Social media like Twitter and Facebook have been with us now for a couple of years and they continue to grow and dominate.
Facebook now has more traffic than Google and it’s still growing at an ever increasing rate as they plug in more services. They are even adding web search!
For anyone who has been playing ostrich recently and not listening to the media, if Facebook was a country, it would be the 3rd biggest nation in the world! It has over 500 million members. That’s a lot of power and a heck of a lot of people to market to.
Using social media to make money
If you listen to the talk online and discussions in the community, most people are having a problem turning all these people into sales. Social media works differently to the normal forms of advertising that we are used to. The speed at which a message can move from one user to their friends quite often scares businesses yet excites them at the same time.
We have all those people who’ve got money in their pockets who are ready to spend yet it’s a mystery to most affiliate marketers how to get them to buy.
The answer is in the psychology of what you do, NOT in the process. The process is quite simple.
Step 1 – Create your account.
The first step to making affiliate sales from social media is that you may need to create multiple accounts. You should keep your personal account for you and your close friends. In most cases you won’t be selling to them and anyway, you want to keep your personal life private.
If you’re looking to promote your own products, you should set up a business account under your own name but use your full name or a shortened version of it e.g. Bradley or Brad or Bradly.
If you’re going to promote affiliate products, you might like to use a fictional name or nickname. Now some people might consider this unethical but it’s up to you. I’m just filling you in on what some successful social media affiliate marketers are doing.
You might like to think of it as a Non De Plume, like one used by authors.
Step 2 – Build your profile.
Build a complete profile for your new account including photos and background information. Take the time to fill this out fully so that anyone following you can read more about you and get a feel for your personality. Important Point: Here is the psychology bit…
Fill out your interests so that they show that you like one particular topic. For this example, I’m going to write as if I’m promoting fishing.
If you’re going to be promoting affiliate products about fishing then you need to talk about fishing in your profile. Picture yourself as a fishing nut who would drop a line into a bucket of water if you had 5 minutes spare just to see if there were fish in it.
Find some photos of fish or you and some friend fishing to use as your profile photo.
This is also the time when you include your first affiliate link. In both Twitter and Facebook, you can add a website URL.
- Take an affiliate product that is related to your profile’s interests.
- Go to Bit.ly and create an account.
- Make your affiliate link into a short URL that doesn’t show the affiliate code. You will also be able to track any clicks via Bit.ly.
- Take your new link and paste it into your “website” field.
- Save your changes.
This is your first money making step.
If anyone reads your profile and clicks the link to check your site, you might just pick up a few dollars for your efforts.
Step 3 – Find some friends to connect with.
You need to make friends and I’m not referring to people you know. Start to look for friends who share your interest in fishing. Use the search features in Facebook and Twitter to find updates where people talk about fishing or going fishing. As you find them, ask them to be your friend or follow them. You can also search for fishing groups or trending topics.
Remember that you may only be allowed to friend a limited amount of people each day. There are various thoughts on how many and “follow to follower” ratios but I suggest that you build it up steadily. If you were to friend 100 people a day, it would add up to 3000 by the end of a month if they all said yes. On Twitter, you will find many people who will follow you if you follow them first.
The key is to build a large group of people who share a common interest that you can promote products to.
Step 4 – Get involved with your friends
Start to add normal comments about you day. Find some good sites about fishing or items in the news and add them as updates for your friends to enjoy. You can also do this with videos from YouTube, especially funny ones. Everybody loves a laugh!
If you find that you don’t have enough hours in the day, you can automate this by using tools like TweetLater to set up a set of updates to be posted at different intervals over coming days. This will allow you to spend one afternoon working then leave your group on autopilot.
It’s a lot less personal but it depends on how you want to interact with your friends and followers.
If you have a group of people on both Facebook and Twitter interested in fishing, you can use Facebook applications that will post your tweets, from Twitter, into your Facebook updates. This allows you to work 2 groups in one shot.
Step 5 – Promote a product.
Find an affiliate product to promote that will appeal to your friends. Write a short update about how useful it was to you and add your affiliate link. Don’t forget to use Bit.ly to allow you to track clicks and cloak your ID.
Insert these offers regularly but not too often. There seems to be a range of different ratios for this but they seem to vary between every 5th and every 10th post once you have a reasonable size group of friends.
Don’t bury them in offers. You wouldn’t like being advertised at all the time so don’t do it to other people.
Besides, this is about building relationships and helping people improve their fishing, remember? Build the trust then make them an offer that will help them.
Step 6 – Grow often.
Now that you have started, keep building your group. It's an ongoing process that you need to repeat on a daily or weekly basis. You should keep your updates going and also add new friends.
Because some social media sites have a limit to the number of friends you can add, there may come a time when you need to build another profile and start again building a second group. With this new group, you might choose a more specific topic like Bass fishing or go for a completely new one like bike riding.
Get out and be sociable.
There you have it, social media for affiliate marketers… in a nutshell. Like any new technology, there is no set way to approach it and everyone has different method that they like to use.
If you have been trying to work out how you can make money as an affiliate by using social media, I hope that this gives you an angle to take and apply.
Remember, it’s “social” media so it’s about relationships. How deep or shallow you build those relationships is up to you. In my experience, deep relationships provide better long term income streams and a greater number of referrals.
Social media is not going away. It will only continue to grow and evolve as we become even more connected than we are now. Internet enabled phones, iPads and other devices are only helping to push the trends forward. Get a profile started today as tomorrow is a hundred years away in social media time.