How to make money on social media - 10 income streams for content creators

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In today’s digital age, social media platforms offer anyone with a mobile device and an internet connection the opportunity to turn their passion into profit!


In this blog post, we’ll explore the different ways you can make money online with social media, from sponsored posts and ad revenue to affiliate marketing and digital products, We’ll also dive into some lesser-known income avenues such as live streaming, consultancy, UGC content creation.


Hopefully helping you make your first steps towards turn your passion into your dream business!

2. Ad Revenue

Ad revenue is a common monetization method that allows you to earn money from advertisements displayed on your social media or blog posts. It’s a fairly straightforward and passive way to generate income as your audience engages with your content.


To start earning ad revenue, you’ll typically need to partner with an advertising network or platform. These networks connect you with advertisers looking to reach your specific audience. Some popular ad networks include Google AdSense and Mediavine, which offer opportunites to get paid for ads on your blog posts and YouTube videos.

However, each network has its own requirements and eligibility criteria, so make sure to research and choose the one that best aligns with your goals and audience. For example, you need at least 1000 subscriber and 4000 watch hours to be eligible for the YouTube partner programme (Adsense for YouTube).


As your audience interacts with the ads, you earn revenue based on various factors such as impressions (the number of times an ad is viewed) or clicks (when a viewer clicks on the ad). Ad networks typically provide analytics and reporting tools to help you track your ad performance and earnings.


Another example is the TikTok creator fund, providing an opportunity for TikTok creators to monetize their content and earn income based on the performance of their videos. By meeting the eligibility requirements and joining the Creator Fund, creators can earn money through views, engagement, and overall popularity.

TikTok Creator Fund

To optimize your ad revenue potential, focus on growing your audience and engagement. The larger and more engaged your audience, the more attractive your platform becomes to advertisers. Consistently produce high-quality, valuable content that resonates with your audience and encourages them to stay and interact with your platform.


It’s important to note that ad revenue may not be the most significant income stream for everyone, especially in the early stages. However, it can still contribute to your overall earnings and provide a passive income source. As your platform and audience grow, so does the potential for higher ad revenue.

3. Digital Products

Digital products offer a flexible and scalable income stream that allows you to monetize your expertise while helping others achieve their goals. They can include anything from e-books and online courses to editing LUTs & Presets, providing a scalable and accessible way to monetize your skills and expertise by packaging your valuable insights into downloadable digital formats.


To successfully sell digital products, it’s important to understand your audience’s pain points, desires, and needs. Tailor your products to address these specific areas, ensuring they provide value and solve a problem for your audience. Additionally, invest time and effort in marketing and promoting your digital products – they definitely won’t sell themselves!


With ecommerce platforms like Shopify, it’s pretty easy to set-up your own shop and website. They handle everything from payments to shipping, plus, they have a super easy-to-use website builder and tons of cool themes and apps give your store a professional look.

4. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy where you earn a commission for promoting someone else’s products or services. In other words, you earn a commission for every sale or action generated through your unique affiliate links, and the brand gains exposure and potential customers.


To start with affiliate marketing, the first step is to identify affiliate programs that align with your niche and audience. Many brands and companies that you already use and love will offer affiliate programs, which can be found on their websites. The most popular is the Amazon Associates programme as you can earn commission on almost anything all over the world.


Once you’ve joined an affiliate program, you’ll receive a unique affiliate link or promo code that tracks the traffic and sales generated through your referrals. Integrate these links strategically into your content, whether it’s in blog posts, social media captions, or video descriptions. As always, you should be transparent with your audience about the affiliate partnership to maintain trust and authenticity.

The key to successful affiliate marketing is to promote products or services that genuinely provide value to you and your audience. Recommending products you have personally used and believe in will strengthen your credibility and increase the likelihood of conversions. Be authentic in your recommendations, sharing your personal experiences and highlighting the benefits your audience can expect, because a genuine recommendation will always carry more weight and can lead to long-term relationships and increased affiliate earnings.


