How to Start a Business on Social Media and Earn a Full-Time Salary with Just Your Phone

Brand Strategy & Identity
Team Slam
Helping you win online

Over 5 billion people are active on social media, and nearly half of these users have purchased an item recommended by a creator.

Because of this, thousands of creators have learned how to start a business on social media, earning a full-time salary from their phone.

This means that if you’re looking to start earning on your own terms, starting a business on social media stands out as an attractive solution.

In this article, we’ll break down exactly how you can do this in 9 simple steps:

  1. Defining Your Target Niche & Audience
  2. Identifying Your Social Media Monetization Strategy
  3. Selecting the Essential Apps for Your Business 
  4. Developing a Memorable Brand Strategy & Identity
  5. Building an Engaging Social Media Profile
  6. Establishing and Optimizing Your Content Strategy
  7. Building a Website for your Social Media Business
  8. Fostering an Engaged Community
  9. Scaling Your Social Media Business

Why trust our word? At Slam Media Lab, we know a thing or two about how to win on social media. As an agency in San Francisco that has reached $2M revenue in 3 years, we’ve built our own company from 0 to 1 using smart marketing strategy, developing a strong brand identity, and mastering how to find clients in the world of the web. 

We’ve also worked with dozens of clients, such as Peer Health Exchange, to develop their brand identity and social media strategy, so they can crush the online game. You can learn more about our work by checking out our case studies!  

If you want to have a more comprehensive and step-by-step guide on how to start and scale your business, you can check out our “How to Start an Agency” course taught by our founder, Silvia Li Sam. You’ll get access to 10+ hours of videos, 20+ templates, and key insights developed from 100+ hours of research. 

Throughout this article, we’ll share everything we’ve learned about social media along the way, arming you with the knowledge to build a social media business that Slams. Now, let’s dive in!

Understanding the Benefits of Starting a Business on Social Media

Before we break down each of the steps to start a social media business, let’s determine whether this business model is right for you.

The primary reason creators are flocking to start a social media business is freedom. Freedom to work wherever, freedom to create whenever, and most importantly, freedom to earn without limitation.

For disciplined creators, the ability to earn income that’s not tied to a salary is especially tempting, providing a clear path to an unrestricted lifestyle. However, it’ll require constant learning and commitment, so it’s important to understand this is not an overnight project.

To simplify this process, we’ve made a Notion Task List Template so you can keep your thoughts and tasks organized as you follow along with the article.

Organize and optimize social media business processes with the Notion Task List Template

If you’re ready to take the leap, let’s begin by laying the foundation for your social media business.

Defining Your Target Audience for Your Social Media Business

Before building an audience and cashing checks, you’ll need to identify who you’re targeting. 

By doing this, you’ll develop an understanding of your audience’s unique challenges and goals, allowing you to create content and craft offers that resonate with them.

For example, at Slam, we specialize in brand identity for nonprofits, working with clients like Prepared to Teach and Fresh Approach.

To determine which niche is best for your social media business, you should be considering three factors: experience, interest, and network

By identifying the intersection between these components, you’ll be well-equipped to establish authority in your industry, which is crucial when monetizing your profile. 

Building an audience in a community that you are already a part of will also save you time when it comes to planning and creating content, so it’s especially important to select a niche that you resonate with personally.

Identifying Your Target Audience’s Favorite Platform

Each audience tends to favor a different platform, so identifying this early on will make it significantly easier to reach them in later steps.

Each industry has different performance levels on each social media platform, so be sure to do your research before rushing to create your account. 

Take some time to consider which platform best suits your audience, and take a look at where the most popular creators in your industry are found to ensure the platform’s viability.

The most common platforms include:

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • X
  • YouTube
  • TikTok

Each of these platforms also provides unique monetization strategies, so keep an open mind as you navigate the following steps to determine which platform is best for you.

Once you have your target platforms in mind, you can dive into the monetization methods.

Identifying Your Social Media Monetization Strategy

You now have figured out who you’re creating for–next up is identifying which monetization method will be the most lucrative for your social media business. 

