2016 saw social media truly change the world. Sharing of memes and online discussion is said to have directly influenced Donald Trump’s successful rise to presidency, trending topics gave an up-to-the-minute insight into what the world was interested in, and careers were built and demolished because of posts shared and images posted.
Social media moving into 2017 offers a direct insight into the global zeitgeist – and the opportunities to make money from it are growing by the day.
While in the past predictions were made about social media reaching its peak and beginning to decline, in truth it has simply transformed, divided and proliferated. Gone are the days of Myspace, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook competing for top spot – now we have Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Viber, Whatsapp, WeChat, Kakao … the list is almost endless.
Facebook, which is still possibly the best social media platform for making money, has announced that it will increase its UK staff numbers by 50% in the next year or so – a whopping 500 new employees – so it’s clear from Facebook’s continued expansion as well as the birth of countless other communities that the social media world is still in its infancy, but growing up fast.
The great news for hardworking, progressive entrepreneurs is that if you know where to look and have a good following, you can turn your online peers, expertise and time into paycheques.
So how are people successfully using social media to make money, instead of solely letting social media make money from them? Below we have listed just 5 ideas considering ways you can start turning that social influence into cold, hard cash.

1. Start advertising on your YouTube channel

Social media doesn’t have to be a forum for message sending and meme sharing; people gather in their millions to watch YouTube videos while commenting and sharing what they produce and enjoy. Many entrepreneurs are already taking advantage of the freedom, ease and exposure that comes from videos, so why not start advertising on your channel too?
The more people you reach, the more your brand grows, and the more you will be paid from the unobtrusive adverts you feature on your channel.

2. Create and promote a video training course

With high numbers of people seeing your social shares, you are sure to be doing something right – and others are going to want to know your secrets. A digital product such as an online training course is an ideal way to make a fantastic margin as well as continue to boost your profile as a thought leader.
Marketing your abilities as a social influencer, entrepreneur, or speaker – essentially whatever your chosen area of expertise is – is a great way of monetizing your social media efforts.

3. Nurture leads

This is perhaps the most obvious way of using social media to make money, but still an under-utilised practice. Engaging possible customers online in conversation is a fast, practical way of making money from your followers, and is surprisingly straightforward to do.
Simply talk with the people you have connected with. Discuss. Share your expertise. Demonstrate your abilities and show how much you can offer. Social media is primarily about conversation, and by exchanging ideas and knowledge you are using it to your financial advantage.

4. Become a social media influencer

No matter how well known their product is, brands want greater exposure. If you have a lot of followers, brands will be keen to use your audience to influence trends and reach their target markets even more effectively.
As an example, Danielle Bernstein is a fashion blogger and spectacularly successful influencer marketer. Her followers on Instagram broke 1.5 million in 2016 – around a 40% rise from the previous year – meaning that the $5,000-$15,000 she was charging for a piece of sponsored content in 2015 is likely to have rocketed in value and cost today.

5. Become an Amazon affiliate

After signing up to become an Amazon affiliate, you will be given a special link to share on your blog, your Facebook feed, your website, or anywhere else that you share content. Users who click on that link and buy whatever produce you have promoted will also trigger a small commission for you. While this is only a small sum by itself, if you are doing well on social media you could be sending hundreds if not thousands of people through to the given link – and these commissions will really start to add up.
What ways do you use social media to make money? Which ways proved most/least successful? Let us know in the comments below, or join in the discussion on the Unlimited Success Facebook Page, which you can find here.