Social media influencers have evolved from entertainers to full celebrities who wield a lot of power in today’s digital economy.
That’s because influencers are extremely valuable to brands and businesses. Influencer marketing is the most reliable way to run promotions, and one ad partnership with a popular influencer can completely change the fate of your business.
However, promoting products and services isn’t the only way influencers make money. Today, there are a plethora of tools available at your disposal to earn money if you’re looking to become an influencer.
We’ll cover the most popular ones in this guide. Keep reading!
6 Ways Social Media Influencers Make Money
Social media influencers employ a variety of monetization strategies to turn their online hobby into a full-time business. Let's take a look at some of the most common methods they use:
1. Sponsored Content
Sponsored content is the bread-and-butter of influencer monetization. Influencers get paid for collaborating with brands to promote their products and services.
If you’ve ever seen an influencer giving shoutouts to brands or creating promotional videos for someone else, this means that they got paid for that post. Brands pay influencers for single posts, a series of posts, stories and even videos.
The most popular platform where brands collaborate with influencers is Instagram. There are also other social marketplaces such as Paysenger that are designed for creators to easily get discovered by potential sponsors.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is relatively easy to configure but has low payouts if you’re just starting out.
The model is quite simple to understand:
- Influencers post trackable links leading to products and services of other people in content captions or bios.
- They encourage viewers to make purchases through these links and sometimes even offer exclusive discounts.
- Influencers earn a commission when followers make a purchase through these links.
Affiliate marketing is probably the oldest way on the internet for content creators to earn money online. A lot of companies offer public affiliate programs through which you can easily get your own affiliate link and start marketing their services.
For example, here’s PewDiePie promoting NordVPN’s services using their official affiliate link:
3. Selling Your Own Products
Many influencers leverage their personal brand to develop and sell their own products or services. This could include merchandise such as clothing or beauty products to digital products like e-books, NFTs, and online courses.
Due to the popularity of this method for influencers to make money, platforms like Instagram have built-in features to help you open a shop. You can directly link your website and catalog with Instagram and people can browse your products without even leaving the social platform.
Another way to do this is to launch your own website. This can easily be achieved by using Shopify, a full e-commerce platform that allows you to design your own merch website using a simple drag and drop interface.
4. Ad Revenue
Influencers on platforms like YouTube can earn money through ad revenue. By becoming a YouTube Partner, influencers can place ads on their videos to earn a cut of YouTube’s earnings on ad placements.
YouTube pays 55% of every dollar paid by advertisers to influencers. Earnings are generally calculated on a CPM (cost per thousand views) basis, so the more views your video gets the more you earn.
5. Exclusive Memberships and Subscriptions
Platforms like Patreon and OnlyFans offer influencers the opportunity to create exclusive content for their paying followers. This model is particularly popular among content creators in niches like art, entertainment, fitness, and adult content
Influencers can provide unique perks and content to their subscribers, such as behind-the-scenes footage, Q&A sessions, early access, and more. Subscriptions offer a stable income stream and a closer, more engaged community.
6. Selling On-demand Content
This is a relatively new model that lets you earn fixed payments for every piece of content that you produce.
Platforms like Paysenger allow you to take exclusive requests from followers to produce content based on their ideas. This could be a happy birthday shoutout, tutorial video, or even a sponsorship proposal from a brand.
Here’s how it works:
1. Users discover you on Paysenger on the Creator Feed
2. They view your profile to see if they find your content interesting.
3. They send you a paid request to produce content for them.
You get paid as soon as you produce content for someone. Moreover, content gets immediately minted into NFTs and can be posted on public feeds to earn more revenue. The platform rewards users with a cryptocurrency called EGO for going viral and getting reactions on their content.
How Much Money Do Social Media Influencers Make?
The earnings of social media influencers depend on many different factors, one of the most important being their location. US-based content creators generally make much more money than others, making around $74,500 a year on average. Worldwide averages are $36,000 to $58,500.
However, these earnings don’t come from just one platform. Content creators have to combine multiple platforms to diversify their earning sources. As discussed in examples above, most content creators combine sponsored content, affiliate marketing, merch sales, and even exclusive memberships to hit their revenue goals.
Here are some other factors that affect your earning potential:
1. Follower Count and Engagement:
In general, influencers with more followers earn more money. However, in recent times, even influencers with small followings but high engagement rates have been able to ask for bigger paychecks when it comes to sponsored content.
2. Niche or Industry:
Niches that are based around high-end products usually pay more to influencers. For instance, influencers in the fashion, beauty, luxury, and travel sectors can earn more than those who work in the education industry.
The highest ad revenue earners are usually on YouTube, while Instagram and Twitter influencers get the lion's share of their earnings from sponsored content.
However, your earnings on Instagram depend on your influence, while your earnings on YouTube depend on the quality of your videos. Pick the platform that suits your talents and content style.
4. Monetization Methods:
Generating stable income as an influencer is all about diversifying your income streams. Relying solely on sponsored content might limit your income potential. By combining different methods like affiliate marketing, memberships, and merch sales, influencers can scale their business.
However, that means you’ll have to do extra work creating more quality content. This is usually not possible for new creators who are just starting out.
How to Become a Social Media Influencer and Earn Money
We wrote a full guide on How to Become an Influencer and Make Money earlier. Here’s a sneak peak on how you can get started today (or read the guide above to get the full picture):
1. Choose Your Niche
When picking a niche, don’t just go what’s trending on the internet today. Your niche should align with your passion and expertise. The niche is not something that’s popular, but it’s something that belongs to you and sets you apart from the rest. Maybe you’re a fashion model with a unique style that no one’s ever seen? Maybe you like to write songs?
Or you’re really good at creating short clips and want to see how far you can stretch your editing skills. The choice is yours. If your content is truly unique and enjoyable, you will definitely find followers in no time.
2. Plan Your Content
Becoming a social media influencer requires consistency. And to be consistent, you must have a long-term plan. The most important thing you need to plan ahead for is content. What will you be posting? When will you post it? What are the steps involved? Everything needs to be written out in advance.
Big social media companies usually create a plan months ahead of time and start producing content in advance. Then, they use a scheduling software like Buffer to automatically post content so their social media always has fresh content.
3. Build Your Audience
Focus on growing your social media following by engaging with your audience, using relevant hashtags, and collaborating with other influencers in your niche.
You can use platforms like Paysenger to collaborate with other influencers. Simply set up an account, find influencers in your industry using search filters, and send a collaboration request.
Collaboration gives you access to new ideas and audiences, that not only grows your following but also the quality of your content.
This is the most important step. Most creators quit before hitting popularity because they don’t have reliable ways to monetize their content. This is because monetization on modern social networks is very difficult for new creators. Monetization is important because it helps you focus full-time on content creation and spend money on better equipment, staff, and resources to improve the quality of your content.
The better quality content you have, the more followers you can get. Diversify your income sources by using platforms like Patreon and Paysenger. These platforms allow you to get financial support directly from your fans and followers on a recurring basis (even when YouTube ad revenue stops coming).
Moreover, ad placements on content can be destructive sometimes, because it lowers the quality of your content. By using subscription platforms, you can keep your content free from advertisement.
Social media influencers have a multitude of ways to earn money for creating content. These days, you don’t need to be a celebrity Jake Paul type to earn money on the internet.
All you need is a constant supply of fresh ideas, consistency, and access to monetization tools.
Looking to grow as a content creator? Start monetizing your content faster even if you have 1,000-10,000 followers by joining Paysenger. Sell on-demand content, collaborate with other influencers, meet sponsors, and much, much more!