Social Media: The Web’s Next Cash Cow?
The popularity of social media websites has exploded in recent years, beginning with the MySpace phenomenon, followed by the immensely popular Facebook and Twitter sites. Part of their appeal is that they enable you to connect quickly with people virtually anywhere, receive updates, photos and more – all through a user-friendly interface. While teens use these free sites to chat with friends, and families to stay in touch with relatives – web-savvy entrepreneurs are also using them to generate revenue. You can be one of them.
Real Results From Social Media
In some ways, social media is the ultimate sales channel: minimal to no cost, with many opportunities to turn a profit. These sites also get results. This is why major franchises including Walmart, Best Buy and Starbucks are capitalizing on social media to increase their sales and branding efforts. And they aren’t alone:
- Burger King spent $50,000 on a Facebook campaign that yielded $400,000 worth of impressions*
- Dell used Twitter to sell $3,000,000 worth of computers*
- 71% of companies plan to boost their social media spending by about 40%*
Social media sites also give startup businesses the chance to share advertising space with corporate giants. Advertising alongside those same companies in a “traditional” medium such as network television would be well beyond the means of most smaller enterprises.
Using Social Media to Make Money
Like most people, you’ve probably been online looking up a particular topic and noticed a message like “Buy books about (your search topic) on Amazon.com” somewhere on the page. Every time you view or click on that link, or go as far as buying one of those books, the site’s owner gets a commission from Amazon.com. This is a very common method of monetization – using a website to make money.
Social media sites are a natural choice for monetization, due to their high visibility and constant traffic. Many make generating revenue virtually effortless by allowing you to add widgets, polls and other interactive tools. These tools entice, entertain and inform, while providing links to paying sponsors. Sites that allow sharing of content such as videos also build advertising into their sharing tools. In addition to Twitter and Facebook, other types of high-traffic social sites and web content present good opportunities for monetization:
- Blogs (text and video) such as TMZ or Gizmodo
- Web video sites such as YouTube and Hulu
- Podcasts (audio and video), like those available at iTunes
- Webinars, offered by many companies
- E-books, available from sites such as eBooks
While monetizing a site often requires little financial investment, it does require time, effort and patience. Keep in mind that some tactics and tools work well quickly, while others may bring few results. Constant experimentation is key.
Go to the Social Media Experts for Guidance
The University of San Francisco, named by U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Colleges,” offers expert-based social media education 100% online. The Advanced Social Media program offers you proven ways to create lucrative revenue streams through social media sites, covering topics including:
- Content creation
- Legal and ethical considerations
The university provides this innovative program, along with other Internet marketing courses and multicourse certificate programs, through web-based learning that enables you to:
- View, stop and rewind course lectures via streaming video or CD-ROM anytime, anywhere
- Stay connected with teachers and classmates through message boards, email and live chat; the programs are their own social media networks!
- Enjoy a flexible schedule with no required logins
- Complete coursework in eight weeks or less
Learn the secrets of social media success 100% online from the pros at the University of San Francisco. Join our community of interactive marketing experts now for news and information.
*All statistics taken from Socialnomics.net, “Social Media ROI Examples & Video,” November 12, 2009