How to Use Social Media for Affiliate Marketing
If you want to be a successful affiliate marketer, many people will tell you to start creating a blog and learn about search engine optimization. This is a valid strategy, and a great one for many people. But this is not the only way. Social media is a also great place for affiliate marketers to spend time sharing their content and getting clicks. In this article, we’ll talk about what may drive you toward certain social media platforms, and how to post on those platforms.
Rules of Thumb for Social Media Posting
It’s the easy way out to sign up for a social media profile and just post affiliate links. No one will care about you if you do it that way. Even if you have a nice message along with the link, that alone is not enough. Really, an affiliate marketer on social media should be similar to an affiliate marketer that runs a blog. The primary goal (at least to an external viewer) should be to educate or entertain – essentially, to provide value. Your affiliate links take a backseat, and you build trust by creating genuinely good content.
Think of social media like a bank account. Every time you create content that educates or entertains, that’s like making a deposit in your bank account. And every time you self-promote with an affiliate link, that’s like making a withdrawal. Just like a real bank account, you should be depositing a lot more than you’re withdrawing! Building up trust and a good rapport with your audience is key. As is building that audience in the first place. You won’t have an audience to talk to if you don’t make content that’s engaging. If you’re struggling to get a following, take a look at your content from an honest outside perspective. Would you interact with your content? Or would you just keep scrolling past it?
It’s also very important that you are transparent about affiliate links. Always remind people that a purchase from your post will give you a commission. This isn’t just common courtesy – many platforms have explicit rules about noting that you’re using affiliate links.
Instagram is a booming social media platform that has a lot of potential for affiliates. Since you need a photo with every post, it’s a great excuse to show off the product or service you’re promoting. Many photos should show you interacting with these products in your day-to-day life, in an organic way. Instagram is great for visual things like beauty products or clothing, but probably a bit harder for niches like software. That’s not to say it’s impossible, but beauty and clothing will have less barriers to entry on a platform like Instagram.
Instagram’s downfall comes in the form of links. While most social media sites allow for links in posts, Instagram does not. You can write all the text your heart desires, but links will not be clickable in posts. You are allowed one link on your profile page, so choose it well! You can change your link every time you post, to reflect the latest affiliate link, but that can be inefficient. Another choice is to link to a tool like Linktree, that allows you to put a list of links all on one page. This has the downside of being confusing to anyone who visits the page, however.
Instagram Stories are perhaps one of the greatest features of the app, because they allow for a more authentic experience. Sharing clips of your day through Stories (which expire after 24 hours) is a great way to connect with people and show that you’re a genuine human, and not just a content mill.
Instagram allows for up to 30 hashtags per post. These tags make your posts discoverable by people who would not have found you otherwise, so it is important to use at least a few relevant tags, including some niche ones. Data tends to show that less than 10 hashtags is ideal for most posts.
The app is primarily used by a younger audience, so consider relating to Gen Z and Millennials on Instagram.
Facebook is the largest social media platform around, and its universal popularity means that people in every age bracket are using the site. No matter your affiliate niche, there is a space on Facebook for it.
Facebook affiliate marketing works best when you’re operating off of a Facebook business page and not a personal profile. In addition to not having to annoy your existing friends, a business page allows for name customization, advertising tools, advanced analytics, scheduling posts, and more. Facebook ads can be highly targeted, so if you know what you’re doing with targeting, it can be worth it to dip your feet into paid advertising.
The biggest downside to Facebook is probably that it is so broad and can do so much. If the sheer breadth of Facebook is intimidating, you may want to start on a more focused social media platform.
Text, images, and video posts are all allowed on Facebook, and the site does a good job of showing links with a preview of the content. This means that any form of content will work on Facebook. They also have Groups, which can be niche-focused gatherings of like-minded people. You have to be careful about self-promoting in groups that you don’t own, but it can be a place to connect with people in your affiliate niche. On the flip side, if you can make a group of your own, and grow it to a reasonable size, then you’ll have a captive audience for your affiliate links.
Facebook only really demands a post or two a day, so this one is a lighter workload in terms of posting content.
Twitter is commonly thought of as the busiest social media platform, with a seemingly endless feed of posts coming in at all times. This means that not only can you post multiple times a day, but you should! To maximize visibility, no one would fault you for Tweeting 15 times a day. New posts can get buried so fast, that it’s important to keep a constant stream of content coming.
The site also makes use of hashtags for discoverability. You should always be sure to use a couple of relevant tags in your posts to attract new potential followers. A Retweet from the right person with the right audience can cause your post to blow up! Speaking of which, jumping on trending hashtags can be a great way to put your name into the larger conversation.
Twitter also has a great link shortener, so the 280-character limit shouldn’t get in the way even if your affiliate link is long and convoluted.
When it comes to doing research, Twitter is great. It has a fantastic search feature built-in, so you can see what other affiliate marketers are posting and get inspiration.
