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$3,000/mo — How To Make Money In Social Media
There's more to social media than just publishing Facebook posts
Social media is a vast field, but most people limit their career choices to just content creation.
Let’s go beyond that narrow niche and look at 9 ways to make money in social media:
Guides and courses
#1 Community management
You manage brand audiences. This includes:
Handling DM inquiries
Responding to comments
Running online communities (e.g., Slack, Discord, Facebook and LinkedIn Groups, Twitter Communities)
You’ll prepare monthly engagement reports so the brand can understand what people are talking about most often and how to improve its offerings.
This path is easier if you enjoy engaging with people.
How to get into this:
Set up your online accounts on social media
Join the types of communities you want to work in: parenting, gaming, web3, etc.
Establish relationships with marketing managers, community heads, and founders — most likely to hire you
Highlight community management experience on your CV
#2 Guides and courses
You create printed guides (e-books), slide decks, or video courses (online) to help people get better at social media management.
Your target market is largely founders and freelancers looking to get better at social media on a limited budget.
A course is a great way for them to level up and for you to get paid asynchronously.
You can also upsell 1-on-1 coaching, content strategy, and profile audits (more on these in a bit).
You’ll need to know:
How to write, edit, and design compelling content
How to promote your courses and guides online
This path is easier if you enjoy teaching.
Determine your course content: Will you focus on Profiles? Content? Ads? Pick one.
Create and upload the content. Add subtitles and a transcript to videos for accessibility and easier skimming.
Promote the guide or course through search, social, ads, affiliates, or partnerships (third-party websites, newsletters, and related podcasts).
Get paid daily, weekly, or monthly.
(P.S. Subscribe to get one of these each week)
#3 Content strategy
You help brands create better content for launches, campaigns, and content publishing.
You can do this freelance or in-house. You can also consult on just strategy or create the content as well.
You’ll need to create separate strategies for different platforms. What works on one platform may not work on another.
This path is easier if you enjoy writing.
Skills you’ll need:
Copywriting: Writing good captions
Planning: Creating content calendars
Graphic design: Using Canva or other tools
Charge anywhere from US$500/mo and up depending on the client and their needs (number of channels, type of content, etc.).
#4 Profile audits
You help people spruce up their social media profiles.
A bad profile can stand in the way of someone landing their next job or dream gig.
You can target executives, founders, and job seekers who want a better online presence.
Optimize your own profiles across the platforms you’ll specialize in
Create content around profile optimization and the dangers of inaction
Charge a commensurate fee: I’ve seen prices ranging from $50 - $200+
Just 3 audits each weekday at $50 per audit would net you $3,000/mo
This path is easier if you enjoy marketing, PR, or communications. Also great for former hiring managers.
You help other digital content creators grow their careers and businesses.
If you have lots of social media experience, you can sell consultations to your peers to help them avoid mistakes and grow their businesses faster.
This is easy to do online and can bring in easy income. You can also upsell tool sales as an affiliate (like I do with Publer) and guides.
This path is easier if you enjoy coaching and motivating people or have an HR background.
Share daily content around how to build a social media business on LinkedIn and Instagram
Connect and engage with other social media managers — DM them to understand their challenges
Drive traffic to your booking page and get paid (here’s mine)
Optional: Set up monthly coaching packages for recurring income, like I’ve done
#6 Research, insights, and analytics
You run large-scale surveys to determine how people feel about different topics and compile a report.
Your work will help (mostly large) companies to:
Understand user sentiment g (e.g., voter sentiment on taxes, consumer opinions on new tech)
Develop better products
Predict consumer behavior
Develop mystery shopper programs
Build better brand and GTM campaigns
This path is easier if you enjoy statistics, marketing, or academic research.
Highlight your research, statistics, or marketing analytics background in your CV and your online profile
Apply to an insights firm or enterprise company — typically those in politics, consumer goods, or tech
It’s extra helpful if you’ve run a few online polls yourself and compiled the results into a report
#7 Paid ads
You help companies deploy their ad spend across social media platforms.
Your job is to manage the money and ensure they get the most bang for their buck, measured in terms of reach, brand awareness, and conversions. 👇🏽
You’ll start off managing small budgets — $500/mo — and end up managing larger ones (up to $100,000/mo or more).
Companies are more willing to put you in charge of larger budgets when you have demonstrated experience.
You monetize from a percentage of the ad spend, a flat fee, or both.
In short, you’re being paid (quite well) to spend money.
This path is easier if you enjoy budgeting or e-commerce.
Deploy your own money on a few ads to figure out what works. Take courses and watch YouTube videos to learn best practices.
Run a few ads for a friend’s business to scale through paid ads. This will teach you how to handle other people’s money and give you a chance to create case studies.
Advertise your services online through your website (if needed) and social media (especially LinkedIn)
Create daily content around paid ads: How to deploy them, mistakes to avoid, etc. Share your learnings.
Apply for freelance gigs, in-house jobs, or cold DM founders to pitch your services.
You host workshops and training sessions for corporate and government teams looking to level up their social media game.
You’ll be training teams on:
Social media analytics
These gigs usually pay more than one-off consultations with solopreneurs.
You can upsell your services, books, and speaking engagements.
You’ll typically interface with marketing, PR, and HR leads who need to improve outcomes within their respective departments.
This path is easier if you enjoy teaching.
Create a one-page website with your offering and prices
Add testimonials and case studies from previous clients if you have them
Do cold outreach to sales directors, PR heads, and marketing leads
Do warm outreach to PR/sales/marketing professionals in your network
Find out their needs and pitch your services
Set up a date and time for training and deliver
Always collect feedback for improvement
Create case studies after every training session
#9 Live PR and reputation management
Some clients need someone to handle their social media comms in real time. Think celebrities, politicians, and other high-profile figures and brands.
You’ll quickly translate whatever’s going on in real life into social media content.
You’ll shoot and caption content on the go, and relate public feedback to the client as it comes in.
This is a fast-paced job and requires quick thinking and fast fingers, so ensure it’s suited to your personality.
You’ll be on call during odd hours, but the job can be deeply rewarding as you get to hobnob with high-profile clients and travel a lot.
This path is easier for former journalists and PR specialists.
Practice live-posting — Twitter is a great platform for this, with IG a close second (through Stories)
Build case studies by managing the social media channels of celebrities in your network
Apply to work at a PR agency or offer the service as a freelancer
Questions to ask
Do you have any examples of content we should emulate?
What platforms would you like to be active on?
Is there anything I should avoid when posting?
What’s your budget for the ads or campaign?
Will I edit photos or will you do it in-house?
How often am I expected to be on-call?
Will I take pics or will you supply them?
Do you have a social media policy?
What are your official hashtags?
How many posts do you need?
What equipment will I need?
How often will we post?
Ask for briefs: Know their needs, brand guidelines, and tone of voice
Stay updated on social media trends: read reports and case studies
Invest in your business: Budget for tools, training, and promotion
Stay active on social: Pos content, run surveys, and test ads
Always sign contracts: Get everything in writing
Work with a mentor or advanced professional
Test new platforms: Get a feel for what works
Curate your feeds: Your work speaks for you
Network regularly and build relationships
Take breaks often: This job can be taxing
Ask for feedback from users and clients
Niche down — it’ll make things easier