Who would have ever thought that you could get a direct ROI from social media? But hey, if there wasn’t potential…companies such as Facebook wouldn’t be worth 200 billion dollars.
So, what’s the key to making a lot of money from these social media sites? Well, over the last year, I’ve figured it out.
The trick I’ve learned is that you have to find popular social profiles that aren’t monetizing but are willing to promote your products and services for a quick buck. I know that sounds simple, but there is actually a bit more to it.
Let’s see how a few companies, including mine, are making money using this model and how you can do the same.
Uwheels case study
One of my friends, Dan Fleyshman, co-founded a company called Uwheels. You may have seen it on Instagram:
Can you guess how much revenue they’ve generated by having popular Instagram models and celebrities post about their product?
If you guessed a few hundred thousand, you’re wrong. They’ve actually generated over a million dollars.
That’s no too shabby, considering that the company spent only $61,200. “How?” you may be wondering.
Here is how.
Dan’s girlfriend, Jessica Killings, was able to recruit a lot of famous rappers, singers, athletes, and Instagram models to promote the product. She worked out deals where they either received the Uwheels product in exchange for posting something about the product or they were paid money in exchange for posting about Uwheels.
In addition to that, she did a few other key things to make the campaign work:
- She got multiple accounts to post about Uwheels right when the product first came out. In essence, she created a “blitz” with everyone talking about the product at the same time.
- She knew the space was competitive as it wasn’t the only product of its kind, so she focused on the messaging to separate Uwheels from the crowd. The message she had everyone use was, “Got my @Uwheels with the alarm and the bluetooth speaker system. @Uwheels.” You can see an example of this post in the image below.
- She made sure people kept posting about Uwheels in the coming months after the launch of the product to help ensure that it continues to do well and stays at the top of people’s minds.
- In addition to Instagram, she leveraged Facebook pages of popular models, who were also her friends, and paid them a few cents for every click they drove to the Uwheels product, which is much cheaper than paying for ads. This worked extremely well as many of her friends have over a million Facebook fans with high engagement, and they aren’t currently monetizing their Facebook pages.
Uwheels is not the only company making money using social media. Here’s how I replicated Jessica’s success using Jessica’s contacts…
How I generated $332,640 in 3 months from Instagram
I have a few landing pages that look like this on my personal site:
Here are the stats for the landing page I use just for Instagram traffic:
As you can see from the screenshot above, I generated 2,570 email opt-ins from Instagram.
Once people opt in, they receive an email about a webinar they need to watch if they want to convert more visitors into paying customers.
The webinar is 2.5 hours long and isn’t relevant to most of the people who see it, but it is still relevant to some business owners who are using Instagram. Within the webinar, people are pitched on a training package that costs $5,940 a year, but it is charged to them at a monthly rate of $495.
As you can see from the screenshot above, I’ve generated 56 sales in less than 3 months. I’ve spent $75,000 on Instagram ads that typically stayed up for 3 hours.
I had Jessica help me with the campaign. She recruited people with large followings and paid them money to post about me and keep the posts up for 3 hours. After 3 hours, the posts got deleted.
I don’t mind the posts getting deleted as Instagram images usually get the most engagement within the first 2 hours and cost a lot less than the ads that stay up forever.
Typical posts that these power users would put up on their accounts would be images of me, like the one below, with the caption: “If you want to learn how to skyrocket your business, you have to follow my friend Neil Patel. He’s the smartest entrepreneur and marketer I know. Click on my bio link to learn more.”
Sure, 56 signups from 2,570 emails doesn’t seem like a lot, and it isn’t. It’s only a bit more than 2%, but when you consider that the audience isn’t 100% targeted and I’m spending significantly less than what I am generating, it’s pretty good.
I’ve also tested more professional messaging that included mentions of my awards from Entrepreneur Magazine and Forbes, but it didn’t convert as well as the other ad because it didn’t feel as “organic.”
And when you consider that I’ve only been doing this for just under 3 months, it’s pretty good. I could have sold even more, but I had to suspend my advertising campaign for 3 weeks because my team couldn’t scale the fulfillment side fast enough.
The beautiful part about this model is that it works with a lot of sites.
How Firstslice scaled with this model
Over the last 30 days, Firstslice has been able to generate over 3 million visits and 20 million pageviews—all from Facebook traffic.
They used a similar model to what Uwheels and I used. Jessica helped them leverage popular Facebook profiles that have over a million organic fans and high engagement. She convinced people to post updates about Firstslice on a pay-per-click model, which is significantly cheaper than utilizing Facebook’s ad network.
From there, Firstslice ran an arbitrage play: they are getting paid more money from the ad networks to run ads on their site than what they are paying per visitor. The model has worked so well that they have generated over 150 million pageviews in less than 1 year.
How can you replicate this model?
Fair warning: it’s not as easy as it may seem. You need a good product, service, or viral content for this model to work. In addition, you have to optimize your page for conversions.
For example, the webinar on the NeilPatel.com homepage is well optimized for conversions, and if you take the time to watch the whole webinar, you’ll see why.
And Firstslice is optimized for maximum ad revenue.
Plus, you have to give it time and effort. You can’t just pay someone like Jessica and expect amazing results. You have to:
- Be patient – you typically won’t get great results within the first 30 days. But once you tweak and test, the results will get better.
- Be willing to test – from Instagram copy updates to testing which posts and pages perform the best on Facebook, it is all about testing. From headlines to images, certain captions will perform better than others. Without testing, you won’t get great results.
- Be okay with small errors – Jessica and the people she has access to aren’t entrepreneurs or marketers. They don’t deal with people like you and me. They don’t always move as fast as we do or communicate as well, and sometimes they may make small errors that you wouldn’t make. But because the cost is so low versus the results, it is worth it.
- Be analytical – if you aren’t measuring every little thing, you can lose your money. You have to watch your ad dollars like a hawk and continually tweak your landing pages.
- Be ready – don’t just dive into a campaign because you see people like me making money. I’ve spent months fine-tuning sales funnels and getting video sales letters ready.
There is a huge opportunity right now in the social media landscape to make money. You just have to think outside the box.
When you think about leveraging social profiles, you usually think about spending money on Facebook or Twitter ads. Although there isn’t anything wrong with that, you are better off taking creative approaches, similar to how I found someone who can get me access to popular social profiles.
The model works so well that I’ve been scaling it out, and I now have 3 full-time people who continually build relationships with social media power users who have thousands, if not millions, of followers with high engagement.
So, what do you think of the model?