New Ways for Creators To Make A Living on Social Media

By Shannon Correia on 6 September 2023

Creators are known and loved for the content and personal brands they create. The creator economy can be a lucrative market, with Indeed reporting that influencers earn an average annual income of £32,000. Now, popular platforms are finding new ways to reward creators with direct payments too. Let’s take a closer look at how this works and what it means for creators. 

The Creator Economy

The creator economy has made it possible for creators on social media to monetise their work. According to a report by Forbes, an estimated 50 million people work in the content creator economy worldwide, with the industry valued at $100 billion. While essentially anyone can be a creator, it requires dedication and know-how to create quality content to be one by profession. For some, it has become a full-time profession, while others find ways to manage content creation alongside a regular job.

One of the most popular ways to earn income using your ability to influence and connect with others is through paid collaborations, affiliate marketing, and creating businesses inspired by your personal brand. Now, platforms reward creators with money for keeping communities engaged

This phenomenon isn’t new, as many platforms have offered features to pay creators, such as Facebook’s Bulletin and YouTube’s Super Chats. The funds form part of social media platforms’ campaigns to reignite interest in their features and ensure that creators and their communities remain on the platform instead of using others. Examples of this include the $100 million Shorts fund on YouTube and Snapchat’s $1m Spotlight payouts. 

The amount a creator can make online differs greatly from platform to platform and from one creator to the next. Now, social media giants Instagram and TikTok are expanding the ways creators can earn a living, with two recent developments. Interestingly, each platform has adopted two different models. Let’s take a closer look. 

Instagram Expands Its Subscriptions Feature

Instagram subscriptions allow creators to offer a subscription service on their account for a monthly fee. Subscribers will be privy to exclusive content and enhanced connections and engagements with their favourite creators. In this way, Instagram rewards creators for fostering their engagement on the app within their communities and allows them to earn a recurring monthly income directly from the app. Following its successful launch in the US last year, it is now being rolled out in other regions around the world as well. 

There are benefits to becoming a paid subscriber. These include accessing exclusive content (in the form of posts, stories, reels, and lives). There are also subscriber-only broadcast messages and social channels, as well as badges which are displayed in the comment sections and messages. 

By producing a variety of content, creators can grow their subscriber lists and their potential to generate revenue. The main goal of these networks is ultimately to foster connections, so creators will need to develop a strategy that caters to followers (who don’t pay a subscription fee) and (paid) subscribers.

Access to Instagram Subscriptions will be rolled out in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the UK soon, followed by a global roll-out thereafter. Popular content creators who have already established successful subscription channels include @deuxmoi, @jadennewman1, @thestilettomeup, @paulwesley, and @iansomerhalder.

Monetisation on TikTok

TikTok content creators can also earn cash on the platform. In fact, there is a widespread offer on TikTok paying users who share the app and invite more users. The Creator Fund in particular, however, was designed to reward creativity and effort with earning potential. Originally, this was introduced to new sign-ups as a way to reward dedicated and outstanding video content. It has now evolved into the Creativity Program Beta

TheCreativity Program Beta is open to users in the US, UK, Germany, Italy, France, or Sweden who are at least 18 years old. They need to have a minimum of 10K authentic followers and at least 100K video views generated in the last 30 days on content excluding Livestreams, Duets, and Stitches. These videos also need to feature original content and be in line with TikTok’s Community Guidelines and Terms of Service. 

The funds are calculated based on various factors including video views and engagement. Creators have a dashboard that shows their estimated funds approximately three days after the views were accumulated. There is a minimum withdrawal of $10, available 30 days later, which is then transferred using selected payment methods (like PayPal or Zelle). 

Making the Buck on Social Media

Creators have the opportunity to earn in more ways than ever before. The approaches Instagram and TikTok are taking vary, and it will be interesting to see which model is more effective and the level of influence it has on how the app is used in terms of both consuming content, and creating it!

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