Most of the talk about how to make money from Facebook comes from the perspective of monetizing the Facebook pages you might have rather than monetizing your own personal profile. I have talked before about how sharing your page’s posts on your personal profile can increase your organic reach, but what if you could make some real money from your personal profile directly?
Of course, you can do that already through a variety of means. There’s nothing stopping you, at least at the moment, from sharing affiliate links through your Facebook profile. You can share a link to an Amazon deal or to some product you’re trying to promote. You could theoretically sell a sponsored message on a private basis to some advertiser who wants to tap into your friend list.
But what if Facebook were to offer native support for making money from your personal profile the same way that you can have AdSense advertising integration on your YouTube account? Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the team at Facebook look like they are considering the possibility.
Casey Newton from The Verge was sent a user survey from Facebook that asked this very question and it looks like the survey was also delivered to a number of other verified users. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Facebook will implement these changes, but it certainly means they are thinking about it.
In the survey, six different options for “earning money using your personal presence on Facebook” are offered:
- Tip jar: This would be similar to the YouTube fan funding option where your friends and followers can “tip you money” on a voluntary basis.
- Branded content: You can earn money by putting up posts with a brand that you have a sponsorship agreement with. This is currently possible in more of a covert way, but this would open up a more legitimate option.
- Sponsor marketplace: Facebook would connect advertisers with users, possibly similar to the way marketplaces like IZEA work. I’d imagine that Facebook would take a cut, but it means you wouldn’t have to seek out these advertisers directly yourself.
- Donate option: A “donate” button could be implemented that allows fans to donate to a charity of your choosing.
- Call to action button: Already available on Facebook pages, this is a button that would appear allowing users to click a button to “buy tickets” or “sign up for more.” The wording in the survey seems to indicate that these buttons could be implemented into individual posts rather than the single button that appears at the top of pages.
- Revenue sharing: The most straightforward arrangement from the end user’s perspective, individual users would get a share of the revenue generated by ads in your posts on your personal profile.
Several of these possibilities are potentially very intriguing. The sponsor marketplace would make it so much easier for smaller publishers to get connected with advertisers, which was one of the biggest game changers we saw when Google AdSense was first introduced several years ago.
The revenue sharing model could be interesting too, though it could indicate that Facebook wants to start inserting ads right into your personal profile and onto your personal posts, in addition to the promoted content and ads that already appear in the sidebar and in the main news feed. Will this detract from the user experience or will it enhance the motivation among users to get more people reading their existing content?
Up until now, users on social networks can be largely divided into two over-arching groups. You’ve got people and brands who are interested in making money from their social media presence, either directly or indirectly. The other group would be “normal” people who have no explicit interest in making money at all and they just want to connect with friends and fans for fun.
The second group would likely have very little interest in this development, but if you are reading this blog, you probably fall into the first group, at least to some degree. If Facebook wants to put some money on the table, it would be foolish not to think about grabbing it.
Out of the six options listed above, which one interests you the most?