Know that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when a customer raves about your brand? Us too - it’s a great motivator! What you may not realise, is that loyal followers have the potential to do much more than boost your ego. Happy customers with strong social media profiles can help spread the word about your products and supercharge your web presence!
An ever-growing number of savvy businesses are nurturing relationships with their customers through brand advocate schemes. This practice is known as affiliate marketing, and it’s become one of the best ways to drive sales. Don’t believe us? Recent stats suggest the affiliate marketing space is now worth $12 billion, with more than 80% of brands now running affiliate programmes! The affiliate opportunities really are too good to miss.
So, are you itching to get started with affiliate marketing? Hold your horses! We’ve put together a handy guide to affiliate marketing on social media to help you get it right the first time.
What is affiliate marketing?
The logic behind affiliate marketing is very simple. Affiliates are individuals who promote your business online in exchange for a small commission. Don’t worry – your chosen partners don’t have to be flashy celebrities or edgy influencers – they can be anyone with a strong online presence. Examples may include bloggers, existing customers with large social media followings, micro-influencers, and industry experts!
Once you have found suitable advocates for your business, they can start promoting your goods and services on their social media platforms using referral links and discounts codes. In exchange for their promotional efforts, your affiliates will receive a commission rate that aligns with the amount of traffic they have generated.
As an example, let’s imagine you’re the owner of a small natural beauty company. You decide to launch an affiliate programme to boost sales of your products, partnering up with beauty bloggers with substantial followings on social media.
Already equipped with an unrivalled passion for natural beauty products, your affiliates can start gushing over your products on social media, posting unique links and offer codes to encourage their followers to transform their beauty regimes. The more customers an affiliate can entice, the higher their commission will be. It’s a win-win situation for both you and your loyal partners!
What are the benefits of affiliate marketing on social media?
Over 65% of affiliate marketers reach potential customers via social media, making it the most effective affiliate marketing channel by far. There are several reasons for this, including:
1. It’s highly targeted
Affiliate marketing on social media is a super-quick way to reach your target audience quickly. Remember - most businesses partner up with affiliates for their wide range of social connections, many of whom are likely to be ideal clients.
For example, you’re hoping to drive subscriptions to a fitness app. Partnering up with a popular (and preferably *ahem* easy-on-the-eye) gym guru will give you instant access to a base of people looking to get fit and improve their health. Simple!
2. It’s incredibly cost-effective
If your enterprise is relatively new, affiliates could become your most effective social media marketing tools. Why? The pay-per-click model often used in affiliate marketing is supremely cost-effective, helping you maximise your profit margins. With a robust affiliate marketing programme in place, you will only need to pay your social media partners when customers engage with their posts.
3. Most affiliates use multiple platforms
While you are unlikely to find an affiliate partner who uses every social media platform under the sun, most people with a strong online presence maintain at least two or three accounts across different platforms. Those with influential Instagram profiles, for example, are also likely to post content on Facebook, helping you to capture customers across multiple platforms with minimal effort.
4. It allows you to share content in real-time
The world of social media moves very quickly, allowing users to reach a wide audience in a matter of seconds. With affiliate marketing, your latest offers and products can gain traction in record time. This is great news if you’re hoping to generate a buzz around a time-sensitive campaign.
How to choose an appropriate social media platform for affiliate marketing
When advertising or reaching out to potential affiliates, you need to consider which social media platforms are best suited to your business niche. If, for example, you sell fashionable garments to teenagers and younger women, you won’t get very far with a suited-up thought leader on LinkedIn (no matter how impressive their credentials are!). Instead, you should find a young and charismatic Instagrammer they can relate to.
Selecting the right platform is vital and will help to boost web traffic, increase sales, and ultimately grow your business. Unsure which social media sites to aim for? Consider the following tips:
1. Use demographic data
Demographic data can tell you where your customers are most likely to hang out online. If you already possess data about your customers, compare this to demographic data about social media platforms and establish which sites are best suited to your purposes. If you don’t possess data about your customers, it’s worth collecting behaviour metrics using Google Analytics or obtaining survey data. This will also strengthen and inform your B2C or B2B social media marketing strategy more broadly.
2. Consider your aim
Do you want to drive blog click-throughs or encourage people to make e-commerce purchases? While a site such as Twitter can drive lots of web traffic, Instagram may be more suitable for boosting in-app sales.
3. Assess your budget
Consider how often you want your affiliates to post and whether you can afford to pay for high engagement volumes. Facebook users, for example, tend to post a couple of times a day, while Twitter users are more likely to spend hours sending multiple tweets. Remember to discourage affiliates from creating too many social media posts, however - you don’t want to spam valuable leads!
Best practices for affiliate marketing on social media
So, now we’ve grasped the basics of affiliate marketing and how it operates, how can you ensure you’re going about it in the best way? Here are a few best practices to follow:
1. Work closely with affiliates to discuss content strategies
Content is king, so your social media partners must create engaging posts for potential customers. It may be beneficial to discuss content marketing strategies and relevant business goals with your affiliates. The most common social media promotions include:
- Pinterest pins
If your product is highly visual and luxurious, encourage them to produce well-crafted photographs and video content. If on the other hand, your product is very technical, your affiliates may gain traction by live-streaming demonstrations or tutorials. Of course, the best way to ensure affiliate content attracts clicks, likes, and shares are to work with social media users whose work aligns closely with your core brand values.
2. Offer fair compensation for your affiliates
Try to establish an affiliate programme that offers fair rates of pay for loyal customers and influencers. While you must, of course, be realistic about your budgetary constraints, programmes that offer generous returns are more likely to attract interest from excellent affiliates with experience in promotional advertising.
3. Look for affiliates within social media communities
Don’t just reach out to social media influencers, micro-influencers, and seasoned affiliates with hundreds of thousands of followers. Regular customers with a few hundred followers could garner strong interest from their close friends and family members using Facebook and Instagram. While reaching out to close networks of friends and neighbours may not seem particularly glamorous, it could produce surprisingly effective results.
It is also worth checking out online forums and community groups if your brand operates within a niche. Affiliates who post on forums can help businesses drive many leads and sales, provided they do not come across as spammy.
4. Create regular, unmissable promotions
Your affiliates need something new and exciting to promote every month. Failure to provide them with adequate promotional material could lead to uninspiring posts that gain little traction – a lose-lose situation for both you and your partners!
You don’t have to overthink your promos – try discount codes, social media competitions or direct links to cutting-edge new products and watch your sales grow.
5. Regularly assess the success of your programme
Like any other aspect of digital marketing, you must track the success of your affiliate marketing programme using key metrics such as leads, search engines, conversion rates, and sales. With this information, you can continue to refine your strategy to enhance your chances of success. You may, for example, wish to seek out new affiliates or work with current partners to create more relevant content.
Setting up an effective social media marketing strategy can be tricky at the best of times. Fortunately, our services are tailored to help you to achieve the kind of impressive engagement and growth of which you’ve been dreaming. If you’re still feeling a little daunted by the prospect of pursuing affiliate marketing on social media, Neighbourhood is on hand to guide you every step of the way.