Creators make most of their money through sponsored content, which comes from brand deals. Brands will pay influencers big money to talk highly about their products or services because this is a way for companies to reach new audiences in a more genuine way.
While brand deals are important, they aren’t the only way to make money online as an influencer and creator. Even if you are making a pretty penny through brand deals, it is also smart to diversify your streams of income.
With little extra effort, you can earn passive income through affiliate links that live in your LinkTree or subscriptions that pay you for content you’re already creating. Plus, if you lose a brand deal, diverse income streams will support you through financial changes.
Whether you’re a micro-influencer or have 1 million followers, we’ll walk you through the various ways to make money.
1. Brand Deals
Brand deals are still the best way to make money as an influencer, no matter how many followers you have. Social media creators offer an engaged community and more authentic marketing opportunities for brands, which is why companies are so eager to pay for content creation.
One way to secure brand deals is by joining a creator community, like TikTok’s Creator Community. The Creator Community allows brands to find influencers to partner with, so brands looking for specific audiences—like yours—can more easily connect directly with creators.
Another way to grab a brand’s attention is to tag them in organic content, which is also a way to form partnerships with companies you already know and love. Any time you’re using your favorite moisturizer or sipping your go-to wine, tag the brand and share a photo or video with your followers.
If you have a media kit (and you should!), you can also send this out to brands via email. This will directly show a brand more about your audience and metrics, and they can contact you about a partnership if you have what they are looking for.
Maybe you’re earning a decent living from the content you post on Instagram, but with the rise of TikTok, you want to monetize your videos there, too. Or perhaps people love to watch Reels of you painting, and you want your audience to be able to buy prints of your art. LinkTree is a way for creators to connect their audience to multiple aspects of their business.
Instead of being limited to just one “link in bio”, creators can use LinkTree to direct audiences to their blog, an Etsy store, their YouTube channel, their affiliate platforms, and more.
3. Affiliate Platforms
Affiliate links have long been associated with blogs, but you can also use affiliate programs on social media to earn some extra money. Affiliates are a more passive way to earn money on products you buy and love.
With just about everyone shopping through Amazon these days, Amazon’s Influencer Program is a smart choice for creators. You can build your own storefront and add your go-to Amazon purchases, from summer dresses to smart home tech. Then, you can share your link in Instagram stories or your social media bios, and every time a viewer makes a purchase following your link, you can earn a percentage of the sale.
Similar programs, like third-party app LikeToKnowIt, allow you to curate your purchases or must-haves, recommend them to your audience, and make a percentage of each sale.
Some brands may have their own affiliate programs, and you can sign up via brand websites or reach out to brands via email or direct message for more information.
In addition to brand deals, creating your own products to sell to your audience is another income opportunity that allows you to create a deeper connection with your community. Beauty influencers might create a brand of lipsticks, while food bloggers can design a line of aprons and kitchen linens. Even designing shirts and hoodies with a catchphrase you have or an inside joke you share with your audience can offer another stream of income for influencers.
The best advertising feels authentic, and brands can achieve this with UGC, or user-generated content. You can offer up UGC to brands for a fee, which is a great way for micro-influencers to start earning income from social media. For example, you could film a GRWM (get ready with me) video that highlights a specific brand of makeup or clothing. Message the brand with your content, and offer to sell it to them to use as UGC.
6. Subscription Platforms
If you offer ongoing services to your audience, moving to a subscription platform can help you get paid for work you are already doing while also offering viewers some exclusive perks. Patreon is a popular subscription platform, where patrons pay creators a subscription fee (monthly or per post) to access fresh content each month. This is a great option for influencers who create recipes, podcast episodes, or video tutorials.
7. TikTok’s Creator Fund
Creators with explosive growth on TikTok can now cash in on the app’s Creator Fund for users with 100,000 or more authentic video views (over the 30 days prior to joining). The fund is to help users fund their creative video ideas and continue bringing audiences to the platform. The fund has been so successful that it started with $200 million in the U.S. and has since grown to over $1 billion in funds for creators over the next few years.
8. Twitter’s Ticketed Spaces, Super Follows, and Tip Jars
Influencers aren’t limited to visual platforms like Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok to earn income. Twitter also offers multiple ways to bring in more money for creators.
- Ticketed Spaces: This feature allows creators who host or speak at events to earn money from the sale of event tickets through Twitter.
- Super Follows: Similar to a subscription platform, Twitter users can offer exclusive content to followers who pay a monthly subscription fee.
- Tips: Followers can tip their favorite creators or users who share useful, inspiring, and/or important information on Twitter via the ‘Tips’ function.
9. Instagram and Facebook Reels Payments
Meta, the parent company for Instagram and Facebook, has invested over $1 billion for creators to earn money through their work. Reels Play is a program that financially rewards influencers for their Facebook and Instagram Reels.
Instagram is also testing a subscription option, where creators can set recurring fees for some of their content, with monthly payments ranging from $0.99 to $99 per subscriber.
With so many options to make money as an influencer, you can start earning no matter how many followers you have. Plus, once you’ve mastered subscriptions and affiliate programs, you could start seeing an uptick in those highly coveted brand deals. When the brand deals start coming in, turn to Lumanu for fast, easy, and professional invoicing.