The simplest way to do this is by analyzing the top creators in your industry. Take a look at their profiles and links to see which monetization methods work best for them.

The most common monetization methods include:

  1. Sponsored content
  2. Affiliate marketing
  3. Products or services

Keep in mind, these opportunities will vary within each industry. For example, finance creators have a variety of high-ticket affiliate marketing programs available, beauty creators often benefit from sponsored content, and business creators can leverage their authority to promote B2B services.

These opportunities vary greatly from one industry to the next, so let’s break down how each works so you can determine which is best for you as you start your business on social media. 

Sponsored Content

The demand for video marketing has skyrocketed in recent years, and with this growth, we’ve seen a massive increase in the demand for sponsored content.

These videos leverage your authority to promote products and services in your industry, and for the highest-quality creators, each promotion can bring in thousands of dollars.

This monetization method is most effective for product-heavy industries, where brands are constantly on the lookout for authentic user-generated content (UGC), but the best creator industries will vary based on the supply and demand of creators. 

Because of this, it’s especially important to seek an industry based on passion and experience instead of prospective payouts. Nearly every industry can promote some product, service, or software, especially if you’ve established a large audience and strong reputation.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing also allows you to get paid to promote products or services. The primary difference between these is the method of payment and availability of offers.

Unlike sponsored content, affiliate marketing typically pays an amount based on your total referrals, whether it’s a fixed dollar amount or commission on sales.

These programs are also much more widely available, allowing you to begin promoting with a much smaller audience. Some of the most common platforms to find affiliate marketing opportunities include:

Oftentimes, the most lucrative affiliate products can be found directly on a company’s website. For example, Shopify and Expedia provide public applications to high-paying affiliate programs.

Products or Services

The most scalable monetization strategy is to develop your own products or services. While this method will take the longest, it’s often worth the investment.

By developing your own products or services, you gain full control over your earnings. Millions of people make purchases on social media each year, and a majority of these are recommended or sold by their favorite creators.

To determine which products or services are most sought after in your industry, consider your audience’s challenges and goals. Then, identify a solution to their challenge or vehicle to achieve their goals.

For example, a marketing guru might create content for businesses who struggle to get recognized on social media. In this case, they might sell social media management services. 

You can use our “How to Start an Agency” course to jumpstart your business on social media! 

Selecting the Essential Apps to Start Your Business on Social Media

With your audience and monetization method established, you can develop a suite of resources to streamline your business from your mobile device.

Depending on the monetization method, there are a wide variety of apps you can leverage. By utilizing social media tools and apps strategically, you can run your entire business from your phone.

Some of the most useful apps for social media business owners include:

  • Hubspot: Content scheduling and analytics
  • Webflow: Selling products or services
  • Capcut: Video editing 
  • Amazon Associates: Affiliate marketing
  • Freshbooks: Financial management and invoicing
  • Notion: Internal collaboration and workspaces

Each of these apps allows you to streamline a component of your business, ensuring you can generate income from any place at any time.

Developing a Memorable Brand Strategy & Identity

The final order of business before building your social media audience is to establish a memorable brand strategy and identity.

Developing a strong and consistent style across your content helps users recognize your content, making it much easier to stay top-of-mind when scrolling through social media.

When developing a consistent brand strategy and identity, you’ll want to consider:

  1. Colors
  2. Typography
  3. Voice
  4. Graphics

Compiling these elements into a single document will help you maintain that consistency throughout each piece of content. To ensure each piece of content aligns with your brand and resonates with your audience, our team at Slam has compiled a Notion Wiki Template.

This template provides everything from internal procedures to external operations, with an entire section dedicated to storing your brand guidelines.

Once you’ve established these guidelines, you can begin building a memorable and engaging social media profile.

Building an Engaging Social Media Profile for Your Business

Your profile is your first impression, acting as the landing page for thousands of organic users. 

A great profile should turn these passive users into loyal followers through a combination of an engaging profile and optimized content.

For example, at Slam, we target business owners, who are often found on LinkedIn. Because of this, we’ve created a LinkedIn profile that promotes marketing tactics and company updates.

