How to Make Money on Social Media: Your 2023 Guide

Learn how to make money on social media platforms like TikTok, Twitch, YouTube, and Instagram as a creator or a brand.

How to Make Money on Social Media: Your 2023 Guide

Whether you’re an individual creator or a brand with a product to sell, social media isn’t just a platform for brand awareness — it’s a money maker.

The top stars on Instagram can command millions for a sponsored post, but even small creators have a chance to make a nice chunk of change. A viral video on TikTok can earn a few hundred dollars and social media influencers who engage in affiliate marketing can earn the equivalent of a full-time salary just from strategically sharing shopping links. And anyone can potentially turn their social media posts into revenue.

For brands, social commerce also poses a huge opportunity for sales. In 2022, social commerce brought in $724 billion in revenue worldwide.

Whether you’re looking to supplement your income, become a full-time social media influencer, or sell a new product, social media holds many opportunities for making money.

There are many ways to make money on social media, including:

  1. Joining a revenue share program
  2. Selling a product or service
  3. Selling fan merchandise
  4. Joining an affiliate program
  5. Earning through live streams
  6. Creating UGC
  7. Creating subscriber content
  8. Running ads on social media
  9. Partnering with brands

Let’s take a closer look at different ways to make money on social media, whether you’re a creator or a brand.

How to make money on social media as a brand or creator

These social media revenue ideas work whether you’re an individual creator or influencer, or you’re a brand on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, or Facebook.

Join a partner or revenue share program

Just about every social media platform offers a revenue sharing program that allows creators to earn money for creating popular content. Social media apps earn revenue from ads and revenue sharing programs allow the creators who make those apps worth visiting to benefit from that profit.

Let’s take a look at some of these programs.

Join the TikTok Creator Fund

Screenshot from the TikTok Creator Fund information page. The top portion of the image is six stills from TikTok videos arranged in a side-by-side collage with the words "Creator Fund" laid over the top in large white font. Beneath this header image is the following text: "Creators light up TikTok. You entertain us. You inspire us. You're constantly finding innovative new ways of creative expression. That is why TikTok is happy to support and reward creators with TikTok Creator Fund."
image courtesy of TikTok

The TikTok Creator Fund isn’t a traditional revenue sharing program as creators who participate aren’t getting a direct cut of ad revenue, but it is a way to make money for creating TikToks that become popular on the app.

Launched in March 2021, the program pays out sums based on several factors. It takes into account both views and the authenticity of those views — meaning using a bot or watching your own videos on repeat won’t cut it.

To participate in the Creator Fund, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a legal resident of the US, UK, Germany, Italy, France, or Spain
  • Have at least 10,000 authentic followers
  • Have at least 100,000 authentic video views in the last 30 days
  • Comply with TikTok’s Community Guidelines

If you meet all that criteria, you can apply for the Fund by opening your account, then your account settings, and tapping Creator Tools then TikTok Creator Fund.

For qualifying accounts, the Creator Fund pays out based on views. The payments are the same regardless of how many followers you have, although TikTok accounts with more followers are more likely to gain views quickly.

So how much does it pay? Through the Fund, you can expect to earn $0.02 to $0.04 per 1,000 views. That means you need at least 50,000 views to earn $1. A TikTok with 1 million views would earn $20 to $40.

Join the TikTok Creativity Program (Still in Beta)

image courtesy of TikTok

If you're already part of the TikTok Creator Fund and find yourself making mostly longer form content on the clock app (>1 min), there's another revenue share program available to you now.

In May 2023, TikTok rolled out a Beta version of their new Creativity Program, which rewards creators who make videos that are at least one minute long or longer. The eligibility requirements are the same for the Creator Fund, but you can only be in one program at a time. If you're already in the Creator Fund, you can easily switch from within your TikTok account settings in the app.

To switch to Creativity Program go to Account > Creator Tools > Creativity Program Beta

This new program will provide creators with a new dashboard and reportedly more information around how payouts are calculated. If you're consistently churning out high-quality content that's one minute or longer for TikTok, you may want to look into this option.

Just bear in mind that this program is still in the Beta stage and some if not all of these features may change in the future.

