Social media platforms have become some of the best places to find quality affiliates, but how exactly do you leverage them to expand your affiliate program?

If you already have a functioning affiliate program, you might have more to work with than you think; most people who are savvy enough to be affiliates in the first place are likely to have their own social media accounts, and are probably regular users, too. But, don’t discount your own social media presence, because this can be one of the best ways to expand your reach – and bring in new affiliates!

In this post, we break it all down to help you grow your affiliate program using social media.

Why is social media important?

When it comes to nurturing a healthy affiliate program, your authority matters. Why should affiliates want to sign up? And why should their customers want to buy from you? If your online presence (read: social media presence) is strong, it communicates competence, quality, and relevance – and that not only inspires customer confidence; it also attracts followers.

The thing about followers

Building a following on social media may seem silly if you’re not privy to the benefits. But it isn’t just for fitness gurus, travel bloggers, and lifestyle influencers; a significant social media following can do wonders for all aspects of your business – affiliate marketing included!

Assuming they follow you because they’re interested in what you post, social media followers can actually make good affiliates, at minimum because they’re pre-qualified to be a good match for your affiliate program. Likes, comments, and general engagement can give you insights into demographics and who to target, and all major social platforms offer analytic data that you can utilize to your benefit. Your followers are also likely to have followers of their own, which you can usually get access to on Instagram and Twitter, for example.

The basics of building a following

Social media is driven by content, so that’s where you want to focus your efforts. Whether it’s photos, blog posts, videos, useful links, or commentary, if you give people something interesting or useful on a regular basis, they will want to follow you! And the more organic followers you have, the more you’re able to bring in new, quality affiliates.

Here are a few basic guidelines for building a following:

  • Be consistent. When you stick to a regular schedule, your followers come to see you as an authority and they know what to expect – plus, it helps to define your brand voice. It’s also worth noting that prospective affiliates are more likely to want to get involved if they see that you’re an active and engaged member of the community.
  • Provide value. Perhaps the single best thing you can do for your business in general is to focus on the value you’re providing. It’s a sure-fire way to attract followers as well as affiliates who are looking for valuable content that they can pass on to their own followers or customers.
  • Engage and contribute. Getting active in social media discussions can be huge for growing your affiliate program, especially in the case of professional and interest-based groups. These groups can be a productive source of professionals, specialists, dedicated hobbyists, and affiliates who are on the lookout for partnerships – and contributing to conversations draws attention to your name (and business), and connects you with people you might not have encountered otherwise!

Some examples of niche community sources:

  • Facebook groups. Often interest-based, these groups can get your name and message in front of a lot of people who may be prequalified as affiliates
  • LinkedIn groups. Specifically dedicated to networking, LinkedIn is already a source for affiliates – even more so niche groups.
  • Twitter topics. Interacting with people within your target community can bring prospective affiliates your way. Engage with notable community leaders and verified “blue check mark” industry names to maximize your exposure.
  • Instagram hashtags and influencers. Instagram can be particularly effective for affiliate marketing because of the engaging nature of hashtag topics as well as the prevalence of influencers on the platform. If you haven’t read our recent post about incorporating influencers into your affiliate marketing strategy, check it out!
  • Slack channels. Designed for the purpose of interacting with others within certain groups and topics, Slack is basically the modern chat room for professionals. It’s easy to direct message specific people, as well!
  • Subreddits. There’s an entire affiliate marketing community on Reddit, including a subreddit for posting affiliate program offers.
  • YouTube channels. Are there any well-known vloggers, product reviewers, specialists, or other YouTubers within your niche? Stay up-to-date with their content, and comment on their videos to keep yourself in the loop and visible to them and their audiences.

Use different social platforms to reach different audience segments

Do you know where your current affiliate base is most active? What about their followers or customers, and your own customers? What platforms are most effective for creating buzz around your business, or engaging within your niche?

You can use different social platforms for different purposes. For example, if you have a highly visual product (such as motion graphics or videos), you might decide to concentrate your efforts on platforms like YouTube and Instagram due to their visual orientation. Or, maybe your affiliates are coming from LinkedIn and Twitter and you decide to get more active in communities and conversations over there.

Equipping your existing affiliates for social media success

Another way to grow your affiliate program is to maximize your existing affiliates’ results – and one way to do that is to support their social media efforts. If you’ve determined the sources of your affiliate traffic, you might decide to give out specific incentives or discount codes based on that information.

Or, you could focus your growth efforts on certain platforms that are particularly well-suited for your goals. Instagram, for example, is known for facilitating the success of influencers, which could be a good option if you want to reach a lot of prospective affiliates quickly. You could even promote or repost the content of your affiliates; boosting their profiles can only benefit you, assuming it’s brand-appropriate, of course!

Consider giving your affiliates guidelines for posting your promotions, as well as things like platform-specific creatives like images that are the correct aspect ratio, copy that works well on certain platforms (copy that’s 280 characters of less for Twitter, for example), and other branding materials. Many social media services are very visually-oriented, but you may find that certain media formats work better for in certain places.

Live-streaming

Various social media platforms now have a live-streaming functionality. Live-streaming is known for its benefits when it comes to engagement, but there are a variety of ways you can use this feature to grow your affiliate program, including:

  • Giving your followers behind-the-scenes footage that establishes a sense of transparency and relatability.
  • Talking directly to prospective affiliates about your program and what they can gain from it.
  • Showcasing the benefits of your program, such as increased financial freedom, a luxury lifestyle, exciting partnerships, and exclusive deals, access, and events.
  • Hosting Q&A sessions that give people the opportunity to ask you questions and find our more about your program. For example, you can use these kinds of sessions to educate, inform, or entertain your audience, while including information about your affiliate program in a low-pressure way.

It’s all about communication!

Social media is an extension of your business; it’s the place where people will go to first to find out the latest news, offers, and information, and it’s one of the best places to engage your audience. In fact, it’s a crucial aspect of your business if you want to create true brand awareness.

In terms of affiliates, all of this applies! But the effects can be exponentially greater due to the extensive reach that affiliates can achieve for your brand. There’s a reason why social media is so popular – and using it effectively can provide the extra momentum that will help your affiliate program flourish!

How have you leveraged social media to grow your own affiliate program? What has given you the biggest results? Leave a comment below!

Mandy Jones

About the author: Mandy is a content writer at EDD, singer/songwriter/musician, and founder of Looplicious. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, she's a frequent traveler and animal lover with a passion for creativity and maker culture.

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