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Making Money via Social Media: Myth or Goldmine?

Internet marketers are, in a way, very similar to addict gamblers. Each one feels that they have a system – a fool-proof secret or tactic – that will set them apart from the pack and guarantee them continued success and a healthy bank account balance.

A trip to any affiliate-themed blog or money making forum will unveil any number of these methods, each claiming to be ‘noob-friendly’ and boasting the hidden secrets to becoming financially independent. Upon a recent trip to one such forum, I decided to put a few of these ‘proven’ methods to the test. After all, if it was truly that easy to make money online, I’d be nuts not to give it a try.

In terms of overall popularity, there was no avoiding the ‘Make money via Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/Skype’ type threads. All of these social media outlets clearly have an abundance of traffic so, naturally, it is safe to assume that they would be a brilliant place to make my initial steps toward my first million dollars, right?

Who Wants to be an Internet Millionaire?

I decided to select a method that utilized Tumblr as its primary platform. The strategy seemed basic but the forum thread was confident it could easily earn me ‘$xxx a day on autopilot!’

I created a new account and set my profile image to be a sexy, young, gothic-looking female – apparently that makes all the difference according to my new guru.

Then, as per my instructions, I uploaded a whole host of ‘awesome’ images (around 300-400 in total); cars, women, houses, hot guys – everything that you’d expect a 15 year old girl to share. I whipped up some tags (as listed in the forum post,) and plugged in an affiliate link to each one of these images and sat back and watched the results.

Over the first week I watched as these images got shared around – and they really did get around – and I sat in awe as my daily affiliate statistics went through the roof!

‘This is actually going to work,’ I thought to myself!

After three weeks I sat down and I assessed how the entire experiment had gone. I was already planning which new car to buy and where I’d purchase my first holiday home.

As I mentioned earlier, my affiliate statistics had gone crazy. People were clicking through to my products in their hundreds. Yet, not one sale had gone through.

On top of that financial disappointment, I opened up my affiliate account to read a very sternly written warning telling me that spamming my affiliate link on social media sites is absolutely not permitted and, if I were to breach these rules again my account would be terminated without notice.

I leaned back in my chair (the one I was going to replace with a new leather recliner,) and surveyed the situation.

If you haven’t already detected my somewhat-sarcastic tone then it should be noted that I knew this would be the likely outcome from the beginning. What I was surprised about, however, was how many people were blinding jumping on these forums and posting things like, ‘Thanks man! I can’t wait to try this out!’

How many of these poor fools had lost their accounts, or worse, following false information in the pursuit of a quick, online pay check?

So Much for a Social Media Retirement Plan

There’s no doubting the allure of marketing directly on social media platforms. They see an enormous amount of traffic each and every day so, understandably, most assume this will instantly equal sales. The truth is though, the majority of people hit up social media to be –well – social. They want to post self-indulgent tweets, repin images that they think will make them look trendy and they publish poetry that’d make even a 16 year-old cringe.

Social media users don’t log on thinking, ‘I hope there is something awesome to buy on Facebook today,’ and therein lays the problem with all of these ‘methods.’ Making sizeable amounts of money on social media – long-term – is largely a myth as the traffic is far from targeted and the audience isn’t looking to spend money (and even if they are, they certainly haven’t been warmed up to do so by a slyly-placed affiliate link!)

The purpose of this post isn’t to rubbish these methods entirely. I’m certain that there are people out there who have – and possibly still are – making money through these techniques. Even those people would have to admit, however, that these tactics are hit-and-miss at best.

If you’re genuine about earning money online then it will always come back to putting the time into locating some great products, creating some quality content and finding traffic that are specifically looking for what you’re selling.

The idea of a quick tweet, pin, or status update being your ticket to early retirement is an absolute myth – unless you’re Charlie Sheen.

Author Bio:- Darcy Stach is a professional freelance journalist and all-round geek culture nut. Darcy writes about everything from flight simulator games right through to social media strategies, blogging tips and even comic books! If you’d like to read more of her work, visit Darcy’s blog.

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