Yes you can, but it should be mapped out as part of your affiliate marketing plan.
I love social media, for me it’s the fun part of marketing, it’s the part where you get to talk to prospects, build your brand recognition and make contacts. Why do you do this? Not just because it’s fun, but because it helps build trust and if you’re into affiliate marketing in a big way. You need to build trust with your followers and fans. Trust is what enables them to buy on your recommendations. Trust is what wins you big commissions. You can’t develop and cultivate trust until you know who you’re marketing to, and why.
How do you use social media for affiliate marketing?
You decide where your prospects hang out, and then you go to them. For some affiliate marketers it may be Facebook, for others it may be Twitter. You go to the prospect, where they feel happy and comfortable and that’s where you connect. Over time you’ll direct them back to your blog and email list, but when you start out you’re connecting with prospects in a gentle, non-threatening manner.
How do you know where they are?
Depending on what product you affiliate for, depends whether you’ll be given a customer profile. Some are very broad “This plugin is for everyone with a WordPress website” or quite specific “This is for WordPress users who are active pinners or users that love image marketing”. So you know these people are users of WordPress, and they probably hangout in the WordPress communities on Facebook, follow WordPress related hashtags and belong to Linkedin WordPress groups. If that’s where they are, then that’s where you should be.
If you don’t get this information about whom to sell the product too as an affiliate, then you will need to do a little research on where to find your prospects on social media.
When you know where your prospect hangs out, you now have to engage with them. That doesn’t mean stalk them relentlessly, it means listen and answer questions and RT them. The prospect gets to know you, interact with you and you build trust.
But you still don’t get to push your links out… no, not yet… And possibly not ever.
If you just want to push links on on social media, and you want to bypass the trust building exercises and the likeability factor, then you should jump straight to You Tube, Pinterest and your own Blog (and if you need more blog traffic you know where I am). Over on You Tube you will need to record videos demonstrating the product in action and include an annotation with your affiliate link, and in your description you need to write a captivating call to action and then add your affiliate link. Then you have to drive traffic to your video to get the views in order to get the sales.
How many affiliate sales can you expect directly from social media?
The 100/10/1 ratio best explains it. For every 100 people that view your video 10 people will click the link and 1 person will actually buy. You might want to rethink this strategy because unless you already have a strong following, this is going to take time to build.
Pinterest is one of the best places to grow a following fast. And you can create beautiful pins that when clicked go to an affiliate product. You can add a price so that you get the price ribbon on the pin and then people are aware that item can be purchased. The pins have to be incredibly strong visuals in order to get recognition and repinned (not so easy after all) and you can also pin your videos and affiliate reviews to Pinterest on a product board.
Back to where I was originally… Use social media to sign post people back to your own web properties and email lists so they enter your marketing and sales funnels.
There are some smart marketers who already have contacts and they have a terrific technique for getting people they know to purchase from their affiliate links. Would you like to know how they do it? Okay, here’s how they affiliate market to people they already know using social media (remember to tweak and adapt if for what you do).
- Export their contact’s email addresses from LinkedIn.
- Set up a Facebook advert for affiliate product with their link
- Create a custom audience of their LinkedIn contacts
- Advertise to the people who they know on LinkedIn on Facebook
- Make sales because people already know and trust them
And of course, there’s Slideshare.
Slideshare allow you to embed links into your slides before you upload them. This means you can include affiliate links here and make some sales. Share the slides on LinkedIn and again you’ll get views and make some sales, after you’ve shared on LinkedIn, go and pin your slides to your boards on Pinterest. Tweet these pins to drive traffic to your boards and you have traffic circulating all over social media back to your content.
In truth, it all comes back to the point right at the beginning – being where your audience is – you won’t make any sales on social media until people get to know and trust you, and pushing out affiliate links will just get you labelled a spammer. Take time to grow a following and build trust. You don’t need a huge amount of followers to make money. Don’t believe me? My WordPress plugins email list is my highest earning email list and it contains just 46 people. It has 100% open rate and when I promote something there, people click and buy.
They do so because I’ve built incredible trust with them through social media first.