Social Networking Secrets of Super Affiliates
Every time someone new enters the world of Internet marketing, they pose one question to seasoned veterans of this career: “What’s the fastest and easiest way to make money?”
Of course, affiliate marketing is usually at the forefront of the various options because it requires no product creation – just promotion. So countless men and women jump into that income stream, not quite understanding that it, too requires a healthy dose of strategy and hard work.
There are many ways to earn as an affiliate, including paid options where you boost your posts or fork over funds for top positioning in a niche. But none of those is quite as powerful as being able to truly engage your audience on top social networking sites.
Super affiliates are those who look at their audience as a long-term investment, not a one-time visitor who happens to stop by and purchase something through their link.
They’re the ones who cultivate a list and form a relationship and bond with their audience – even if (for starters) they’re only promoting other people’s products to their customers.
When it comes to affiliate earnings, social platforms can be potent in terms of profits – but just signing up and having a presence isn’t enough. It won’t cut it if all you do is post links over and over again.
Let’s look at five things that set the Super Affiliates apart in terms of making the most of their investment of time and branding efforts on these platforms.
Tap Into the Best Networks for Your Niche
Before you start slapping content up everywhere, you need to be choosy about where you talk about your promotions. Not every site is perfect for every niche when you’re an affiliate.
Could you be on al of them?
But when it comes to choosing between Pinterest and LinkedIn when you’re promoting the cooking niche, there’s no comparison. LinkedIn is a great social networking site for entrepreneurs in the make money or financial niche, among others.
But Pinterest is unparalleled when it comes to sharing recipes and cooking strategies. It’s where your audience is – and the platform allows you to share beautiful, eye-catching images that result in multiple clickthroughs.
What else is Pinterest good for besides cooking and recipes?
- The beauty and fashion niche
- The parenting niche
- The fitness and diet niche
- The self help and motivational niche (and more)
Pinterest allows you to link out using your affiliate links, but as a Super Affiliate, your goal isn’t just to get the click, but to capture the name and email address of the person so you can get many clickthroughs from them over the coming weeks, months and years.
Facebook is another top social networking site. While some of the younger generations are leaving for hot spots like Instagram and Tumblr, it’s still one of the top sites for socialization.
Super Affiliates know something newbies don’t – you don’t go on here to spam your family and friends with affiliate links. Instead, you create pages that cater to your specific niche audience, and then you build your page up into a thriving community.
Twitter is a short but sweet social networking site. At 140 characters, you’re limited in terms of promotions – but not by how often you can post, how many people you can reach, or what media format you can include.
While you might not personally prefer Twitter as your social platform of choice, it can’t be ignored that this is where many consumers go to follow inspirational leaders of a niche.
From dietary advice to self help and more – Twitter lets users connect and get quick updates from people who post about their topics. Super Affiliates know the difference between spamming anonymously and interacting wisely.
Google Plus hasn’t gained mainstream traction yet, but there’s no denying its power in the SERPs. While many of your niche audience may not yet be on G+, it’s a good idea to participate there regardless – because each post gets indexed in Google and the Super Affiliates get the clickthroughs.
Still, it’s great for many niches – and there are live hangouts, groups and more that you can be part of to help you network your way to extreme Super Affiliate success.
What about the other social networking sites?
There are dozens upon dozens of them. And you should know where your audience is mobilizing. If they’re going to Instagram in droves, then get there, set up an account and integrate yourself with the community.
But if there are no participants (aside from G+), then spend your time elsewhere – even if that means going to forums for your topic or interacting as a participant on other peoples’ blogs where your name is hyperlinked back to your affiliate site, but your engagement is genuine.
Manage Your Socialization Time Wisely
A true Super Affiliate must spend all day on social networks, right? They have huge followings, answer peoples’ questions and respond to others’ posts. But the reality is, their socialization takes up very little time in their day.
They simply have a plan going in, and you’re about to learn what that is.
Prepare your posts ahead of time for each social network. If you wait to write out your messages until you’re already logged in, then you run the risk of getting distracted and sucked in the stream of other people’s posts.
Log in and post your message first. You want to achieve that goal of helping drive traffic to the offers you’re promoting or the website you want people to visit so you can capture their information.
Look for any direct or private message alerts and respond to those. When someone takes the time to personally reach out to you, then as a niche leader (affiliate or not), you need to reply back.
They might be asking a question about a product you’re promoting, but whatever the communication, there’s a process going on of relationship building – and that breeds loyalty and trust in your recommendations.
Like comments on your previous posts. If you’re on Facebook or G+, then you can +1 or Like the comments other people have left on your shared posts. This lets them know you appreciate their participation.
Write one follow-up response that addresses each person who replied. Some marketers spend too much time developing a lengthy reply to each and every person.
They want to be acknowledged, but that doesn’t mean you have to write a paragraph to each person – especially if you’re just saying “thank you” or otherwise showing them appreciation.
Seek out a post based on a similar topic by someone you don’t yet interact with and comment or reply to it and Follow, Circle or Like them. This is networking at its finest.
By interacting with them first, on something they shared, you’re not being spammy – and they will often see what you have to offer. Their followers will see your interaction, follow you to see what you like to share on the social network, and sign up to follow you as well.
After your tasks are complete, click out until the next time you need to share something. During your workday, it’s not the time to sit scrolling forever through a Pinterest page (it never ends).
You want to pop in, do your tasks, and leave. Later, after the workday is over, if you want to relax and go in and spend more leisurely time engaging with others on things that may or may not be relevant to your niche, then go for it – but Super Affiliates don’t mix work with pleasure.
