Digital Media Literacy: How Social Media Stars Make Money

Lesson 15: How Social Media Stars Make Money


How social media stars make money

Social media stars, also known as Internet celebrities, are people who’ve found fame and success via the Internet and social media, and they’ve become a big part of pop culture. But what exactly do these people do, and how do they make a living from being online?

Watch the video below to learn more about how social media stars make money.

What social media stars do

Some social media stars make YouTube videos, write jokes on Twitter, or post pictures on Instagram, just to name a few possibilities. In fact, the variety of subjects and broadcast media grows more diverse every day. Aside from creating content, stars reach out to their audience via social media, helping to create a direct, personal connection.

YouTube ads

When it comes to making money through social media, there are a few common methods. For instance, YouTube stars may show ads before or during their videos. This can provide some revenue, but not as much as you might think. Overall, very few YouTube creators make a living on ad revenue alone.

Sponsored promotions

Because stars have such an influential connection to their fans, companies often pay them to use, discuss, or promote products in their content. These sponsorships and product placements can range from free merchandise and small payouts to enormous paychecks. However, stars must be transparent and upfront about any kind of sponsored promotion, or they could break advertising laws.


Another way to earn money is through a fundraising service called Patreon, where users give a star money at regular intervals to support future projects. In exchange, users get exclusive content, such as behind-the-scenes material or early access to new releases, as well as a more exclusive connection to their favorite creators.

Obstacles to success

However, remember that finding success on social media is harder than it looks. Countless people try to become rich and famous through their videos or Instagram photos, but very few can make it their livelihood.

Competition for an audience is fierce, and creators must maintain a steady stream of quality content over a long period of time or they may lose their audience. Even time itself is an obstacle because what’s popular and profitable today can be forgotten tomorrow.

It may seem like anyone can start posting on social media for money and fame, but there’s a deliberate method to the madness of being a social media star.