To optimize your affiliate marketing earnings, focus on creating engaging and compelling content that educates, entertains, or solves a problem for your audience. Share informative reviews, in-depth tutorials, or engaging stories that demonstrate the value of the products or services you’re promoting. Tailor your content to highlight how the recommended items can enhance your audience’s lives or address their pain points.


In addition to creating valuable content, track and analyse your affiliate marketing efforts to optimise performance. Most affiliate programs provide reporting and analytics tools that allow you to monitor your clicks, conversions, and earnings.

5 - Live Streaming

Live streaming allows you to connect with your audience in a more interactive way, as it enables you to broadcast live video content, engage in real-time conversations, and build a stronger bond with your viewers. Whether you’re sharing gaming sessions, tutorials, Q&A sessions, or behind-the-scenes glimpses, live streaming offers a unique opportunity to monetize your content.


One of the primary ways to monetize your live streams is through donations or tips from your viewers, viewers can contribute through virtual currencies, digital gifts, or direct donations Platforms like Twitch, YouTube Live, or Facebook Live provide features that allow your audience to support you financially during your live broadcasts.

Instagram Live Streaming

Photo by Nathan Dumlao

Another popular method of monetization is through sponsorships and brand collaborations during your live streams. Brands are always looking for opportunities to reach new audiences and may be willing to sponsor your broadcasts or partner with you for product placements. Additionally, you can monetize your live streams through ad placements as some platforms offer the option to display pre-roll or mid-roll ads during your live streams.


As with any form of content creation, consistency is key. Develop a schedule for your live streams, promote them across your social media platforms, and encourage your audience to subscribe or follow your channel for updates. By building anticipation and a dedicated fan base, you increase the potential for higher viewership and therefore, greater monetization opportunities.

6 - Consultancy

Similarly to eBooks or online courses, consultancy allows you to share your expertise, insights, and experience with individuals or businesses in need of guidance. By offering your unique perspective and tailored recommendations, you can help clients overcome challenges, achieve their goals, and make informed decisions.


First, identify your niche or area of specialization. Determine the specific knowledge or skills you possess that can bring value to others. Are you an expert in marketing, finance, leadership, or a particular industry? Define your expertise to position yourself as a go-to consultant in your field.


Next, establish your consultancy services and the specific offerings you’ll provide. These could include one-on-one consultations, strategy development, audits, workshops, or training sessions. Create packages or service tiers that cater to different client needs and budgets and clearly outline the benefits and outcomes clients can expect from working with you.

Photo by Maranda Vandergriff

Building a strong personal brand is crucial in the consultancy space, so you’ll need to develop a strong social media presence and professional website that showcases your expertise, shares success stories, and provides testimonials from satisfied clients. To attract clients, you could leverage social media platforms, publish blog articles or organise free live streams or webinars to further establish your credibility and visibility.


As a consultant, delivering exceptional personal service is essential. Listen actively to your client’s needs, ask insightful questions, and provide tailored recommendations that address their specific challenges. Communicate clearly, set realistic expectations, and maintain professionalism throughout the engagement, because ultimately, your ability to deliver results and exceed expectations will lead to satisfied clients and potential referrals.

7 - UGC Content Creation

UGC refers to any content that is created by users rather than the brand or organization itself. Designed to look like organic social media content rather than obvious ads, UGC includes a wide range of formats, including photos, videos, reviews, testimonials, and social media posts. It has become a powerful tool for brands and businesses to amplify their reach, engage their audience, and foster authentic connections.


You, as a user and content creator have exactly the skills these brands are looking for to bring these videos to life, and better still, they will pay you to create them!

Lofoten Islands Photography

Identify brands that align with your values, target audience, and creative interests and explore their products, services, and brand messaging to understand their identity and aesthetic. This knowledge will enable you to tailor your UGC content to resonate with their brand and engage their audience authentically.


Once you’ve identified compatible brands, it’s time to initiate collaborations. Craft compelling UGC proposals that outline your creative ideas, concept, and the unique value you can bring to the brand’s marketing efforts. Clearly communicate how your UGC content will enhance their brand image, captivate their audience, and drive meaningful engagement. Be prepared to showcase examples of your previous work to demonstrate your skills and creative vision.

