How to Use Social Media for Affiliate Marketing

affiliate marketing and social media

It is no secret that Social Media has become one of the primary communication methods of recent years. We no longer take a photo and email it, we Instagram it or Tweet it to our friends.

To send a quick message we use Snapchat to say what we are thinking or show what we are doing to our community. But how can we use these social channels to further our affiliate marketing efforts?

If you are one of the thousands of people that make some extra money by leveraging the power of Affiliate Marketing (selling a third parties items online for a commission) then you will know that you are always searching for ways to gain more sales, or drive traffic to your website to gain more sales, or promote services more effectively to gain more…..well, you get the picture. It’s all about making sales.

It is important to market your business effectively. All the affiliate marketing links, products, reviews and anything else will be for naught if you don’t generate enough interest to get people to your site that will click on links and make purchases so you can earn commissions. 

Here we take a look at how you can effectively use social media to assist with your affiliate marketing efforts. 

Social Platforms

What used to be once only 1 or 2 social media channels has now grown into a much broader field. Most affiliate marketers will focus on 1 or more of the ‘Big 4’ when it comes to their social media marketing efforts. The ‘Big 4’ being – 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

Personally and professionally most people will use at least one of these channels to communicate with their friends or colleagues on a regular basis, and you can use them with your affiliate marketing. Done properly you can build an engaged audience of loyal followers to promote your products to and share information with.

While these 4 main channels will give the broadest reach for your promotions and social media posts there are also plenty of secondary or smaller social media platforms that you might want to consider like –

  • Facebook Business Pages
  • Facebook Groups
  • Linkedin
  • Snapchat
  • Telegram
  • WeChat
  • Tumblr
  • Qzone

These smaller channels are more targeted and specific but can also yield good results depending on your niche. Each one is slightly different and may cater to different countries or markets so do some research before you decide which channels to utilize for your affiliate marketing promotion. 

For example, Linkedin would work better for a more professional industry such as finance, Instagram caters to the 25-35 year age group, while Pinterest is a visual search tool that is used predominantly by women. Pick the channels that align best with your promotional efforts, products and the type or age of audience you would like to reach.

Define your Niche

Advertising to a broad and far-reaching customer base can actually diminish your social media affiliate marketing efforts. While it seems logical that a wider audience will mean more sales this is almost always not the case.

The wider you spread your reach the more diluted you become so it is best to focus efforts on one area of business. For example, if you are selling sweaters that is pretty broad. Consider promoting your affiliate links as the narrower ‘hand-knitted sweaters’ or the even more specific, ‘hand-knitted sweaters from Scotland’. Drill down until you find your niche.

Content

Take a moment to assess the kind of posts or products that you are promoting via your social media channels. Do they appeal to your audience? Do they provide a service or solve a problem for your followers? What is the message that you are trying to communicate?

The quality of your content is something that you should give careful consideration to before you post anything. You are now essentially a business and anything that you send out on social media will reflect you as a brand. So be careful what you post, take a minute to review your content and determine if it is up to standard.

Good Quality Photos

Now we know that you are a brand and your posts reflect your business take time to check your images before posting. Are they good quality high definition, or are they low quality and blurred photos. The later doesn’t make you look good.

When posting photos take time to look at them critically, do they need enhancing or would they benefit from an effect or color filter? Should they be cropped a bit better? There are many tools to help you with this, both paid and free but a good one to start with is Canva which provides templates and preset design sizes for all social media channels.

Product Line

Staying on the theme of ‘quality’ you should also apply this to the products that you are promoting. If the products that you are trying to sell are basically just garbage you probably will not generate a lot of sales. You certainly do not want to come across as cheap or substandard, to do so will not create much faith in your brand or products. 

Make a careful assessment of the products that you choose to put in front of your audience. Anything that you promote should easily align with your brand or mission and create some sort of value for your customers along with being a quality item.

Optimize Posting Times

Depending on factors like the type of products that you are promoting, the industry you are in, and the social media channels you are using, there will be times of the day that are best for posting. At these times you will see the most engagement with and reactions to the content that you post.

