Affiliate marketing predates social media by more than 33 years. It’s an old concept revamped with new opportunities for brands and creators on social media.
Brands get to reach new audiences while content creators get a commission from each sale. This makes it a low-risk, high-reward strategy any business can implement.
If you want to start an affiliate marketing program on social media, stick around. We’ll be showing a step-by-step guide on how to do it. But first, here’s a recap of the basics.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is a commission-based marketing strategy. You only pay for each successful purchase. This makes it sustainable, scalable, and cost-effective.
The strategy is also known as “pay-for-outcome”. We see this all the time on social media platforms. Let’s take a look at Cody Ko, a popular content creator on YouTube.
At the start of his video, Cody mentions SeatGeek and its benefits and urges his audience to try it out. SeatGeek then offers discounts for customers that clicked on Cody’s link.
It’s a win-win for businesses, content creators, and consumers. But there are a lot more benefits to affiliate marketing aside from the obvious monetary aspects.
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing for Brands and Affiliate Marketers
Affiliate marketing leverage people who already have an established following. Doing so increases traffic, improves conversion rates, and puts your brand in front of a wider audience.
Even influencers or content creators with a smaller following can be effective affiliate marketers, especially those in a niche. The statistics on their engagement rates prove it.
If your brand is planning on implementing affiliate marketing programs, you can get the following benefits:
Affiliate marketing helps increase traffic to websites through a variety of methods. They can promote, review, or make content around your product or services and post it on social media.
The more they promote your product, the more commission they can get. Affiliates can do so in several channels including their own websites, blog content, and more.
Affiliate marketing is also more effective when paired with a great social media strategy.
Affiliate marketing can be a cost-effective strategy to boost ROI if you’re low on capital. It has low start-up costs with massive returns.
Low Start-up and Running Costs
Affiliate marketing start-up and running costs aren’t just low, they’re also flexible. This makes it easier to scale and maintain. The costs vary from brand to brand.
Some choose to pay affiliates on a per-sale basis, while others pay a percentage of the sale price or a fixed fee.
Large brands with capital to spare can even offer commissions to affiliates who drive traffic to the website, even if those visitors don’t make a purchase.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to connect and build relationships with people. This is beneficial for both the short and long-term success of a brand.
They can reach new customers and build relationships with a diverse group of affiliates. Offering rewards and incentives to affiliates who perform can help strengthen these relationships.
Brands can also provide affiliates with resources such as marketing materials. With a good relationship, both brands and affiliates can grow together.
What are the best social media platforms for affiliate marketing?
There are a lot of ways to do affiliate marketing. Some content creators make quality videos featuring a product. Others even post memes with affiliate links in the caption.
Where you want to do affiliate marketing depends on your brand personality. But based on statistics, the following are the best platforms for running affiliate marketing programs:
YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world with over 2 billion logged-in users per month. This makes it one of the best platforms for reaching a wide audience.
Videos can easily show a product’s use case. It’s perfect for unboxing, product reviews, tutorials, and more.
TikTok is a popular platform that’s shaping content consumption on social media. It has a younger user demographic focused on popular culture.
This combination makes TikTok a melting pot of internet trends and a great platform for reaching specific audiences.
But what stands out for TikTok is its algorithm promotes engaging videos specifically catered to a user’s activity. That means affiliates have an easier time creating content for specific niches.
Facebook has the largest user base with 2.7 billion users making it a massive platform for affiliates to reach a diverse audience.
The platform has targeted advertising options for affiliates that narrow audiences down to specific demographics, interests, and locations.
Affiliates on Facebook can create a variety of content formats to promote products. They can post it on their own fan pages, join a community, a private group, and more.
Instagram focuses on visual formats. With the new features on the platform, it’s become one of the most popular tools for social media marketing.
You’ve got Reels, Stories, IGTV, Highlights, Instagram Shop, and even your Bio can be effective for affiliate marketing.
Twitter is most effective when you’re partnered with an affiliate who knows how to grab people’s attention. They have to be witty, engaging, and able to create click-worthy promos.
You’ve got 280 characters to make an impact here. So, most influencers or affiliates rely on humor and trends to get traffic and potential customers to brands.
Affiliates can even set themselves up as reliable source of information on the platform. But they need to post a lot, keep up with trends, and engage with their audience.
Getting Started With Affiliate Marketing on Social Media
Now that we know which social media platforms to go for, let’s discuss the best practices for setting up an affiliate marketing program for your brand.
Pick a Niche and a Suitable Social Media Platform
Choosing a niche helps your brands reach a specific demographic with higher engagement. But each can have a specific social media platform where they thrive.
For example, if you’re into beauty products, Instagram could be your go-to. According to a Harvard study, 82% of beauty shoppers use Instagram at least once per day.
Meanwhile, for products that need a more in-depth look, YouTube can be a great platform. Statistics suggest that 55% of consumers watch videos before deciding to buy a product.
Set Up Your Affiliate Marketing Program
Before going into the technical aspects of affiliate marketing, you need to consider two important factors:
- Conversions – Defines what actions will earn affiliates a commission. For most eCommerce brands, this follows a “pay-for-outcome” business model. It can also include email forms, free trial sign-ups, or subscriptions.
- Commissions – Defines how much affiliates get paid per conversion. This could either be a percentage rate or a flat rate of the product sale.
After you’ve thought about your brand’s affiliate marketing program guidelines, you need to choose which network or platform to manage it.
Popular options include Commission Junction, ShareASale, and Amazon Associates. These platforms provide the necessary tracking tools and payment processing capabilities.
Partner With Great Affiliates in Your Niche
Anybody can be an affiliate, they just need to pass the guidelines in your program. But you wouldn’t want just anybody being “affiliated” with your brand.
You need to choose people who produce quality content, are credible, and have a good brand image. They don’t even have to be the biggest influencer in your niche.
Research suggests that engagement rates can be up to 85% for influencers with 1,000 followers.
Study Your Competition
Affiliate marketing requires competitive research to see how your rivals generate traffic, revenue, and leads. It keeps you up-to-date on the latest trends and market shifts.
If your rivals don’t provide a certain product or service, you may offer it as part of your program and attract affiliates who want to promote it.
Become an Authority by Regularly Posting Content
Being an authority in a niche is something all brands should strive for. This can be done by implementing a solid content plan.
Doing so promotes topical authority. Any and every question about a product or service can be found on your site. Your brand becomes the go-to for certain topics which improve trust.
If you want to streamline this process, you can use social media automation to help schedule your content across your channels.
Track Your Numbers and Optimize
Affiliate marketing requires tracking KPIs to evaluate program performance and discover areas you can optimize. Without analytics, it’ll be hard to track the ROI of your affiliate program.
You can also integrate social media data in your sales funnel to improve your affiliate marketing campaigns.
Here’s a list of important KPIs to track:
- Number of Affiliates
- Conversion Rates
Affiliate marketing is one of the best strategies brands could implement because of its low-risk, high-reward business model. For it to be a success, consider the following:
- Choose the right social media platform and the right niche for your program.
- Research affiliate networks that can help manage your program like Amazon Associates.
- Find trustworthy and credible influencers/content creators to partner with your brand.
- Build your authority through quality content.
- Optimize your strategy using data from analytics.
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