The main downside to Twitter, other than the fact that you may get lost in the noise, is how much time you’ll spend creating 10 to 15 Tweets for every day! Consider re-posting some content, rather than writing a whole new cache of Tweets for each day.
This is one for affiliate marketers in the business world. LinkedIn is known for being a job-hunting site and a place for professional networking, but it’s also a place for thought leaders and influencers in the business space. There have been incredibly popular video and text posts that dive deep into engaging storytelling. Which makes it a great place for affiliates to promote services that businesspeople would love to use.
If you’re promoting software, marketing tools, or B2B services, LinkedIn is the platform for you. On LinkedIn, you can interact directly with people that have real buying power and decision-making power, as well as business owners who are looking for tools to make their lives easier.
Are you camera-shy? If not, then consider bringing your affiliate marketing efforts to YouTube! YouTube is a video-only social media site, and it really appeals to any type of affiliate marketing. You can have a beauty channel and share affiliate links to the makeup you feature. You can have a gaming channel and share affiliate links to the hardware you use and the games you play.
People love to consume video content, and they often subscribe to channels that fit into a specific niche, rather than channels that cover a wide variety of disparate topics. So choose your content niche for affiliate marketing and then translate it into video content. If you like the idea of running a blog (or even if you already have one), you can consider making some of those articles and other blog posts into videos. It may be the same content, but putting your face and voice to it can make it resonate with people more strongly than just written words.
Video descriptions, which are placed below the video itself, allow a large amount of text including as many links as you want. Feel free to include affiliate links to multiple products per video!
“How-to” tutorials, product reviews, and “Top 10” videos often perform well on YouTube and are highly clickable. Notice that these examples are educational and entertaining, both of which are the key components of good content.
Unlike other social media platforms, content from YouTube often shows up in Google searches. So if one of your videos becomes relevant to a certain search term, you can find yourself showing up to users outside of YouTube itself. YouTube videos also link nicely when posted to other sites like Facebook and Twitter, so you can cross-post content if you are active on other platforms.
As an added bonus, YouTube can actually be monetized. Once your channel reaches a threshold of 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time within the last 12 months, it will be eligible for monetization, in which you will receive some money in exchange for ads being placed at the start of your videos.
YouTube is probably the biggest investment in equipment and time. You need to be able to record yourself in a well-lit location, have passable audio, and be able to edit a complete video. This takes skills and time that you may or may not have. On the other hand, YouTube can work well whether you’re posting once a day or once a week, as long as you are consistent in that posting schedule, so don’t feel pressured to pump out low-quality content just to say you made something.
Pinterest is similar to Instagram in its visual focus, but the content is often tailored to fashion, beauty, home improvement, and crafting topics. Purchasing is essentially baked into Pinterest. People use the platform to get inspiration and ideas for their own projects, so will often buy a product after seeing it there. For posting on Pinterest, share an aesthetically pleasing image of a product you’re an affiliate for and include the link. An ideal post will show how to use the product in an outfit or in a project, rather than just sharing an image of the product on a blank backdrop.
This platform has a primarily female audience, so keep that in mind when considering Pinterest. It is not necessarily ideal for every niche.
Keywords and groups will help immensely with your discoverability on Pinterest. Users can Pin your posts to their Boards, which are visible to other users. Once you end up on the board of someone with a decent following, you may see your own engagement increase.
Pinterest can benefit from 5 to 10 posts per day, which should be a medium workload.
These aren’t the only social media apps out there. Social media platforms rise and fall yearly. Google+ and Vine are a distant memory by now, and new sites have risen to take their place. These have potential for affiliates, but may require some more work to find your niche and create genuine content while still being able to share your links.
Tik Tok is a fairly new app to take the world by storm, featuring short videos of lip-synced songs or movie lines, amongst things. It is incredibly popular among Gen Z, and is a great choice if you’re a teen or young adult looking to get into affiliate marketing through social media.
Reddit features communities based on interests and niches. Most communities don’t take kindly to things like affiliate links and promoting yourself, but you can use Reddit for research into your niche, and seeing what people are talking about. Don’t exclusively use Reddit, but rather use it as a tool to educate yourself and keep a pulse on what’s new.
Tumblr is a microblogging site, and many of your favorite blogs may actually be hosted on Tumblr. It uses hashtags for discovering content, and supports text, video, images, audio, and links. Consider utilizing Tumblr if you already run a blog.
SnapChat is the app that made Stories popular, before apps like Instagram adopted the feature. Instagram has hindered SnapChat’s growth, but it’s still worth considering for marketing. Stories are highly engaging, but they make content on the platform limited.
Medium, like Tumblr, is a blogging platform that anyone can submit to. Consider writing blog posts on this platform so that they’re already on a well-known website that searchers may be willing to click into.
This is far from an exhaustive list, and there are plenty of other popular social media apps that you can tap into to spread the word of your affiliate marketing efforts!
Now that you know all about the best social media platforms for affiliate marketers, take a look at Grivio's favorite affiliate programs!