There has been some heavy research done in the area for the past few years and it has been determined that there are definitely optimum times to post to your social media accounts. To maximize your engagement take a look at this article HERE to help you determine your best times to post. 

Consistency

The actor and comedian Woody Allen was famously quoted as saying ‘80% of success is showing up’. As simple as that may sound there is some truth to that. Consistency is key to achieving success in any area of life and the same is true when Affiliate Marketing.

People are creatures of habit and after a while of consistent posting will almost expect to see your posts at the same time each day or week.

A consistent and routine approach to promoting your products on your social media will eventually yield results. 

However, you decide to post and reach your audience, weekly, daily or, 3 times a day, keep it consistent. This will give you the chance to reach out and engage with your followers should they send you a like or a comment. But if you are not present you might miss the chance, so stay consistent and check your accounts regularly for activity or messages.

Promote Offers

A fantastic way to reach your audience and create engagement for your Affiliate Marketing is to periodically run special offers or deals. Everyone loves a bargain so this is a good way to generate some interest for your products.

You could think about promoting a buy one get one free deal, give away a freebie, or offer products at a discounted rate for a limited time. Using social media you could ask your audience to like, follow, and share your promotion to reach a larger audience.

Provide Comparisons

There is a lot of competition in the world of Affiliate Marketing and you want to show that your products are better than the next persons. Offering product comparisons can help to set yourself apart from the crowd.

This could be a side by side photo with a star rating or a quick caption to explain why your audience should purchase your particular product. The point is that you are supplying your followers with information that they can use.

Deliver Value

Similar to the idea of giveaways and product comparisons you should consider how what you post will provide real VALUE to your customers. If you can reach the people that are seeking advice and information you may increase the chance of converting them to purchase products.

Define what your audience wants, what their needs or issues maybe then try and tailor your posts to address those needs. Providing value is also a nice way to generate some loyalty. If your information is useful and accurate your audience will come to trust you.

Redirect Links

Many affiliate links are long and take up valuable space on your social media posts. Not to mention they look ugly and call it human nature but people don’t like to think that they are being led directly to a purchasing page. This process is also known as ‘link cloaking’ and can help to prevent your commission from getting hi-jacked. So consider using redirect links.

These handly little links look much more appealing and take up lots less space on your posts. They take the customer to the same destination without looking like an overt product link. Depending on your level of technical ability there are several ways to create redirect links but one of the easiest is by using a simple plugin like this one from Pretty Links

Network with Influencers

There is strength in numbers and there is no harm in collaborating and connecting with other users and influencers in your sphere to help your social media affiliate marketing efforts. Networking with other marketers means that you can promote and share each other’s posts and essentially lift each other up.

There are many groups and forums that you will be able to join in your niche and other Affiliate marketers are not always the enemy. Sometimes teamwork will win out so it is worth making some connections with like-minded business people. 

Use Analytics

The biggest social media platforms out there now have the added advantage of providing you with a wealth of analytics information. This is invaluable when promoting your affiliate links and will provide you with some very useful insights.

Typically you will have to convert your social media account to a business account so that you may access the analytics, but this usually amounts to simply clicking a button to verify that you want to convert from a personal account to a business one. 

Once you can access the information you will be able to see how people have responded or interacted with your posts. It will count the number of engagements, likes, or comments and you will be able to see how each post is performing over a period of time. 

This is a great help in determining which posts are the most successful so that you may repost them or design other posts in a similar fashion to continue getting positive results. Some of the smaller social channels will not include analytics but keeping a close eye on engagement will help you decide what is working best. 

Summary

Social Media can be a valuable tool in Affiliate Marketing but like most tools, you will need to use it properly to achieve the desired results. A bit of trial and error will stand you in good stead here. Try to post at different times and create a variety of content to appeal to your audience. 

Over time you will be able to determine how effective some of your affiliate marketing is on various social media channels and continue to build your audience and grow followers accordingly. 

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