you build this kind of a reputation – you can begin the much more fruitful practice of inbound marketing.
78% of new business comes to the SMB market through social media, and top experts take the lion's share of this new business.
Becoming known as an expert within a niche is the next level beyond becoming known as a personality or a trustworthy face on social media. There are many ways that you can become known as an expert.
Your first foray into expertise can begin with niche websites that feed into the major search engines.
For instance, many of the stories that you see trending in your Facebook feed come from trusted news websites that are focused on a specific topic area. People will share the story from there, and it will come to the attention of the mainstream through the viral activity that places it in the feed.
Your focus should be getting on the niche website. These sites are much smaller, so the webmasters can actually be contacted. Most of them will have a submission policy for blogs or even videos.
If your content becomes popular on the site, it will naturally be shared on the major platforms, which will magnify its reach exponentially once it goes viral on a site like Facebook or Twitter.
However, expertise is crucial, because people are much more likely to really know their stuff on these niche sites, and they can sniff out a phony a mile away.
Many businesspeople are loathe to give away their “secrets” such as tips in how to videos, and this should never be something that stops you from creating content.
If everyone was a DIY weekend warrior, maybe. However, most people are simply trying to find out whether you are an expert before giving you their business. They are not looking to implement your solutions themselves – they just want to know that you actually have a solution!
Offering value for free has never cut into the profitability of any social media campaign, so offer it freely.
Creating ongoing content is one of the best ways to create an audience that trusts you on social media.
Consistency also helps your social media channels become more known to the internal search mechanisms of your chosen platforms.
Once you become trusted in the eyes of human visitors and search algorithms, you will gradually become more visible through word of mouth and organic prioritization. You will have to spend less money on customer acquisition marketing, and you can put much more effort into the maintenance and the growth of your platform.
Consistency does not mean running yourself into the ground.
Setting expectations is very important. If you have a great piece of content every week, then people will come to expect that. If you produce slightly lower quality content but you do it daily, people will begin to expect that.
What is important is that you continue the habits that you start from the beginning and tell your audience about any changes that you are thinking about.
YouTube is the social media site that will reward you the most for your consistency.
The mean amount of time that a consumer spends on a professional marketing channel on YouTube is four minutes, and that consumer will visit three pages during that visit. This is plenty of time to create a personal brand, establish yourself as an expert and sell something in a natural way.
Believe it or not, Google Plus is the next best site for length of engagement time and rewards for consistency on the platform.
If you know your stuff in international business or in the tech space, G+ is the network for you. LinkedIn and Twitter are next in line in terms of high engagement.
4. Interaction and High Touch
Just because you are putting material on the street does not mean that you are actually reaching them!
You need to ensure as much interaction as you possibly can.
This “high touch” philosophy is what actually brings you your customers regardless of platform.
85% of potential customers will leave a business if they do not get a knowledgeable sales agent. 51% of people say they will buy if they get a knowledgeable sales agent. These percentages are not equal, but you do not need to gain 85% – 51% of people is more than enough to turn a profit.
On social media, the sales agent is the content.
This goes back to creating an expertise and personal touch. The more that you put these principles into action, the more knowledgeable you seem.
The best part about this: The more that you put into creating a high touch social media presence, the more quickly your “touches” will build on each other. People talk. This word of mouth is the new way to advertise; really, it is the only way.
Provide value for one person today, and you will have the opportunity to provide that same value for 10 people tomorrow.
Encourage interaction through soliciting reviews and asking for commentary about your social media work. Make sure that you do this directly in every piece of media that you create.
This, rather than direct selling, is the way that you will bring cynical Millennials into your fold. Once you start an interesting conversation within a social media construct that is high touch, you will naturally gain customers without having to advertise your products to them very much. They will seek you out when they have a problem. There is a delicate balance here. You will find yours.
5. The Research
You need to know that 37% of Twitter users will make a purchase from a business that they follow.
You should know that YouTube is now more popular than basic cable among Americans between the ages of 18 to 49. The Pew Research Center has tons of stats for you that you can trust. It is your job to determine what is actually relevant to your cause.
Use this chart from Pew Research to match the buyer profile of your target audience to its proper social media network. Focus your attention on the social media platforms that naturally attract your audience.
Once you narrow down the platforms that you need to research, you can streamline your efforts, follow the changes in that platform more readily and keep up with the trends in your target market.
Once you determine your platform, you need to determine the type of content that works best on that platform, and the content that you best produce. Just because you see a wave come through social media (and you will see them) does not mean that you should participate in it.
You may not make that type of content very well! For example: If half naked fitness models are the new thing on Instagram, but you have not been working out twice a day like the popular fitness models, then you might want to keep your clothes on. This is simply not your wave.
Although you may not grow your audience as quickly as those wave riders at that time, the people who are with you will have more respect for you for staying in your lane.
On the flipside, once you find your lane, take full advantage of it.
Drill down into the types of social media that you do well so that you understand exactly why your audience is tuning in. The reason that your audience likes you is probably not the reason that you think.
Analyze using the free tools that Google, YouTube and Instagram give you. Instagram is a relatively new system when it comes to analytics, and you must create a business profile in order to access the analytics. If you have a personal profile, follow this link to change it into a business profile.
Becoming profitable using social media can be an easy and smooth process as long as you follow the steps that actually work, like I mentioned here.
You will need to keep your eyes open for those unique twists and turns that will occur in your personal journey, but the tips above will certainly give you a general blueprint that will keep you on the right path. Keep Climbing! See you at the top!