Social media is a proven way to drive traffic to your blog and affiliate programs. But it’s important that you follow best practices. It may only take a few minutes to write a Facebook post. However, that does not mean you should be careless.
In this article, we will give you tips for affiliate marketing on social platforms. We will also discuss how you can use live videos to get maximum engagement and profit.
Most companies allow you to share their products directly on social, but some don’t. Make sure you know what you can and cannot do. Also remember to include a disclosure every time you share an affiliate link.
Your legal requirement to disclose your relationship with companies, products, or services does not stop just because you’re not on your website. If you use an affiliate link, you must provide a disclosure. Since characters are limited on social platforms, you don’t need to use your entire disclosure statement from your blog.
Simply let your audience know that a link is for an affiliate product. Here are some common practices people use to disclose on social media:
- The use of hashtags: #ad, #affiliate, #afflink, #affiliatemarketing.
- A quick statement: “This is my affiliate link” or “Please use my affiliate link.”
- Linking back to a blog post instead of using a direct link to the affiliate company. This means your readers have more places to click, but they will see your standard affiliate disclosure along the way.
There isn’t a single best way to disclose on social media. So feel free to mix and match based on the platform. As always, make sure the affiliate disclosure comes before the link, even on social media. Disclose first; then link.
This is to ensure that your readers see the disclosure before clicking on a link. Some affiliate programs want to know where you plan to promote their products.
This includes listing all your social channels. The good news is that most such programs, including Amazon, allow you to make changes to your affiliate settings. If you forget to complete this step, or if you start using a new channel, you can go back and provide the necessary information.
Finally, platforms change. So keep your ear to the blogging community and make it a point to stay updated. Read the notices you receive from your affiliate programs.
Also, keep tabs on your preferred social platforms. For instance, in the early years Pinterest didn’t allow affiliate links. Now they do. But they frown upon redirects; sometimes these are even marked as spam. Pinterest’s Community Guidelines make it clear that your audience should know where they’re going when they click on a link. So post your actual affiliate link, not a cloaked or shortened link.
2. Rotate Your Content
If you constantly post deal after deal on social media, your readers may not appreciate it. (Unless you’re a deal site, in which case go ahead.) But if you’re a blogger who writes in a certain niche, make sure you have a balanced social media strategy.
This means rotating the type of content you share. For instance, if you’re a food blogger, you might post the following types of content:
- A link to a favorite recipe from your site.
- Curated content from other people (that your readers would appreciate).
- An image-based post.
- An affiliate product.
- A behind-the-scenes post.
- A personal photograph of you or your family in the kitchen.
You may decide to rotate three types of content or add in additional ones. There are no set rules here, and it’s important to experiment. But for most people, direct affiliate links will only be a small portion of the content shared. They shouldn’t make up your entire feed.
3. Match the Platform
When posting on social media, take note of what performs well on each channel. Instagram and Pinterest are both visual platforms.
However, the recommended image dimensions vary. Instagram posts usually have more hashtags. Twitter is better suited to short text posts whereas longer text posts can do well on Facebook. These are just a few of the differences.
Also, pay attention to the headlines you use in your social posts. Some headlines will do better than others. If you’re sharing a blog post, you don’t have to match the title on social media to the one on your blog. Experiment by trying different headlines for the same article.
This is a great way to learn more about what your audience likes. But as always, never use clickbait. Don’t mislead your audience to get more clicks on a post. When you take more time to match your content to each platform, you increase your reach, and ultimately, your clicks and sales.
4. Go Live
Live video performs well on social media. It allows your audience to connect with you in a way they haven’t before. It feels more personable and real compared to reading an article.
Many social media algorithms favor live video, and so it often has a wider reach than other post types. Done correctly, and consistently, live video helps you grow an engaged audience and increase your conversions on affiliate sales. Posting your first live video can be scary.
We both held back for a long time before taking the plunge. But when we did, we discovered that going live was a lot scarier in our imaginations. Your mind can go into overdrive when you think about putting yourself out there.
You worry about stumbling over your words and having to quit midstream. Or perhaps you’re scared that nobody will like your video… or even worse, they will leave nasty comments. The truth is that none of these terrible things happened to us.
And they won’t happen to you. Dive in and record your first live video. Then do it again. At first you may have just one, two, or even zero viewers. Next time you go live, a few more people will join. As the process becomes more familiar, your confidence and comfort levels grow over time.
