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Wednesday , 10 August 2022

How to make money with social media

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Big and small companies have been integrating online with traditional marketing to reach a wider audience. The promotion of products has been rolled out in a number of online platforms to reinforce brands, and among these platforms is social media.

This MANAGING YOUR MONEY series is sponsored by Western Union

Although intended to connect people from across the globe, the social media we know and love have evolved into a platform for business on which people can make money, whether as a company or as an individual. Even community organisations have taken advantage of social media to raise funds.

Individuals and companies have capitalised on Internet marketing to reach more audiences at a wider scale but at a more cost-effective manner. Social media, as a special category of Internet or digital marketing, has helped these entrepreneurs build their brands and engage their audiences. Online polls and feedback mechanisms (free postings) have enabled them to talk to their audiences directly and provide valuable input to enhance their brands.

With the tools made available in social media sites, these have become potential and legitimate sources of income. But just like actual moneymaking schemes available on the real world, making money online through social media requires skills and knowhow.

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Freelancers and home-based entrepreneurs are among those who have taken advantage of social media sites to promote and sell products and services online. Why not? Tools for promotion in social media sites are almost always free (at least the basics), the reach is wider and the potential to network with prospective clients and contractors offers a lot of promise.

With companies expanding their reach with online marketing, they require specialised services to complement their online branding tactics. Here are some examples:

  1. Writing services
    There is a steady demand for writers on the Internet for articles or creative copy for company websites, blogs, and social media sites (like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc). The requirement for written output also covers sales copy, newsletters, eBooks, product reviews, etc. If you have knowledge on search engine optimisation, that’s a definite plus!
  2. Editing services
    For an impeccable copy, editors are hired to clean written work to ensure that these are free of grammatical errors and conform to styles prescribed by content owners, giving the copy a professional look. Sometimes, this is a corollary service given by writers, but can be a stand-alone service. Editing services can be offered for nationalities whose written output need to be in a language foreign to them.
  3. Graphic design
    Social media sites provide a great tool to build a portfolio to showcase materials designed by graphic artists for print and online output. Like writers, graphic design services are in demand for overall branding, for which graphic designers are hired for identity-building, meaning a range of designs defining the look for brands for a number of media. The potential to be hired for a suit of designs including logos, icons and brand signatures, as well as for designs for specific print and online media is immense.
  4. Digital music compositions
    Musically inclined and gifted people can now also sell music online. Clips of music produced can be showcased in social media sites and allow potential clients to listen to original compositions. Composers can be hired to render a soundtrack for videos, commercials, TV shows, and movies. Or, just sell your original compositions right off the bat!

Other services being marketed over social media sites include translation, video production and editing, online English tutoring, etc. These services can be completed even without a face-to-face meeting and transacted halfway across the globe. However, there are also other services marketed online but can have executions in the real world.

Not only special skills, products are also marketed in social media sites. Photo sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest, become display windows and cases for products, and these can range from art, fashion and lifestyle products and food.

  1. Hand-crafted products
    Furniture, accessories, bags, household decorations and other trinkets have been showcased and sold over social media sites. Some people have a particular penchant for wares made by hands, in contrast to machine and mass-produced products. Special products for a particular market, a match can actually be made online.
  2. Hand-drawn designs
    Artists who do caricatures, portrait sketches, or paintings are still high in demand. Perhaps because these art forms are special and cannot be replicated exactly as in those made digitally, there will always be a market for this art.
  3. Clothing line
    It is not unthinkable to have an online fashion house catering to fashionistas who are out for the next runway look by looking fab and designer without the exorbitant price tag. Displaying their wares online may not only be a gateway to potential customers, but also to lifestyle labels who may be looking for a fresh look from up and coming designers. That sounds like fame and fortune!
  4. Specialised food
    Many home bakers have made a killing selling cakes of all sorts by just having a display online. Another food specialty that’s raking it is nutritious low-calorie hot meals delivered to your doorstep. These special food segments cater both product and consultancy services (e.g., cake designs for special occasions, meal plans, etc) and can be effectively promoted over social media sites.

Tools of the trade

If you intend to make money with social media sites, you should have the proper tools to be able to engage in business. Some of these are absolutely necessary, while others are optional.

  1. Efficient Internet access
    It is obvious! No Internet, no FB, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube! Contract an Internet provider that provides cost-effective and high-bandwidth access, and superb after-sales service. Running a business on social media requires 24/7 access. Engaging your customer means being prompt; building your brand, being consistent. Both need presence.
  2. Online payment service
    Your clients can be as near as your next-door neighbour and as far as someone at the other side of the globe. You have to make payments easy and cost-effective. Most clients who contract services or buy products online prefer a safe and secure means to transact payment. Signing up with Paypal (www.paypal.com) and Payoneer (www.payoneer.com) are free for basic transactions.
  3. File transfer service
    For those who transmit huge files to clients (e.g., voluminous documents, high-resolution graphic designs), it is necessary to contract a file storage and transfer service. Regular email services just won’t do. Some of the more known services are Dropbox (www.dropbox.com), WeTransfer (www.wetransfer.com) and Hightail (www.hightail.com). Avail of premium services if you are sending files beyond 50MB. Another option is to have your own server.
  4. High-megapixel camera
    A lot of the available smart phones in the market already have built-in cameras that can take high-resolution photos. For those who sell products online, always have great pictures to accompany product descriptions. Delight your audiences with sharp images. Do not post blurred or pixilated photos.

You can connect with family and friends and meet new friends with social media. Of late, it has opened the lines for business as well. Nowadays, you can have a business ran purely online complemented by social media sites and make a profit without or with minimal overhead. And the choices to expand your market are boundless.

You can have a business profile and online portfolio at FB, supplemented by a blog, a Twitter and Instagram post, and even a YouTube video. Figure out the right combination for you, using some or all of the channels available. You don’t have to be a tech genius to hack it. But the winners in this game are those who have the discipline, determination and the passion to make it big!

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