A Red and white neon sign that is a :like: heart with the number on a dark wall

“How can you make a living on social media?” – I (and most people) DON’T!

People frequently ask me how they can “get more followers” or “make a living” on social media.

Most people will not like what I have to say about this subject.

I’m creating a new community outside of social media on Substack (where I can have more control over my space). I hope you’ll join me as a free member (but I also have paid subscriptions if you want access to bonus content). You also can help support the work I do by sharing this post.

First, if you are doing it to “get more followers” or are worried about numbers, you are already doing it wrong.

Yes, I do pay attention to the growth of my page, and I do hope it keeps trending in the upward direction, but unless it goes backward or has some major numeric anomaly, I don’t pay much attention to the number of followers I have.

I believe good leaders are servants – or in servant leadership.

The servant leadership style is based on the idea that leaders prioritize serving the greater good. Leaders with this style serve their team and organization first. They don’t prioritize their own objectives.

It comes off as selfish if you’re constantly asking for followers or only worried about your growth (even if that’s not how you mean to come off to people).

Nobody is entitled to a social media following and having one is both a gift and a privilege – that comes with a lot of responsibility (because the bigger your platform grows the more easily it can unintentionally cause harm).

You have to earn your readership, and it will only happen if you put aside selfish reasons for wanting to grow and start nurturing your community (without wondering what they can do for you).

Servant leaders don’t do good because they hope to be recognized and rewarded for their good deeds. They do good because it needs to be done and because it will help the people they serve.

As a servant leader, you have to be willing to do for your community – regardless if they can repay the favor for you or not.

Don’t worry about how many followers you have.

Don’t waste time and energy trying to “get more followers.” Your energy is better spent on creating quality content that adds value to people’s day.

People won’t follow you because you want them to follow you (and people don’t “owe” you a follow – you have to earn it).

If people follow you they will follow you because they find value in the content you put out into the world.

If you consistently create great, quality resources that add value to people’s day, followers will come organically (because of the value following you brings them).

Do NOT share low quality content.

A few, thoughtful, well put together posts are always better than a ton of low-quality content (that can cause social media algorithms to down rank your over all relevance, preventing your content from being distributed to people).

If you regularly share “low quality content” lots of external links to items outside of the platforms you are sharing on, ESPECIALLY fundraisers and crowd funding links (social media HATES THSOE) your page will NOT grow.

Additionally, sharing politically charged information can cause you to be down-ranked, depending on the platform. Some platforms are more left leaning (Instagram, Threads, Youtube, Substack) and some are more right leaning (Twitter, Facebook).

If you’re sharing pro-trans content on one of the right leaning platforms, for example, it may be down ranked and your page’s over-all relevance may suffer for it (especially on Twitter).

Sometimes you may decide it is worth it – if these things are central to the content you create. I share content that I know I will be “hand slapped” for anyway (despite knowing that it hurts my reach). If I stopped doing this my page would do better, but I would be sacrificing my authentic voice.

Controversial posts also often get better reach but I don’t recommend seeking out controversial opinions and drama as your primary source of content (because if you post controversial topics all the time so you can get more views, people will pick up on that pattern of manipulation).

Shock value gets old and depends on outrage. Do you REALLY want your entire platform to be built on outrage?

If your content is highly quality, helpful, and adds to the person’s quality of life, they will likely follow you for more great content.

The other important thing that will help retain your social media readers and viewers is having a consistent posting schedule – whatever that looks like for you.

Maybe you are posting once a day, maybe you post once a week, twice a month, or maybe just once a month.

Regardless of how often you post, posting consistently on a schedule that your readers can count on (and algorithms seem to love) is crucial.

A Red and white neon sign that is a :like: heart with the number on a dark wall
A Red and white neon sign that is a :like: heart with the number on a dark wall with the post title and subtitle in the foreground in white that reads: “How can you make a living on social media?” – I (and most people) DON’T! People frequently ask me how they can “get more followers” or “make a living” on social media. Most people will not like what I have to say about this subject.

If you are thinking about starting a social media platform and growth and reach are important to you, then you need to do three things:

  1. Create high-quality content that adds value to the readers’ day/makes their life better somehow.
  2. Set a schedule that is realistic to you and stick to it.
  3. Be authentic. Don’t be fake.

Authenticity is key because if you are fake, people will pick up on it, turning them away from you.

People gravitate toward real people they can relate to. People will sense if something is “off” or “inauthentic” even without being able to name exactly what feels “off” to them – because it plays into the Uncanny Valley Effect (which tends to unease people).

Everything else is just luck. You may go viral in your first year or two, or you may never go viral.

Don’t expect to go viral. Most people won’t.

You can read more of THIS post (For FREE) on Substacck.

*Paid subscribers on Substack and Patreon have access to the bonus ending talking about how we DO make our money (since social media is unreliable).

In addition to Substack (because I STRONGLY believe educational resources should be affordable), I also offer subscriptions on Patreon, where I always offer a pay-what-you-can subscription (starting at $1 a month – less when you subscribe annually).

The NeuroDivergent Rebel Blog is a reader-supported publication. Without the help of my readers free resources LIKE THIS ONE wouldn’t be possible.

To receive new posts (like this one) delivered right to your inbox and support my work, I ask that you please consider becoming a free or paid subscriber on Patreon or Substack.

It would mean a lot to me.

-Lyric Rivera

One thought on ““How can you make a living on social media?” – I (and most people) DON’T!

Leave a Reply