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It’s far too often that I go to blogging events around town where people are spending all their time growing their social media following on Instagram but have no idea how to actually monetize it.

And it’s not just Instagram either. People are spending so much time posting, retweeting, following, commenting and pinning that they barely have any time left over to – I don’t know – make money.

Don’t get me wrong, I love social and I also work hard to grow my social media following over time. But, I also understand that thousands of followers don’t necessarily lead to money in the bank. In fact, you have to do a lot more than just increase your following.

Additionally, you may not even need that many followers to actually make money. People think it’s all about the number of followers when in reality it’s a lot more about what those followers are doing and how you’re moving them into a sales funnel.

Here are some tried and tested tips on how to turn your social media followers into business revenue.

Don’t fall for fads.

It’s very easy in the world of social media to fall for the next big trend. Unfortunately, they are usually a waste of time.

Remember Vine? It was popular for a while and now it’s gone.

Periscope is probably on the way out if it hasn’t vanished already.

And that beloved Snapchat? Yeah, they just posted a loss of $2 billion and Facebook is just one filter away from going in for the kill.

Again, don’t get me wrong. I fell for Periscope and I loved it. Out of all the social media trends out there, Periscope had the best ROI for me.

I still have people from my Periscope days who are a part of my social media following my and purchase courses or affiliate products. But I stopped wasting my time when Facebook came out with their own version of live video.

The same goes for Snapchat. I gave it a spin and hated it so I never spent too much time on there. And then, when Instagram came out with their IG Stories I knew it was over for Snapchat.

Should you try your hand at different things? Sure. Just don’t expect social media trends to be around for long. Milk them for what they are worth and move on.

Drive your social media following back to your website.

Here is a major pet peeve of mine in the digital marketing world. I often times meet bloggers, business owners and others who are self-employed who are only using social media.

In other words, they don’t have a website and they most certainly don’t have an email list. They just assume their social media following on some platform they don’t actually own will be enough.

Well, it’s not.

First, the money is in the email list. Most of my affiliate sales have come as a direct result of emailing my list about a promotion, not because I posted something on social media. The same is true of my digital course sales and membership site sales.

Why is this the case? Because if they are on your email list chances are they’ve been there for some time and you’ve nurtured them through enough content for them to actually trust you.

Second, social media can be here one day and gone the next. And that includes your social media following.

Third, even if the entire social media site doesn’t shut down, they still make the rules.

Just look at Facebook pages. You practically have to pay money for your social media following to actually see what you post because they are always messing with the algorithm.

The moral of the story here is to always direct your social media following back to your own website where they can really devour some content and opt-in to your email list.

Speaking of opt-ins…

Have several kinds of free opt-ins to share.

An opt-in is some sort of freebie people receive when they subscribe to your email list. Usually, these freebies are based on what is is you help your audience with.

For example, I recently had someone on Twitter ask me for tips on improving their blog and getting more eyeballs on it. I sent them a link to a free worksheet I have that explains how to write a media pitch.

Boom! They are now added to my email list and an automated sales funnel I have going.

As a side note, this is also a great way to divert people who want free stuff, value your time and eventually turn these people into paying customers.

Now, back to actually using social media.

Use social media to build trust.

The main thing to remember about growing your social media following is that you aren’t using social media to make money, but rather to build trust.

Remember, your website and your email list are to make money because that’s where people actually buy.

In order to get people to your website and email list as we’ve already mentioned, you need to build trust with them.

For example, use Facebook Live to have free trainings where you teach your social media following something. This helps them trust you. Then, at the end of the broadcast have a call to action that directs them to a free opt-in like the one previously mentioned.

Other ways to build trust include sharing high quality content from your own site, sharing the content of other people (because it’s not all about you), sharing news in your industry add actually engaging with the people who ask you questions.

Simply put, people buy from people they trust so use social media to create that relationship with potential customers and clients.

Final Thoughts

Turning your social media following into business revenue is just one piece of the overall puzzle. It’s also a long game, but by using the tips outlined in this post you’ll shorten your learning curve.

Amanda Abella is a full-time writer who specializes in online business and finance. She's also an online business coach and the Amazon best-selling author of Make Money Your Honey.

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