To help you ease into live video, consider doing some pre-filmed videos first. You can also go live and then delete the post right away. Knowing that you have the power to delete removes the fear that you’ll be forever caught on camera looking foolish.
The first three times Lisa went live, she hit the delete button when she was done. Her dad caught one of them. But the other videos were practice attempts as she built up the courage to let her videos remain online. Now Lisa enjoys connecting with her audience via video. Her imagination doesn’t run away with her anymore.
5. Plan Your Talking Points
A common fear about going live is freezing up and having no idea what to say next. If you struggle with this, try writing out your talking points ahead of time. Here’s a framework you can use:
- Determine your theme/topic.
- Think through what you want to say.
- Write down your opening. For example: “Hi, it’s [name] from [website name].”
- Write down the first thing you want to say after you open. For example: “Today I want to tell you about [topic].”
- Create a bulleted list of your main talking points. This will help you stay on track after you get through the introduction.
- Know what your final point will be.
- Write down what you will say to close. Always include a call to action, for example: “Thanks for watching! I’m going to leave that link in the comments so you can go click on it now.”
The directions above are not the only way to plan a live video. Some people prefer to wing it; they find this more natural. Others write a word-for-word script and then memorize it. If you do this, be careful that you don’t come across as too forced or staged.
Experiment with videos to find what works for you and your audience. See what you are comfortable with and where you get the most engagement. What you do the first time may not be what you do the next. Be flexible and adjust as you grow.
Regardless of how you plan, you must have a purpose for each live video you create. Don’t hop online and meander your way through 10 painful minutes. This wastes your time and your audience’s (if they are kind enough to stick around).
Be clear about what you want to share with people. And get to the point quickly. Your video doesn’t have to be long to be effective. While brevity is often appreciated, don’t forget to provide value first. In other words, don’t jump on and say, “I just have to tell you about this amazing product. It’s going to change your life, and you must go buy it now. See the link in the comments. Bye!”
Avoid sounding like an infomercial. Instead, seep value into your video. Give a tutorial on how to use a feature of the item you’re sharing. Do a review and show how the product has changed your life. There are many ways to promote an affiliate product while still providing useful information.
6. Camera Position
Have you ever seen a live video where the speaker wasn’t looking directly at the camera? It isn’t a good experience for the viewer. The correct place for the lens of the camera is at, or just above, your eye level. Use a tripod or your webcam and boost your laptop higher with a stack of books.
Before you go live, turn on your video recorder and put your finger over the lens. Make sure you know where it is. Then, look directly into the camera. This helps your audience feel a connection with you. Also pay attention to how you are framed.
You don’t need a studio to go live. You can do it inside or outside, or even in your car. But take time to check the background as it appears on-screen before you hit record.
Do you have a bookshelf sticking out of your head? Do you have something unusual in the background that people are going to be staring at while you talk? Remove any distractions before you get started.
7. The Right Equipment
You don’t need expensive equipment to start going live. You can record videos with the camera on your smartphone and a tripod. Or you can use the camera built into your laptop.
If you find you’re doing a lot of video, you can invest in a standalone webcam and microphone once your online business is profitable. But this isn’t necessary. Lighting, however, is important. Though, again, you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on portable lights when starting out.
Instead, think about utilizing natural light. That’s why many people record in their car. They are surrounded by natural light, which helps them look great. Avoid standing under an overhead light or having your main light source behind you.
Both options can cast weird shadows. Ideally, you want to light yourself from the front. If possible, position a light on each side of you, outside of the camera frame, so that your face is lit and there are no distracting shadows.
But don’t stress too much over the details. It’s better to go live even without the best equipment and lighting. Your audience will appreciate the opportunity to get to know you better.
8. Remember Your Affiliate Link
When you’re ready to go live, plan what you want to say and decide how to integrate your affiliate product. And don’t forget to share the correct link. It’s easy to focus on what you are saying and how people are engaging with your video, then forget your original reason for going live. You still want to make some sales!
Here are a few ways you can share your affiliate link in a live video:
- Include the link in the comments below the post (Facebook).
- Overlay the text onto your video (Instagram).
- Ask people to comment, and you’ll send them the link.
- Spell the link out in the video (this usually works best with a shortened or cloaked link).