Join the YouTube Partner Program

Screenshot from the YouTube Help center article about the YouTube Partner Program. The image includes an illustration of two people climbing a mountain with YouTube and YouTube Shorts icons in the background. Underneath this header image is the following text: "The YouTube Partner Program (YPP) gives creators greater access to YouTube resources and monetization features, and access to our Creator Support teams. It also allows revenue sharing from ads being served on your content."
image courtesy of YouTube Help

The YouTube Partner Program is a more traditional revenue sharing program as creators make a percentage from the ads displayed on their videos. The more views you get, the more ads are displayed and the more money you can earn.

There are two ways to qualify for the YouTube Partner Program: 1) as a long-form video creator or 2) as a YouTube Shorts creator.

Long-form creators must have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 valid public watch hours in the past 12 months.

Shorts creators must have 1,000 subscribers and 10 million valid public Shorts views in the past 90 days.

In addition, YouTube Partners need to abide by some rules:

  1. Adhere to YouTube’s channel monetization policies, which dictates rules your content will have to follow to qualify for Google AdSense revenue
  2. Have no Community Guidelines strikes on your channel
  3. Use 2-step verification to secure your account
  4. Have an active and linked Google AdSense account
  5. Live in a country where the YouTube Partner Program is available

The ceiling is high for how much money you can make from YouTube. According to Yahoo Finance, the average YouTuber makes $0.18 per view. That works out to $18 per 1,000 views. And the average payout from YouTube in the US in 2022 was $1,154 per week.

Become a Twitch Affiliate or Partner

image from Streamsentials

There are two tiers available for making money on Twitch — Affiliate and Partner. Both are revenue sharing programs that allow streamers to earn money from ads displayed during their live streams, among other revenue options.

To qualify as a Twitch Affiliate, you must have:

  • At least 500 total minutes broadcast in the last 30 days
  • At least 7 unique broadcast days in the last 30 days
  • An average of 3 concurrent viewers or more over the last 30 days
  • At least 50 Followers

And to qualify as a Twitch Partner, you must have in a 30-day period:

  • Stream for 25 hours
  • Stream on 12 different days
  • Average 75 viewers

However entry to the Affiliate or Partner program still isn’t guaranteed, even if you meet the above criteria. Affiliates will be automatically notified if they become eligible. To become a Partner, you must apply and have that application manually reviewed. Twitch looks for streamers who will be a good representation of the company’s values.

Both programs allow streamers to earn revenue from subscriptions, ad views, and Bits — which are like tips for streamers on Twitch.

Screenshot from the Twitch Help Center denoting the different monetization tools available to Twitch creators based on their account type. The table has three rows: 1) Cheering with Bits, available to Twitch Affiliates and Twitch Partners (with custom cheermotes); 2) Subscriptions, available to Twitch Affiliates with up to 5 unlockable sub emotes and Twitch Partners with up to 60 unlockable sub emotes; and 3) Ads, available to Twitch Affiliates and Twitch Partners.
Breakdown of the different monetization tools available to Twitch creators

For subscriptions, it’s a 50/50 split between the streamer and Twitch, with subscriptions costing $4.99, $9.99, or $24.99 per month. For ads, streamers get 55% of the revenue.

Earn money from live streams

We’ve taken a look at how to earn money from livestreaming on Twitch, but there are plenty of other social media platforms where you can earn money from going live, too. TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram all have monetary incentives for livestreams.

TikTok Diamonds

To go live on TikTok, you need to have at least 1,000 followers and be at least 16 years old, but you must be at least 18 to earn money. When you’re live, viewers can send Live Gifts, which appear as stickers and animations in the stream. If you receive enough gifts and attract enough viewers, TikTok rewards you with Diamonds.

Diamonds are worth 50% of the value of the coins used to send a gift and each Diamond is worth $0.05. Doing the math, if you receive diamonds equivalent to 5,000 coins spent, that’s $250 for you. You need to have earned at least $100 to make a withdrawal from Diamonds.

As an important note, Diamonds are not available to business accounts on TikTok. So even if you’re a brand, don’t switch over if you want to accrue Diamonds as a revenue source.

Instagram Badges

Instagram has a similar program to Diamonds, called Badges. They’re available to accounts for those who are 18 or older and live in the US, or live in another country and were invited to the program, and have at least 10,000 followers.

Instagram users receive 100% of the revenue from badges, although you must have a professional or creator account.

