Passionate social media users can make a few extra bucks a month just by doing what they do naturally. With Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) doing a nationwide IPO Roadshow, investors and users alike are looking for a way to cash in on the new digital landscape.
Social sharing sites and microblogs are quickly taking over. From Twitter to Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) to new kid on the block, Pinterest, sharing is becoming the status quo of most online users.
However, you don't need Ashton Kutcher's over two million followers to make a little extra money. Users who share the most in this new landscape will reap many rewards. All that's required is passion for something, a small following and a penchant for telling your friends about it.
What's attractive about using social media sites is that the number of revenue streams opens up significantly. While websites and blogs in the past could only do banner ads and some affiliate marketing, all of their revenue had to come from a website or websites which take a lot of maintenance. Now, you can go well beyond that. Use whatever tools you post to regularly. If you want to add more revenue streams, it's as simple as signing up to a new service. Social media sharing is also easier than maintaining a website or blog if you aren't a writer, and more natural, too.
Before you get started, let's go over some of the ways you can make extra cash online.
This is the tried-and-true approach to making money online. If you have a website, getting started is fairly simple. Because online ads have been around for a relatively long time in Internet years, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) AdSense has it down to a science. It's easy to match up keywords to your own website's SEO so that your users are only seeing relevant ads. You can also run tests to see which ad keywords are performing best or update keywords to go with the hot topic of the day.
Gone are the days when you had to put up ads from random sponsors with headache inducing images. However, you may need a bigger following for this to work as advertising programs now require more clicks before you get paid. One little known trick is to select both text and image ads on the Adsense interface so that more ad contributors bid on your ad space. As a result, your pay per click will likely be higher than if you select text or image ads alone.
Less proactive but ironically more direct is affiliate marketing. The basic gist is that you get a cut from what your users buy at the affiliate's store. It's like your working on commission without all the hassle of wrangling customers in the storefront.
One of the most well known affiliate marketing schemes is AmazonAssociates. Through this program, you can set up a virtual store front on your website for users to peruse, or link directly to products through pages or blog posts. You can even make money from tweets and Facebook shares of products. Other affiliate marketing programs involve getting paid for email sign ups, clicks, surveys, etc. Choose a program that works best for you and your users.
The advantage of affiliate programs over advertising are two-fold: first, advertisers like it because they only have to pay for actual conversions (buys, clicks, sign ups) rather than just for the privilege of being on your website; second, website owners can more easily customize the products they promote to their niche increasing their sales.
What if you don't have a website but a Tumblr or a popular Twitter account? Seeking out sponsorships will be your best bet. It can also be a good addition to the more traditional online revenue streams.
The attraction of sponsorship is that you don't need an enormous following to get immediate results. Striking a deal with a good brand you already use can get you $1 to $5 per post. Your followers will already trust your opinion so it's a good deal for advertisers, too.
And the possibilities are only limited to the social media tools you use: reviewing a product or even showing how it works on YouTube; sharing photos of a product in use on Twitter or Pinterest; writing a blog post about a new product version, etc. Getting more creative with your promotion will increase sales and build trust with both the advertiser and your users.
Lastly, why not buy stock in the companies that offer the services and tools you use so much? LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), Zynga, Instagram and Yelp (NYSE:YELP) are just a few of the companies that are making headway in the new digital landscape.
A company like, Izea (OTC:IZEA), seemingly does it all. As a niche marketing firm that does more than just advertising, Izea offers a large menu of services for brands and social media influencers alike - including everything I mentioned above!
If you're serious about online marketing or if you're just a hobbyist, the online world has opened up so many more opportunities for you to make your passions profitable.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.