The end goal of every business is generating revenue. And your social media posts are just one more way of doing exactly that.

In this article we’ll teach you how to maximize the potential of your social media presence and turn it into a real revenue stream – without needing to invest heavily into gaining thousands of followers.

Too often companies get hung up on building their follower count. Of course your social media reach is important, but it isn’t an excuse to pass up monetizing right now.

While there are those who would counter that the main purpose of social media is communication and not monetization, our experience is that with good content and the right approach, the ceiling is sky-high for customer engagement and attention.

You can drive traffic to your website with social media, create premium content that only you specialize in, or even become an affiliate, marketing other brands’ products to your own audience.

Facebook and Instagram have even started baking storefront and marketplace functionality into their platforms, further lowering the barrier to entry for monetization.

So how do you get started? Let’s take a look.

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Tip #1: Embrace video content as the new standard

According to Cisco, 82% of all consumer IP traffic by 2021 will be video traffic. It’s also been found that online shoppers who view demo videos are almost twice as likely to purchase products compared to non-viewers.

Recent research by Sequent Partners states that 65% of marketers think video will continue to grow in importance for driving offline sales, as well.

Video is going to be the king of marketing for the foreseeable future. It’s clear that businesses are going to have to rethink how they make use of video content. Text and image content will still be heavily used, but we believe they’re going to be there to supplement the main course of video.

video content on instagram

Here’s the type of content which will have the greatest impact on your ROI:

Interviews

Even just a short clip with an expert in your field of business can give you a good level of credibility and trustworthiness. Let them talk about why your product works and what’s good about it.

People love listening to others who have authority and knowledge – make use of that fact!

Instructional/educational videos

The more a customer understands your product or service, the more likely they are to make use of it. IGTV is a great place for long-form content like this – it’s intrinsically linked to your Instagram page so if you already have a solid core following there, getting them to watch your content is much easier than getting them to watch on a different website or app.

Learn how to use IGTV for brand building and you’ll have a head start on your competitors if they haven’t started leveraging this new platform.

Tip #2: Create your community

People love exclusivity and they love being part of a club. Turning your brand’s followers into a loyal audience not only ensures that they’ll be first in line to buy what you have to offer, they’ll also advertise for you to their own followers.

That kind of social proof and word of mouth is like pure gold for your marketing efforts.

You only have to look towards the approach of brands such as Balmain. Its social media team actively communicates with the “Balmain Army,” a thriving community.

balmain army community

Give your followers the chance of early access to your products through raffles, deals, or contests, and they’re much more likely to engage with you and the rest of the community you’ve built.

Limited-time offers for your specific audience also creates a sense of urgency that pays dividends for your conversion rates. Give people deals to talk about and they’ll spread the news around to everyone they think might be interested -which just gives you an even bigger audience. Brand advocates barely cost you anything, and they’re first in line for your business.

One added benefit of using social media exclusive deals and incentives is that they’re easy to measure. You can track the success of your campaign and easily reward your audience for engaging with you and following you.

Tip #3: Leverage chat functionality

Once people are interested in your company, your products, and your community, they’re going to want to get in touch with you directly. While it’s definitely possible to handle all customer chat requests by yourself if you have a very small home business, for most companies it’s going to be nearly impossible to field all the questions that come in on a daily basis.

With how connected people are these days, everyone absolutely loves messaging on social media and they’ve come to expect near instantaneous feedback.

So what’s the right play? If you don’t have the funds to hire and train a large-scale dedicated customer service chat team, a great option is to set up a chat bot to answer the most basic questions.

At the very least, anyone messaging will receive a reply and the assurance that someone will get in touch with them. Caveat: the longer you let those leads sit, the more likely they are to go cold.

According to Facebook, by the end of 2018, 78% of the world’s smartphone users will message every month. Instagram data shows that 150 million Instagram users are connecting with businesses every month, and a full third of those connections are started by an Instagram Story.

The key takeaway here is: every part of your social media chain is important. Your content draws people in, your community builds social proof, and your customer service can set you apart from your competitors.

Tip #4: Put your store front and center on social media

instagram storefront links

If your customers don’t want to bother going to another page or app just to buy your products, then you’re going to have to bring your products closer to them – by selling directly on social media.

Facebook and Instagram already have this feature available; you just have to set it up. You’ve probably already seen bigger brands taking this approach: their Instagram posts and Stories are set up with product details, images, and a purchase link – all the user has to do is click on the shopping bag icon in the post and from there it’s a short hop towards a sale.

Facebook storefronts are a simple enough addition to a company’s page, and items can either link to products on Facebook or on the company’s website.

Tip #5: Piggyback off of others

While it makes sense to push your own products and services, you also don’t have to limit yourself to that. Whether or not you have your own products to offer, it’s worth it to sign up for affiliate programs with the likes of big retailers like Amazon or Rakuten.

Affiliate programs are a sales model that’s become very popular – it gives you a huge swathe of products to talk about (so long as they aren’t from competitors). When holidays or special occasions come around, even if you don’t have any products you can push, you can still post an affiliate link along with your own written content.

With an engaged audience and an active community, you can make a surprising amount of revenue just from affiliate links – you just have to make sure that your product choices are all on-brand.

Final words

Establish your brand voice so that your approach and aesthetic are consistent across all platforms. Combine our tips with further knowledge of current digital trends in marketing, and you’re sure to have a leg up on the competition.

Do you have your own innovative ideas for monetization or do you see something new other brands are doing? Let us know in the comments.

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Natasha Ponomaroff is the Senior Marketing Director of Instasize – a content creating tool kit for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile. A weekly contributor on the site’s blog, Natasha tracks social media trends and updates the millions of “creatives” who are currently using Instasize to curate awesome online content. When she isn’t writing up the latest trend, Natasha is overseeing a team of 10 over at the Instasize HQ – ensuring that the marketing content on the apps various social platforms is ready to go.