Businesses of all types and sizes use social media to generate revenue. In this article, we will focus on how free newspapers can use monetizingsocialmediasocial media to generate additional advertising revenue.

Recently, I facilitated a workshop at the Wisconsin Community Papers Publisher’s Summit in New Glarus, WI. In that workshop, we discussed the many ways free newspapers can generate additional revenue. You can download the PowerPoint presentation, How Free Newspapers Can Monetize Social Media, used in that workshop.

The following 7 tips are offered to help newspaper publishers and sales professionals start to think about bigger and better ways to use their social media channels to offer additional value to their advertising clients.

  1. Create Forums and Story Based Communities

Many newspapers are taking the plunge and creating story-based communities. These communities and forums encourage participation from readers and help them feel more involved with the publication and its activities. Providing advertising space in that community is a great way to generate additional revenue.

  1. Build Mailing Lists Through Your Contacts on Social Networks

For any business, the mailing list is its most valuable asset. Publishers can use their social networks to help build a targeted mailing list. Using an opt-in form on your Facebook page and using an incentive to encourage visitors to complete the form is one effective way to build your publication’s email and snail mail list.

  1. Offer Digital Advertising Inserts

Digital advertising inserts can generate income for your publication. A digital insert can include a special offer for your readers or a coupon for one your advertisers. Those digital inserts can be sold as Facebook status updates. You might also consider selling space in your Twitter or Instagram stream.

  1. Rent Your Sponsored Post Space

Offer your advertisers the use of your sponsored post space. If you have a larger audience than your advertiser, offering the use of your Facebook page to use to promote a status update is a great way to generate additional revenue. Of course, determining the best mark-up to make this work for both parties is the tricky part.

  1. Host Contests

Everyone loves the excitement that comes with a chance to win a prize. Sweepstakes, photo contests and Question and Answer (Q&A) contests are very effective on social networks websites. Charging your advertisers a fee to host these contests on your social networks will generate additional revenue for your publication.

  1. Sell a Sponsored Video Series

If you have an advertiser that has a how-to video series that needs more viewers, sell that advertiser a sponsored video series. Basically, your publication would post the videos on your Facebook and Twitter page for a fee. Remember to upload the videos directly to Facebook instead of using a YouTube video link. Videos uploaded directly to Facebook receive 30% more engagement than videos that are simply linked to Facebook. If you don’t have any advertisers who have a how-to video series, help them come with ideas for creating a series, then sell them on the sponsorship.

  1. Sell Commercials

You don’t need high tech video equipment to make a good 15 second commercial for your publication or your advertisers. All you need is great ad copy and someone with a great personality to read it on screen. Offer to create testimonial commercials for your advertisers and post them on your social networks – for a fee, of course.

Using some of the 7 suggestions provided (and any of the tips offered in this PowerPoint presentation: How Free Newspapers Can Monetize Social Media), hopefully your newspaper can start generating additional revenue fairly quickly and easily.