YouTube Live monetization

On YouTube, there are two ways to earn money from going live, though both require you to already be a YouTuber Partner.

First, you can trigger ads to play during a livestream, which will earn money similar to ads played on your static videos.

Second, you can turn on Super Chat and Super Stickers. These let viewers post highlighted messages and colorful animations in your livestream’s chat. Like TikTok Diamonds and Instagram Badges, it’s a way for viewers to tip a livestreamer and you’ll earn money with every purchase.

Promote a product

Whether you’re a brand or an individual creator, you may have something to sell. Promoting that product on your social media accounts is a great way to earn some income.

Products could include:

  • A physical product
  • A digital, downloadable product
  • Live online classes or webinars
  • Services like consulting or coaching

An example of the Ginger Cauldron, a hand-poured candle company, using Instagram Stories to promote their physical products:

Marketing campaigns on social media platforms will draw attention to your product or service and help find new customers. Promote your goods on your social media channels by making posts about your products or services and linking to them from your bio, or from within a post itself.

How to make money on social media as a creator

As a creator, your brand is yourself and your content. If you gain enough followers and reach, brands will want to work with you as an influencer or affiliate marketer. You can find your own revenue streams via merch, creating user-generated content, or subscriptions as well.

Partner with brands for sponsored content

When people think about making money on social media platforms, they think about influencers who create sponsored posts — AKA, influencer marketing.

Influencers are just that — influential. When they promote a product or brand, their audience listens. In fact, influencers are the top driver of purchases for Gen Z.

Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. While the biggest accounts on Instagram, for example, can command hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for a post, there are also micro-influencers with small but loyal followings.

Given the trend of deinfluencing, social media users have gotten pickier about what sort of content they like to see from influencers. That’s why it’s important to work with brands that fit your own content style and promote only products you genuinely use and enjoy and think your followers will love too.

The fees for sponsored content vary greatly and are based on your number of followers, engagement rates, and the type of content being created.

A sponsored post can look like a static Instagram post about a product, a TikTok video of you using a product, “a word from our sponsor” at the beginning or end of your YouTube video, or even a podcast segment that mentions a brand sponsor.

For example, look at this sponsored Instagram post by Mary Orton, lifestyle influencer and blogger:

She's partnered with Banana Republic and tags the post #BRFactoryPartner to disclose the working relationship.

Join an affiliate program

Affiliate marketers use their social media accounts to provide unique shopping links to their audiences. When someone makes a purchase via that link, they get a small percentage of that sale.

At a high volume, this can be a consistent and lucrative form of revenue from social media, and some people make whole careers as affiliate marketers. As with most careers, the more years of experience you have, the better your earnings.

According to recent survey data, after just 1-2 years, affiliate marketers are averaging around $4k per month. That number jumps significantly, up to nearly $11k at the 3-year mark. Perseverance is the name of the game.

To become an affiliate, sign up with a brand or affiliate network to get started. The Amazon Associates program is one of the most popular choices, but numerous other brands and networks offer affiliate links.

TikTok even has a built-in affiliate program that you can sign up for.

Sell merchandise

Loyal fans love to support creators in any way they can, and one of those ways is by buying merch.

You can simply add your branding to T-shirts or other apparel, or create a whole line of goods from scratch.

There are sites that make creating merch easy, such as:

Once you’ve decided what kind of merch you want to sell, all that’s left is to promote it. One great way to spread the word about your line of merchandise is by wearing or using it in your own videos. Make it easy for followers to purchase by telling them where to buy it in your posts and linking to your merch store in your social media profile using the link in bio feature.

Create UGC

Creating UGC, or user-generated content, is another form of marketing. Similar to influencer marketing, UGC is created in sponsorship with a brand. However, you’re creating it for the brand to post on its own social media channels, rather than your own.

Your strength as a UGC creator has nothing to do with your own audience or online influence, but relies instead on your ability to create authentic, compelling, and high quality content. This is an especially compelling revenue stream for anyone who wants to earn money from social media but doesn’t want to become a public persona online, like a standard influencer.

