Originally published on True Africa by yours truly – March 15, 2016
I’ve heard so many people say: ‘If I could make money off social media, my life would be perfect’ that I finally decided to write about it: yes, you can make money off social media.
Take this example: my close friend, Kevwe Ogunje quit his job in early 2014 because he just couldn’t anymore and decided to try working off social media. He started a satirical Youtube series called 2 Sides with his roommate Malik Jiro.
The series got successful real quick, with national blogs sharing their skits and people retweeting and sharing because it was that funny. The first episode got over 4,000 views and by episode six, the duo got a call from Africa Magic asking to test run 2 sides.
Kevwe and Malik have since moved on to bigger and even better things. Theirs is a happily ever after story, aye? Proof that you can do it too if you try.
Here’s my two cents (and hopefully more) on making money off various social platforms yourself.
1. Views (YouTube)
There are different ways you can earn money off YouTube: views, ads and third-party funding. The most important thing is that you choose a niche to make videos that people care about. Stacking receipts might be fun for you, but creating a YouTube channel about it would be a bad idea.
Audience comes before income – always.
Audience comes before income – always. You make between USD$1.5 to $2 on average for every 1,000 views. Your earnings will vary depending on viewer engagement and posting consistency. It’s quite interesting to note that ‘how-to’ videos seem to make more money than regular videos. You can watch this video for more information on how YouTube pays for views.
2. Ads (YouTube)
You earn about $.15 every time a viewer watches an ad on your video for 30 seconds, or more than half of the ad (whichever comes first). There are different types of ad formats you can use, you can check them out over here. To enable ads for your channel, go to account monetisation and connect your channel to an AdSense account.
3. Third-party funding (YouTube)
Other ways to make money off YouTube include fan funding, like for example, asking viewers for monetary support with a link to sites like Patreon.
It is low-key begging, but you’re an artiste so it’s acceptable.
4. Sponsored posts (Twitter)
With Twitter, you can make money by signing up for sponsored tweets or affiliate marketing. As on YouTube, having a large follower count helps. How often your followers engage with you is really important too. An account with 10,000 followers but hardly any interaction is less influential (therefore less marketable) than an account with 5,000 followers and lots of interaction.
PaidPerTweet and SponsoredTweets are the most common pay-per-tweets websites. They do as they say, and pay you for every Tweet with the link assigned to you. Only drawback is they ask for permission to your Twitter account on sign up, and can follow new people and tweet on your behalf.
Affiliate marketing’s pretty easy. You connect with marketers to sell their product and services. Often, you tweet the affiliate links to your followers, and can put it in your bio too. Every time someone clicks on one of your links you get paid.
I did this once, on a job I got off Upwork. It’s a pretty easy and fun way to make good money. If you have a knack for expressing yourself in short, witty sentences and have at least 1,000 followers, you can do it too.
What makes this even cooler is you can set your own rates if you sell yourself well.
These jobs are easy to find if you look, and what makes this even cooler is you can set your own rates if you sell yourself well. ‘Hey, I have an innate understanding of the millennial market, look at my twitter and IG follower count.’ Kidding, you’ll have to sell yourself better than that.
Instagram is all about self-promotion. To make money here, take beautiful photos and like your friends’ photos so they like yours back.
You can even sell your photos onto sites like Snapwire, Twenty20 and Community Foap. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to do this, just take clear, unique, beautiful photos.
Just like with Twitter, affiliate marketing is basically when you promote a product and get paid per sale. With Instagram, you post attractive images of their products and write a caption of how the product changed your life.
There’s no better social medium to sell on than Instagram. You can turn your account into a mini e-shop. Showcase your stuff with good photos, use hashtags and get Instagram celebs to post your stuff.
You can and should spend time studying trends and watching to see where a little creativity can become a money maker like this crazy duo did with Kanye and Wiz Khalifa’s twitter feud.
They made cool tees with Kanye’s tweets hours after the drama went down and were 80 per cent sold out in less than 24 hours.
You can and should learn from the best Africans ruling social media like Dr Bassem Youssef from Egypt who has 6.45m twitter followers.
His satirical news series got five million views in three months, and got him a TV show, making him the first internet to TV conversion in the Middle East. Caspar Lee from South Africa has 3.38m followers. He started as a YouTuber and has gone on to act in movies like The Spongebob Movie.
To make it big with social media, you have to be daring, interesting, and committed. Most of us already have the committed part down, showing up every day to tweet and post updates like clockwork. All that’s left is finding a fun niche and creating something the world can fall in love with.
This should be fun! If at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again. Here’s to being one of the lucky ones! Good luck!