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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

Money is a super taboo topic, I’m honestly cringing a little writing this piece, but I think this is important to talk about. There’s not much transparency when it comes to social media and finances, and I want to do my part to fix that. Plus I’m a super nosey person and would love to read this article if I wasn’t writing it. 

There are two main ways I make money through social media — either working with a company directly or through a third party. For 2022, I had three big revenue streams, so I’m going to break them down for you. 

Graduate Hotels

A big kiss to the Graduate Hotels in the most honest way possible. This was by far my most profitable venture.

I started working with them because I saw an Instagram ad about the opportunity and decided to go for it.  I applied, went through two rounds of interviews, and was offered the position.

The biggest thing I’ve learned since just about two years ago is that you should never count yourself out of the race. I’m overly critical of myself, but there’s no reason to not try. 

I get paid based on how much work I put into it in addition to a complementary stay at the beginning of the semester. I picked up my first check at the beginning of the spring semester, and will hopefully get a check before the end of the spring semester. 

My job is to post about the hotel, post about my booking code, and I get to host a fun event at the end of the semester! This is a subtle shoutout for my event Monday, April 24th.


Parade treated me well this past year. I started taking this seriously around July, so considering I only put six months into it, but so far it’s gone really well.

For Parade, I applied to Parade Friends. If you poke around on the website long enough, you’ll be able to find the application. If you have over 800 followers on Instagram, you’re golden and will be accepted. 

Being a Parade Friend will give you access to a discount code and you will be sent gifting invites. At this point, Parade is about one-third of my closet. I have slight sensory issues and occasional issues with fabrics, and Parade is one of the few brands I’ve never had an issue with. 

As for making money, you get paid every time your code is used. Your code being used also opens up another social package. A social package includes the ability to get paid for one TikTok, two Instagram static posts or reels, and five Instagram stories.

Bundling it as a social package is such a smart move on Parade’s part because you have to have some conversions to be able to get paid for posting on social media. 

Intern Queen and Kodiak Cake

Intern Queen is a platform that connects content creators with brands. I followed Intern Queen on Instagram, saw that they were recruiting for Kodiak Cake and wanted Penn State students, and applied. I actually grew up eating Kodiak Cake products so this was a happy, dorky moment for me when I got accepted. 

There were four content pulses, a time expectation for each pulse, and an hourly salary for this position. I also got sent a box of samples to try, which was so fun!

With all of that being said, I do want to say that content creation is not a “get rich quick” scheme. It takes lots of time, energy, and interviews to get your foot in the door.

I’m extremely proud that in under two years, I have turned my social media page from the occasional free PR sample to having money to invest in the stock market. 

If you’re thinking about trying to create content, this is your sign to just go for it. I would rather cringe at my social media than wonder what I could have done if I wasn’t afraid. 

Madeline (she/her) is a second-year at Penn State studying Psychology and Labor and Human Resources from Bangor, Pennsylvania. In her spare time, she’s either reading or taking photos.