You’ve done it – put in all that work to create amazing content, figure out your vibe, grow your audience and have a social presence that you’re finally happy with. Now what? You deserve something more for all that hard work than just personal satisfaction, right? We get asked all the time “how to make money on social media” because in the end, being an influencer is a business. Yes, tons of likes and comments are good for your ego but those don’t pay the bills.

Here at Sidewalker Daily we work with travel bloggers and influencers and are always impressed with the innovative ways they use social media to make money. From selling services to even travel based side hustles, they really know how to leverage their social media presence to make ends meet. Of course, everyone’s main goal is to live off just their influence full-time but until then, we’ve got some creative ways influencers are leveraging their accounts so you can start making money from social media too!

An Insider Guide to Press Trips for Bloggers and Influencers

How to Make Money off Social Media. 

We totally get that sometimes being a travel blogger and influencer is tough when it comes to getting paid – yes, you are often offered amazing free trips and hotel stays around the world but those airline miles and passport stamps don’t cover your expenses. Until you make it to the big leagues you’re going to have to get creative on how to monetize your influence while jumping from city to city. Here are a few ideas on how you can make that happen:

1. Pitch Shooting Campaigns or Lookbooks While On Press Trips. 

Let’s face it, we’re all content junkies. It seems we consume more content daily than water (don’t tell our doctor lol). What that means is all of the content we consume on the regular needs to be created by someone! Traditionally, brands and companies allocate a budget to do photoshoots and/or videoshoots throughout the year. But production costs can get crazy expensive after you pay for the location, photographer, videographer, models, stylist, hair, makeup, etc.

We see companies more and more skipping traditional shoots and turning to influencers that align with their brand image and aesthetic to help create content for their marketing materials, social media posts and even online ads. If you’re traveling on a press trip to an exotic location, why not pitch to travel brands the idea of shooting some fresh content while you’re there? Even if you’re not headed to an exotic destination, everyone needs new imagery and content.

If it’s a brand or company that aligns with your image, they will save a lot on production fees, time and energy and can allocate some of the money they would spend on content creation to compensate you for your time instead!

Just FYI, if you are going to shoot content for other brands and companies make sure you respect the client who is hosting you on the press trip (i.e. footing the bill for your flights, accommodations etc.) so you don’t ruin any professional relationships along the way.

Another option is pitching your services as a photographer on a press trip. You can talk to the person organizing the trip about doing a full on photoshoot and potentially hiring you as the photographer. The other press trip attendees can stand in as models (as long as they sign a photo waiver of course). Lots of times on influencer press trips, they’ll hire a photographer to come along – why not it be you?

2. Sell Your Photos or Videos.

Ok so maybe the client that you went on a press trip with doesn’t want to hire you to do a full blown photo shoot – so how about offering them the opportunity to buy a handful of your images. Chances are, if you’re on a press trip, you’ll be snapping lots of photos anyways so you may as well monetize them. For example, on the last press trip we organized we let the influencers know ahead of time that the client may be interested in photos of the resort so if they were interested in the opportunity they could snap away. The client ended up purchasing 10 photos off the influencer – win win!

If you end up going this route, make sure to prepare a contact sheet and not edit every photo. Let the client pick the ones they would like to purchase and then edit the images afterwards. We’d say that anywhere from $35-$75 per photo is a fair rate for an exclusive and edited image.

Another thought is selling your photos to a third party. Have you taken incredible pictures in the Namibian desert or the top of Machu Picchu that you aren’t planning on posting or using for yourself? Amazing photos are a hot commodity these days and companies are constantly on the lookout for images that align with their brand to use on their website, social media accounts, blog articles etc.

The days of traditional stock photos are numbered and instead, people are electing to buy from sites such as Twenty20, a website that sells images from photographers around the world that feel authentic (not contrived). The photos they feature range from amateur to professional so don’t feel intimidated if you’re not a photography expert just yet.  The cool thing is it seems sourcing photos from user generated sites is definitely the new wave of photography.