How do Social Media Entrepreneurs Monetize YouTube?
Abstract: Background: Regarding previous literature, there has been much focus on Social Media in recent years. Researchers have elaborated on how social media platforms are tools for big companies or SMEs in terms of marketing and networking. Moreover, research shows how individuals can use social media as an entrepreneurial platform. The monetary success of individuals on online platforms has created a new generation of entrepreneurs. The possibility of monetization on social media is available to anyone, from which different strategies to reach monetization have emerged. Problem: There is substantial knowledge on how firms use social media as a tool, and research that supports the claim that entrepreneurs can achieve monetary gains of social media. Although related research exists, how social media entrepreneurs monetize digital platforms and the different means to do so has not been documented enough. Purpose: This paper aims to add knowledge and make clear that social media is not only a tool for companies, but that the monetizing features of social media are not as clear as the marketing and networking aspects. Thus, the research question “how do social media entrepreneurs monetize YouTube” was created. Method: A qualitative multiple-case study with direct-observations on social media platforms was desired, but it was limited to the platform YouTube, where eight channels, which are divided into movie review and makeup review content, were observed. The findings are interpreted with the existing knowledge the literature offers. Result: The monetization strategies a social media entrepreneur can apply through YouTube are advertisement, affiliate codes/links, collaborations, merchandise, crowdfunding, PR and, sponsorships. The subscriber relationship clarifies the different strategies of reaching monetization. Two types of strategies emerge from the data: the career-oriented and audience-oriented framework.
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