@_roxanemorin What do we think?🥹 #ugccreator #ugccommunity #ugchowtogetstarted #ugctips #ugcportfolio #ugccanada #ugccontent #ugcjourney #ugcjourneyupdate #ucgjobs #ugccontentcreator ♬ Cupid – Twin Ver. (FIFTY FIFTY) – Sped Up Version - sped up 8282

If you're not sure where to start, check out the UGC community on TikTok. It's full of creators who have plenty of tips and tricks for how to get started, how to charge what you're worth, how to pitch brands, build your portfolio, and more.

Create content for subscribers

Many platforms allow viewers to purchase subscriptions for access to exclusive content or features, including:

  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Twitch
  • YouTube
  • TikTok Live

When a viewer signs up for a paid subscription, you get a cut of the profits.

You can also use sites set up specifically for subscriber-only content, such as Patreon or Only Fans. Let your followers know where to find your exclusive content by promoting it on your regular channels and linking to it. You can use your link in bio or even add an Instagram Stories link.

How to make money on social media as a brand

As a brand, you probably have a social media account on every available platform. Using each social media account strategically can actually be a source of revenue. Let’s look at some options.

Sell your product directly

Gone are the days when your audience needs to go to your link-in-bio to shop for your products. Now, a social media platform can also be an e-commerce store with shopping features on apps like TikTok and Instagram.

On Instagram, for example, you can integrate your e-commerce site’s product catalog into the app. From there, you can tag products in your posts and Reels. By tapping a shoppable tag, viewers can buy that product directly within Instagram, without ever leaving the app.

an example of shoppable tags on a SuperGoop carousel post

Less friction between the decision to buy and the actual process of buying equals more sales.

On TikTok, there’s TikTok Shop. Similar to Instagram, this program places shoppable links on your profile page, allowing users to buy directly within TikTok. In the US, TikTok Shop is currently invite-only but is expected to roll out more widely for summer 2023.

Run ads on social media

All social media networks have options to place ads, whether it’s on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, or Twitch. They’re an excellent way to promote your brand, reach new audiences and shoppers, and even attract new followers.

The cost for ads on platforms vary by what type of ad it is. Simply promoting an Instagram or TikTok is relatively cheap, but running an unskippable 30-second ad on YouTube will be far more expensive.

Most social media platforms’ ad programs work by creating an ad and setting a daily spend. You’ll also have options for targeting your ad to particular demographics, or to users with particular interests.

Set up an affiliate program

This is the flip side of affiliate marketing — providing links for influencers and superfans to share. When someone shares your link on social media sites, you give them a small cut of the sale, but that’s still an extra sale for you.

To start your own affiliate programs, determine the rate you’ll provide for each sale. The average is between 10% and 40%.

Next, the easiest way to get going is to use an affiliate sales app, such as one from the Shopify app store, or join a network like Tapfiliate.

Influencers will be able to share those affiliate links and bring in new customers to your store.

Work with influencers

Lastly, find social media influencers to work with who can promote your brand with sponsored posts. This can range from nano-influencers with less than 10,000 followers to mega influencers with more than 1,000,000 followers.

You can reach out to influencers on your own and arrange contracts, or work with an influencer marketing agency and let them handle all the networking and fine print.

Turn your social media accounts into revenue

If you’re savvy, every social media post you make is an opportunity to make money. Every single social media platform is rife with opportunities to turn a profit, whether you have something to sell, or an influencer hoping to work with brands.

FAQ About Making Money on Social Media

1. Which social media is best for making money?

One social media platform with some of the highest potential for revenue is YouTube, but it takes a lot of work to create long-form videos with high views. The good news is that every platform has opportunities to make money.

2. How can I earn money from social media?

There are many ways to earn money from social media, including:

  1. Joining a revenue share program
  2. Selling a product or service
  3. Selling fan merchandise
  4. Joining an affiliate program
  5. Earning through live streams
  6. Creating UGC
  7. Creating subscriber content
  8. Running ads on social media
  9. Partnering with brands

3. How many followers do you need to make money on social media?

It varies by platform. For any of the various revenue share programs, you need a minimum number of followers. For example, on TikTok you need 10,000 followers, and on YouTube you need 1,000 subscribers. Accounts of any size can work independently with brands and there’s no follower or influence requirements for creating and selling user-generated content.

4. How much does TikTok pay?

The Creator Fund typically pays $0.02 to $0.04 per 1,000 views.

5. How much does Instagram pay for 1k followers?

Influencer payments vary greatly, but someone with 1,000 followers can expect about $10 for a post.

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