Monetizing social media. It’s something every business strives to do but are unsure how. Instead of taking the steps to figure out this tricky space, many businesses continue to push the issue under the rug until they reach an epiphany or a magic following number. While this is something I’m still learning myself, here are five pointers I’ve picked up on monetizing social media accounts:
Work with your sales team. Don’t feel you need to go about this alone, I certainly haven’t. I work closely with my sales director to put together proposals while he uses his connections to put the these proposals in front of the right sponsors. After that, he sets up a time to speak on the phone where he, the interested sponsor and myself explain how we both can benefit from this potential deal. Typically, I drive that phone conversation while the sales director talks about the pricing options.
Don’t give yourself a “magic number” of followers you must reach before you consider monetization. The number I hear a lot is 10,000 total combined followers before you can monetize your social media sites, but that’s a bunch of BS. Why not at 9,500? 9,000? 5,000? 500? Obviously the greater the number the more you can get, but don’t limit yourself based on an arbitrary number. If you can at least muster a trade out after you’ve developed a few hudred followers then go for it!
Perhaps if you’re just opening up accounts, part of your sales pitch can be to get in at the ground floor to “grow” online together. Just a thought.
Use analytics. This is extremely important if you ever want to sell your online space. Just like if you were selling TV ads, a magazine ad or anything on your website, a potential sponsor wants all of the data so they can make a judgement if it’s worth it on their end. Facebook analytics are really good and do a lot of the heavy lifting, but Twitter is still light years behind where they need to be. So if you need to manually track certain likes, comments, retweets, re-posts (etc.), then do it! You need to sell your numbers and interactions just like you use hits to sell ad space on your website!
Throw spaghetti on the wall and see if it sticks. Not everything is going to be a home run, but you have to at least give it a shot. As you know, sales is hard and selling social media accounts is even more difficult simply because we’re all still trying to figure it out. The fun part about this is it allows you to get creative with different sales methods. Perhaps it’s a sponsored caption contest, giveaway or discount promotion, there are limitless options on this space. If one sales method doesn’t seem to catch on, that’s ok! Take note of what doesn’t work and either tweak it or try something else!
Make sure you talk to your sponsor about their needs more than your own! Remember, you’re not selling an ad on a website where you dump a logo in a template and you’re done. Social media is interactive from you, your sponsor, their followers and all of the way back to your followers…so take advantage of that and sell it! Mention as part of your sales pitch that partnering with your business is not only beneficial from a sales perspective, but it also will increase the fan base of their social media accounts. It’s mutually beneficial! Everyone wins!
How do you monetize your sites? If you haven’t yet, what steps will you soon take to do so? Let me know!