How to Make Money with Social Media

By: Ty Hancock

Don’t worry, this isn’t clickbait. And I won’t try and get you to sign up for my multi-level-marketing scheme either. No. This is not that. But it is also probably not what you expected to find here.

I’ll spare you the gory details and avoid pretending like there is a big reveal at the end of this blog, I’ll tell you the secret. Data. Sexy, right?

For the vast majority of social media users, becoming “Insta-famous” or going viral is unlikely. However, understanding and being able to use tools to interpret social media data can start the journey towards a successful career. Nowadays, it is essential for brands and properties to monitor, listen, and gather consumer data in order to stay relevant and in favor with their target audiences. Customer service, marketing, and product teams all rely on social media data insights to make decisions about next-steps and solve problems.

While each department relies on social media to inform their next steps, there is still a fair amount of gray area in which employees operate. There are questions regarding ROI, software tools, and marketing strategies. On top of all of that, social marketing departments are traditionally understaffed. And the data-heads inside of the marketing department? Forget about it. Let’s just say, they need more of them.

So how does one go about becoming proficient in social media data? If you’ve read this far in the blog, you’re on the right track. Here are some simple steps to get you started:

  1. Watch some YouTube videos
  2. Stay current on social media trends and emerging apps
  3. Take an online social media data course (look for one that is accredited)
  4. Develop your own online profile and voice
  5. Offer to help brands/clients with their goals…for free (crazy, I know)

If you’re still not convinced, here are some more job outlook statistics. According to TechRepublic, engagement leads and data scientists are among the top ten jobs with potential for growth. With $93,000 and $113,000 median annual salaries respectively, these gigs have quite an attractive future. Even if a competitive salary isn’t what you’re after, these skills are some of the most desired among hiring managers. With all of the evidence piling up, it would be a shame to not at least consider integrating some social media data analytics into your studies and pastimes.

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Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

This Article Has 11 Comments
  1. Hayley Williamson says:

    Hi! I thought this was a very relevant post as more and more people are making money off of social media. I think it is also interesting how many YouTubers post about how much and how they make money on their platforms. Making money from social media has seem to become its own genre on YouTube, which is something I find interesting because in the past people have not always been willing to disclose how much money they were making from social media.

    • Ty Hancock says:

      Haley, you’re absolutely right. Not only are these social media skills relevant for the office setting, but also for entrepreneurs looking to start their own social channels and extend their reach. Knowing how to effectively use your own dollars can translate to a more successful brand launch and social media success.

  2. Miranda Menard says:

    Great thoughts!

    It is clear that in todays job market, it is essential to understand and be able to work with social media and data (further than the data skills learned in introductory college math). My question in response to this article is that the data science jobs you mentioned, are those data science jobs specific to social media data? I am wondering how salary and demand looks for similar skills in other sectors.

  3. Jillian Fraccola says:

    Today’s jobs require employees to be flexible and learn new platforms quickly, your point that online resources can help you to develop skills is spot on. I needed to learn Google Analytics for my internship and took a short course on LinkedIn and was up to speed in an hour.

    Being flexible and willing to learn new platforms will be vital for employees entering the workforce because new technologies are constantly emerging and you will be expected to learn new platforms to be effective at your position.

  4. Jamie Dunn says:

    This post was very well written and the tone and language kept me engaged throughout the entirety of the post. The information was relevant to social media users and gave good and helpful insight on ways to strengthen social media platforms and the importance of data (which if often overlooked by influencers because too often they focus only on their posts and content and not the affects of it). Before influencers get roped into the industry they should understand the data and statistics of social media to ensure the best possible results for their posts.

  5. Katie Zurbrick says:

    Good insights, Ty. Very thankful this post wasn’t about network marketing or being a #bossbabe.

    So often I feel like we come across people, both in the biz / j school and in real life, that really want to do social media or content marketing because it’s fun… Getting paid to post funny vines (or Tik Toks I guess is the new hip thing nowadays) and scroll your Insta feed all day. What more could a millennial/gen z-er want? Right?
    But without data — it doesn’t matter. I think all too often people forget that measurement and forecasting are the backbone of an effective marketing campaign. Data is what separates good marketers from mediocre ones. You can come up with all the creative content in the world, but if you cant deliver on your KPIs…. guess you’re out of a job. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  6. Molly Garcia says:

    This is an interesting post because I think that most people just think that if you gain a following you start to earn money. While you do earn money with a following, it is less about the amount of people who follow you, and more about the data behind your account and influence. Brands and influencers who successfully make money off of social media likely know how to manipulate the algorithms so that their posts are being shown to more people and, thus, make more money. Without knowing the data behind each post and account as a whole, and learning what to do with that data, accounts will likely not be able to make money on social media. I am thankful that J480 is teaching me about media data, but–like you said–I can also learn anything else I need to know from the internet.

  7. Katie Corah says:

    I completely agree with what you said about using your tools correctly. TikTok users aren’t going to get on the for you page with their very first TikTok because they don’t know how to use it properly yet. Those who are the ones with the most folowers and engagement are the ones who have knowledge and practice when it comes to posting. Same thing goes for Instagram. Influencers know what type of hashtags to use, what filter will create the best looking feed and aesthetic to bring in consumers and audiences who want to look like them.

  8. Jessica Klockman says:

    This is also very interesting way to look at how influencers got into their line of work. If you think of the very first person who got paid to post on social media and compare them to the people who are getting paid to post now, there has been a dramatic shift in the qualifications it takes for them to receive certain partnerships. There are many people on social media labeled as an influencer when in reality they’re just getting paid to post a product they most likely don’t even use. If you compare these people to the original “influencers” there is a huge difference behind the people and the meaning behind what they do and why they do it.

  9. Jessica Klockman says:

    This is such a well written article! I really enjoyed how you connected everything to one another, it really shows how invested you got with this topic. The topic of influencers can have so many different meanings and its really cool how you touched on everything that consists with the different steps people can take to “maintain influencer status”. There is such a huge difference between the people who layout how to be an influencer and people who naturally influence peoples lives. This was very well written and kept me engaged the entire time. Thank you for this!

  10. Amelia Whitford says:

    Great post Ty! I had no idea that social marketing departments are normally understaffed because it is so important for a business to know how to be proficient in analyzing social media data. It is really interesting to see how so many jobs can come out of using a social media platform, especially Youtube. Unfortunately, people sometimes think gaining a following on their platform will make them money, when really, it is more about the social media data.

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