Lately, I've been linking to various articles on the AMWSO Facebook page discussing social media and how people are using it for business and affiliate promotion. (BTW, do give us a "Like" if you find the content valuable. I do try to get some useful content on our Facebook page at least daily.)
For this article, I'd like to discuss what tools affiliate managers can make available for affiliates to better promote, specifically, on social media sites. Regular banners and text links to the home page (or even to product pages), aren't necessarily the best tool for effective social media promotion. So what does work effectively?
It's not too perplexing a riddle if you really think about it. Just take a look at your own Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or Youtube stream and see what type of things get shared the most and receive the most attention; graphics, pictures, videos, and articles.
I can't think of a successful blog or news site that hasn't utilized info-graphics at one time or another. The better designed info-graphics truly engage the reader for more than a few seconds, and they get shared virally. I've never run across any complaints that someone is sharing too many info-graphics.
Creating a good info-graphic though is a challenge. There's really a lot more to it than just putting a good graphic designer on the case, and it's something I'll definitely be writing about in detail within the next couple weeks.
Articles, (along with coupons and deal links for Twitter specifically), are a traditional affiliate tool that still works well in Social Media. Article content is great for posting on affiliate blogs that can be linked to from social media sites, or straight posting to Facebook and G+ to be shared and commented on.
One important note that applies for info-graphics and for article content; give the affiliates exclusive access to this material (at least for a specified amount of time). If you just provide them material that you are already using on your own blog or social media presence, it will greatly lessen the value of the tool. To help spur adoption, you could specify to affiliates that you're making the tool exclusive to affiliate use for a period of XX days (perhaps 60 days). After which, you reserve the right to use the content or graphic yourself.
Another thing to consider would be to make certain tools exclusive to a smaller sub-set of affiliates. If you really want to see promotion on a certain affiliate site or blog or Facebook page, let that affiliate know that only they have access to the tool for a specified period of time.
Well, this one is possibly the most obvious (besides great pictures) tool for social media promotion. Too really do videos right for affiliates will take a bit of additional work on your (the affiliate manager's end) to leverage the best use. Again, there's so much I can write about this I will definitely make this subject it's own blog post.
But just to touch on the highlights:
Affiliate Links to Blogs
Ok, so every affiliate program has text links to their home page, or to different subject pages, and deep-linking to individual product pages. But how about affiliate links to the company blog or news page? As part of your company's overall social media strategy, you're probably blogging with the idea for blog posting to be shared via social media. Well, why not give a little incentive to affiliates to share out your blog postings by giving them an affiliate link to postings?
Now, some social media platforms get a little bit wonky about affiliate links examples being Pinterest and Reddit. A possible way around this would be to host separate pages with your blog articles for affiliates with their individual affiliate links embedded into the page.
How exactly does this work? The affiliate will post the link to their specific embedded blog posting on your site on social media. The customer clicks through that link, lands on your site for the affiliate hosted blog post. On that post, you've embedded the affiliate links, so anywhere the visitor clicks on the blog post to go to another page on your site, affiliate tracking is triggered.
The advantage to the affiliate; they don't have to worry about "affiliate link banning" on social media sites. Also it lend more credibility that the link is going directly to the merchant site. The advantage to you, is that your content is shared out there, you get SEO Social benefit for the link, and you have the opportunity now to close a new customer.
Hosted/embedded pages for individual affiliates takes a bit more effort on your part, and to help manage the workload, of course you could limit the availability of this tool to certain affiliate or to the first 10 affiliates who request it.
Now, these are just a few ideas to help manage your affiliate program and provide effective tools for affiliate social media promotion. Would love to hear some of your ideas or examples as well.
I hope you find this useful, and for other general and getting started affiliate marketing tips do check out our AMWSO Affiliate Marketing Help page. Also, if you have found this useful, please do throw us a Like via Facebook or a +1 via Google+ (widget below).