Editor’s note: This article has been edited from its previous version to include more information
You’ve probably heard of individuals who have turned their social media platforms into businesses. You’ve also most probably looked at your account and thought “maybe that could be me”.
Content has become such an important part of building anything online. In today’s world, content creators have figured out how to create reach and influence — which are two things some companies struggle with.
With these two things, content creators have started creating income opportunities to attract the right brands and be used as influencers or marketers of a specific product or service.
Throughout my journey of building an online brand, trying and testing different mediums, how and why they work although there isn’t an exact blueprint, I have learned the following key guidelines to ensuring social platforms are monetised.
They worked for me – perhaps they can work for you, too.
Your bio is important
The attention span on social media is short, so having a clean and informative bio tells the person who has stumbled on your account what you’re all about. Your bio is almost like your first sales pitch, it’s essential that you have important information there, such as: your passion, what you do, any awards or accolades you believe are important and a link to your work, website, blog or an article which was written about you. Try to include line breaks, commas or spaces so that your bio is readable and visually attractive.
What’s your purpose?
Before you make money on social media, you have to identify why you do what you do. Your purpose will initially decide your position in the digital space, if you don’t know who you are and why you do what you do, it will be impossible for people to identify your offering and pay you for it.
Purpose has to do a lot with identifying what industry you want to be in and what type of content or work you wish to build in that space. Finding purpose can be achieved through these questions:
- What problem do I want to solve?
- How do I want to solve it? Is it by showing people how to dress well; sharing insight and information; or by promoting a product?
- What do people want to see, experience and know? This question can be aided by doing research on your audience or the audience you want to target.
- How will I communicate my purpose? Will you use a specific medium, blog, social platform or space?
- How will your purpose influence and change the people that will come into contact with it?
These questions will really help you outline your purpose and online brand accordingly, when people can identity what you offer and why, it’s easy for them to see the synergy between your brand and theirs.
Position yourself effectively
Positioning yourself is key – you’ll have to decide what you want your social accounts to communicate. Identify what you truly love and create content out of that — e.g. if your passion is food, do some research on the industry, who are the individuals and brands that influence it, how they’re doing it and how you want to be different from them.
Every industry has competition, so being different and building a niche audience is essential to your brand’s growth and success. We could all be in the same industry but offer unique content and work.
One of my hacks to finding a good brand positioning is to identify what you aren’t doing, how to make it fit into what you love, what your values are and how you want people to perceive of brand. The next step is to go on and create that positioning: when you do what others aren’t, you build a niche audience and that becomes a special offering to brands who may want to work with you.
Perception plays an important role in the digital space we’re in. Plato, an Athenian philosopher, devoted his life to one goal: helping people reach a state of which he called ‘fulfilment’. He found that beautiful objects have a special significance or function for humans – they speak to our souls.
When we find something beautiful, our subconscious senses certain qualities that we would want or need, but that are missing within our lives.
Attractiveness and beauty on social media are created through good content: well-taken images, well-written captions and a clear and concise message. To achieve attractiveness, be mindful of the quality of content you put out: use a good camera or a professional photographer for your images.
Depending on the type of brand you’re going for, keep your captions clean and avoid vulgar or misleading content. Discover a theme and mood you want to set for yourself and follow that through. If it’s on a platform like Twitter, your mood and theme can be communicated through your tone and character.
Consistency ensures people online are always reminded that you exist, that you’re passionate about what you do so much that you want them to know all the time. Being consistent on social platforms grows engagement – and brands mine deep to work with people that have high engagement.
One way to master consistency is to understand all the social media insights and data our social platforms give us. By doing this we get to understand who follows us, what they like, their age group, interests and when they are most active.
Social media platforms have algorithms. Algorithms decide which content is seen by a percentage of your audience – to ensure that your content is always engaged with and seen by a large number of your followers, you’ll have to practise a consistent routine of posts.
Consistency will not only require you to regularly post but it will also require you to regularly respond to the people who engage you.
Learn to be selective
Filter the brands or people you want to work with. Follow them, learn from them and try to understand what they’re doing and how you can improve it. Monetising social platforms comes down to one thing: adding value, whether it’s for your audience through your content or for a brand through a partnership or promotion.
You need to be able to find problems and create solutions — you can only do this by learning, filtering the type of content you want to see and understanding the companies or brands you want to work with. I highly believe we are the content we consume, so I stay sharp and relevant because of the content I expose myself to.
Filtering who and what you engage with enhances your eye for great content, keeps you inspired and aids your creative process.
Then market the pitch
Once you’ve been able to package your brand, content and offering, it’s now time to pitch your ideas and concepts to the people and brands you want to work with. Put together a short document that speaks on who you are, what you do and have some examples of your content, insight, data and reach.
Include your idea at a very holistic approach and the value you can bring to that partnership. The most import things to have in your pitch document are:
- The idea
- What value it will bring the brand
- How this connects to them and to their audience on a much deeper and meaningful level.
These are just the basics in what it takes to create, package and sell your brand. Good luck!