How I built a six-figure business on social media – without being an influencer


The market for influencer marketing is incredibly lucrative in the social media industry. It has grown from $1.7 billion in 2016 to a whopping $16.4 billion dollar industry in 2022. However, online influencers are not the only ones who can make money through social media.  
Erika Cramer. Image: Supplied

In 2018, I started my coaching business from scratch while my husband and I were $150,000 in debt and struggling to make ends meet. I decided to use social media to my advantage. I started a podcast, launched a Youtube channel, and consistently showed up on Instagram. In the first eleven months of my business, we created $160,000. The following year, I launched a group coaching program for my online community, and we finished the year with $554,000. We didn’t use ads, I didn’t have a fancy website or sales funnels, I didn’t even have an email list, and I only had 1300 followers on Instagram. 

Here are the steps I took to build a six-figure plus business on social media without ever being an influencer: 

1. Be where your prospects are

The first step is to identify the social media platform where your ideal clients are already spending their time. There are multiple platforms to choose from, but being where your ideal client is will help you grow exponentially. Facebook’s audience is shifting as users over 65 are the platform’s fastest-growing demographic. Instagram maintains an audience that varies from 25-40 year-olds, whereas TikTok is where the younger crowd hangs out, varying from 16-34 year-olds. LinkedIn continues to be the platform for all-aged professionals. The key here is that it’s not about where YOU like to hang out, it’s being where your client is spending most of their time. 

2. Get crystal clear on your message

Marketing is all about how you communicate your message. You’ll want to be clear on who you help and what problem you solve. What do you want to be known for? What do you specialise in? Social media is a loud and noisy ocean, and you can get lost at sea if you aren’t clear on this. Getting to know your client’s pain and pleasure points and showing up online with answers to their questions will be one of the keys to gaining the “know, like and trust” factor that gets clients to hire you. When you have too many messages or specialise in multiple areas, it confuses your audience. Do one thing and do it well. 

3. Show up live, daily

Which brings me to my next point, let your followers in. If you aren’t sharing your story, your likes, dislikes, what you’re up to in your day-to-day, you will struggle to build trust with your audience online. Many business owners miss this opportunity. Maybe someone told you that business is not personal and that you need to be “professional”. But I am here to tell you that the more your audience on social media knows YOU, the more they will like you (or dislike which is a good thing btw) and the more they will trust you. If people don’t trust you, there will not be a sale. This is the secret sauce to growing an engaged community on social media that you can monetize. But this does not happen if there is no “know, like, and trust”. Stop hiding and worrying about what other people have to say, just go live. 

4. Give people results ahead of time

Next up is adding massive value in the form of content. Content creation is king, and you need to make sure you’re creating content that addresses your prospect’s pain points so that you can position yourself as an authority in the space. You want your audience to know that you understand their world, you get their problems, and your service is the solution. If I can learn something from you by just following you on Instagram that actually changes my life, I am definitely going to hire you. You can do this by showing up weekly for a Q&A show where you answer your ideal client’s burning questions, you can show up on stories and take them behind the scenes of your events, coaching calls, and content process. 

5. Selling on socials

Once your audience members start engaging with your posts and replying to your social media stories, this leads you into the DMs (direct messages) to start conversations with your prospects. Here is where the magic happens. You have given them enough value, and now it’s time to offer them your product or service. Many businesses miss this opportunity by ending up in the “friendzone” and not leading the client towards the sale. If you do this correctly, you’ll be able to “audition” your prospects, which will position you as the expert who is genuinely interested in helping them solve their problem. This is also an opportunity to lead them into your email list or get them to book a sales call with you. This method was the key to us generating over $500,000 in sales from Instagram alone. 

Social media is a powerful tool. By adding value through content creation, engaging with your audience, and selling on social media, you can build trust and authority with your audience. With the right strategy and approach, you can use social media to grow your business to six-figures and beyond and influence others without ever being an “influencer.” 

Erika Cramer, The Queen of Confidence, is an award-winning international confidence coach and host of the 5-star rated Confidence Chronicles Podcast. Erika has built a 7-figure business through her online presence and now teaches others how to do this as well. She is also the author of the new book, Confidence Feels Like Sh!t. Find out more about Erika at

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