Slam Media Lab LinkedIn profile example

To build a profile that inspires user to hit that “Follow” button, you’ll need to include the following components:

  1. Profile Picture: A high-quality logo or headshot helps make a positive first impression.
  2. Description: The description should tell users how you provide value, and what they’ll get from following your account.
  3. Call-To-Action (CTA): At the end of your description, this element will direct the users’ attention toward a desired action.
  4. Consistent branding: From your profile picture to your CTA, your profile should follow your brand strategy and identity.
  5. Links: Whether it’s a LinkTree, affiliate program, or your own site, links allow users to navigate through your resources outside of Instagram. 

By carefully compiling each component, you can build a high-converting foundation to begin sharing your content and building an audience. 

Establishing and Optimizing Your Content Strategy

Your content strategy is your roadmap to social media growth. To build a community within your following, you’ll have to consistently provide value through your content.

From your copywriting and videography to your editing and optimization, this can be a complex path. Fortunately, it can still be broken down into three steps:

  1. Outline your content 
  2. Create high-quality content
  3. Analyze and optimize

Outline Your Content 

To ensure your content is not only relevant, but also valuable, you’ll need to identify which types of content your target audience wants to see. Ideally, you should be creating content in any industry that you are interested and experienced in, so that (1) you like what you are producing and (2) you know what you’re talking about. 

To do this, head over to the platform you’ve chosen in the first step and search for the top creators in your industry. For the best results, find creators that are also using similar monetization methods.

Identify their top-performing posts, and take note of the format and sub-niche of each piece of content. Make sure to research multiple creators as these components will vary among each.

For example, a finance creator might find that financial updates and facts about stocks typically perform well with your target audience, but platform reviews do not. 

With this information, you can build a list of content topics that you know your target audience is interested in. To streamline this process, our team at Slam has compiled an Airtable Content Calendar template and a TikTok Content Planner.

Create High-Quality Content

With your content categories in place, you can finally begin creating content. It’s important to develop the following skills to capture and convert users’ attention:

  • Videography
  • Copywriting
  • Graphic Design
  • Editing
  • Storytelling

With these components in mind, you can begin writing a script that aligns with your brand and resonates with your audience. To do this, source a content topic from the previous step and outline the following:

  1. Hook: Captures attention with a short, powerful, and intriguing statement or question.
  2. Body: Provides value and insight with clear and structured information.
  3. Close: Summarizes points and inspires user action by promoting additional value.

Then, write out a script that satisfies each step.

To ensure this script suits both your band guidelines and audience interests, our team at Slam has compiled a TikTok Script Template, which can also be used for Instagram Reels or YouTube Shorts.

Create engaging content with Slam's TikTok Script Template!

By keeping these components in mind as you plan, record, edit, and write, you can ensure your content remains relevant and valuable.

Analyze and Optimize

After employing the steps above, you’ll begin to collect data on what works and what doesn’t. 

Fortunately, every social media platform provides a variety of analytics to help you with this. When analyzing your posts, the most important metrics include:

  1. Reach
  2. Like
  4. Saves
  6. Follows

Take a look at which posts achieve the highest metrics, then reflect on which content formats or subtopics tend to perform the best. Using this information, you can start posting more of what your audience wants to see, and less of what they don’t.

How to Start a Business on Social Media with Slam

You’re now well-equipped with the foundation to start your social media business. However, if you’re looking to earn a full-time income with your social media business, you’ll need to focus on scaling.

To scale your social media business, you’ll need to actively optimize your content, profile, and offerings to better suit your audience. This means you’ll need to regularly analyze their interests using both internal analytics and competitor research.

However, some social media business owners will also scale beyond social media platforms by employing a variety of marketing tactics.

If you’ve created a website, you can drive additional traffic through SEO, advertising, and staying active in the community outside of your social media platforms.

So, if you’re looking to maximize the growth of your social media business, save yourself time and money on trial and error, and get in touch with our team at Slam. Our experts have helped over 30 businesses scale exponentially, and we’re ready to help yours do the same!

Liked this, but looking for something different? Check out our guides on how to start an agency:

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