8. Physical Products

Selling physical products opens up a world of opportunities to turn your creativity into tangible items that resonate with your audience – these could be photo prints, art prints, or customized merchandise


Selling physical products, such as photo prints and merchandise, is made even more accessible and convenient with the option of print-on-demand services. Print-on-demand allows you to create and sell your products without the need for upfront inventory or manufacturing.

Photo by Jonny Caspari

Platforms such as Printful offer a huge range of print-on-demand products, including clothing, accessories, home decor, and more. They handle the entire fulfilment process, from printing and packaging to shipping the products directly to your customers. Even integrating with popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify, allowing you to easily manage your store and sync product listings.

9. Subscriptions

Subscriptions offer a powerful way to provide exclusive content and access to your most dedicated followers and one of the best subscription features to consider right now is built right into Instagram.


To make the most of Instagram’s subscription feature, you’ll want to define what exclusive content you will be offering to your subscribers. This could include behind-the-scenes footage, bonus posts, exclusive stories, live Q&A sessions, or access to a private community. Tailor your content offerings to align with your niche, expertise, and what your audience values most.


The great thing about it is that you can promote your subscription by leveraging your existing Instagram following without anyone even needing to leave the app. Try sharing snippets of exclusive content, and communicate the benefits of subscribing on your stories to pique the interest of your followers and encourage them to explore your subscription offering.

Instagram and TikTok Social Media subscription features

Instagram & TikTok Subscription Features

In addition to Instagram’s subscription feature, other platforms like Patreon provide a dedicated space to manage and deliver your subscription content on a tier based platform. These tiers allow you to customize the value you provide based on different pricing options, giving your audience the freedom to choose the level of engagement that suits them best.


Engagement is key when it comes to subscriptions. Interact with your subscribers regularly by responding to comments, messages, and inquiries. Consider hosting exclusive live sessions or virtual events where you can connect with your subscribers, answer their questions, and provide personalized insights. Building a strong relationship with your subscribers fosters loyalty and encourages them to continue their subscription.

10. Email Marketing

Email marketing provides a direct and personalized way to engage with your audience, build trust, and drive conversions. By capturing email addresses from your website or sign-up forms, you can establish a direct line of communication with your most dedicated followers. When done right, email marketing has an average return on investment of $36 for every $1 spent – so it really does work!


You can send regular newsletters, content updates or product launches, all while integrating a whole range of other monetization methods, such as affiliate marketing, product sales or brand sponsorships.


Automation is your best friend when it comes to email marketing. Set up automated email sequences to welcome new subscribers, saving you time and ensuring that your audience receives a consistent flow of valuable content to keep them engaged without requiring constant manual effort.

Email Marketing

To maximize the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns, optimize your subject lines and preview text to capture attention and encourage opens. Use compelling visuals, clear call-to-action buttons, and persuasive copy to drive click-throughs and conversions and regularly analyze your email performance to refine your strategy and improve your results.


Integrate your email marketing efforts with other channels, such as your website, blog, and social media platforms by using sign-up forms, pop-ups, and landing pages to capture email addresses from your website visitors. Just don’t forget to comply with email marketing regulations, such as obtaining proper consent, providing an unsubscribe option, and adhering to data protection policies. Respecting your subscribers’ privacy and preferences is crucial to maintaining a positive and engaged audience.


The email marketing platform that we use and recommend is called ConvertKit, it’s a popular email marketing platform that simplifies the process of creating and managing email campaigns, with content creators in mind.


With ConvertKit, you can build your email list from scratch with automated workflows, performance analytics and even sell digital products and subscriptions directly through your own custom landing page. It’s user-friendly interface, customizable email templates and sign-up forms, and powerful automation features make it an excellent choice for content creators and entrepreneurs. They even have a free plan with everything you need to get started!

Create sign up forms like this

Sign up to see our welcome email sequence

So, embrace the possibilities, experiment with different approaches, and don’t be afraid to take your first steps into the world of social media monetization.


Don’t forget to bookmark this post for future reference!


READ MORE: How Many Followers do you Need to Make Money on Social Media