Increase Engagement with Questions and Teasers
Sometimes, an affiliate will sign up enthusiastically to a social network. They’ll post tons of great content and nobody ever responds. It might be that you’re not positioning your content to gain traction with any comments.
Remember, most people are lurkers. Unless you specifically have a call to action of some sort, chances are they’ll read your good information, nod in agreement, and scroll past.
Asking questions is one way you can get people to start commenting. Every Super Affiliate knows that posts like Facebook posts that get more action get seen by more people, and ultimately garner more success.
Teasers can be combined with questions to get people talking. Let’s use an example in the weight loss niche.
Let’s say you are an affiliate in the fitness niche. You wrote an article on your blog titled, “5 Best (and Worst) Pieces of Home Gym Equipment.” Your blog post will of course identify five poor decisions and five that you’re hoping to convert into sales.
So when you share this on your fitness Fan Page on Facebook, you might say something like this:
“I am shocked to see one of my pieces of home gym equipment listed as one of the worst buys (it’s #3 on the list), but after researching it, I have to agree. If you had to pick your #1 favorite from the list of the BEST which would you choose? I’ll reveal my choice tomorrow.”
This is something that does three things:
- It gets people to click through on your post because you’ve given them a teaser – and they’re curious about which one you owned that was bad.
- It encourages them to share their opinion. People love sharing their $0.02 – even on mundane issues – and you invited it.
- It reminds them to come back the next day for your reveal – where even more conversations can take place.
You can also invite your readers to share their own expertise. They love providing insight. So let’s say you listed the rowing machine as one of the most under-appreciated home gym equipment pieces.
You could ask, “Has anyone ever tried #6 on this list – either at home or in the gym? Seriously considering buying one, but the one at my local gym isn’t the good kind, so I want your opinions.”
You don’t always have to be the absolute omniscient leader who has every answer. Make this a community and get feedback from others, too. If even one of your readers has tried it and gives it a good word, then it helps convert your post into a sale.
Boost Likes and Shares with Attention-Grabbing Media
Text is awesome. It conveys messages, delivers strong calls to action – and helps build bonds between you and your readers. But while regular affiliates are out there slinging words, Super Affiliates know the power in adding something more.
Images are very important to social networking success as an affiliate. It’s been proven that they get more engagement than text-only posts. That means comments, Likes, shares, and Retweets – all go up when pictures are involved.
If you’re linking to one of your blog posts, then try to make sure you have at least one image in the post. At the time you log in to share on Facebook, for instance, it will grab the image from your blog post and automatically share it with your Fans alongside the hyperlink.
But you can always upload an image directly to the social network, too. Images can be used free (from sites like morguefile.com). Or, you can purchase stock images from sites like depositphotos.com or istockphotos.com.
Another thing that goes over well – especially on G+ and Facebook – are memes. Memes in most affiliate niche marketing are inspirational quotes. The company Hasfit is great at this.
It’s a company who has a website with free workouts. So their Facebook is a mix of tips, videos, memes and more. Here is a sampling of some of their meme quotes (and each one has their URL at the bottom so that when it gets shared by people who have “Liked” their page, everyone knows what site to go to:
- What I Want: To Be Known as the Fit Friend
- Train Insane or Remain the Same
- I Don’t Have to Exercise; I Get to Exercise
- “I Don’t Have Time to Exercise” Is the Grownup Version of “The Dog Ate My Homework.”
These are all inspiring and motivational memes that get shared hundreds of times. If you’re an affiliate for fitness gear, then this is the type of thing you want to share to get traffic back to your site.
You can use tools that help you create memes. Make sure you’re careful about stealing images because even though it’s online, that doesn’t mean it’s free for you to use.
Images aren’t the only thing that work well in social networks. Super Affiliates like to use video. Regular affiliates make the huge mistake of going to YouTube, finding someone else’s affiliate video, and using that in their own blog and social posts.
All you’re doing there is working for the competition. What you want to do is use video that promotes your own site. Here are some ideas on how you can use video:
Record yourself giving tips or advice. If you’re promoting juicers, then you can make a quick 2 minute videos about making your favorite recipe with a specific brand of juicer.
If you’re too camera-shy to be on video, then you can use a screen capture tool like Camtasia or the freeware version of it. You can go to Amazon.com for instance and talk about a product as they’re looking at the screen.
You’re not reading the product listing, but you’re using it as curated content to give your own opinions about it. So for instance, let’s say you were promoting mixers.
You know for a fact that one mixer can’t handle pizza dough. But it’s listed as one that does. You can go to that listing and warn your viewers about your experience, and then show them one that truly does handle it (of course with more in depth discussion) – and let them know you’ll include the link below the video.
Another thing you can do is create a PowerPoint presentation and record that, adding your audio narration to it. And some people even pay for a cartoon drawing video where the narration is done alongside fast drawing of relevant pictures.
For example, if you were talking about how you were once a scrawny young man, the cartoon might draw that – and then you say you went to a bulked up muscle man – it can “erase” the scrawny cartoon and draw a muscular man in its place.
You can share images in your blog post, but also in the social networking sites themselves. Just make sure you always include your URL in text on the screen so that when those ordinary affiliates go grab a video to use in their promotions, you’ll be the one that benefits from their mistake.
Leverage the Activity of Your Competition
So many small-minded affiliates are focused on their own activities that they never give thought to the competition unless it’s in terms of jealousy or spying. Spying on your competition can be smart marketing, but so it networking with them.
These sites are called social networks for a reason – they’re meant for the sharing of ideas and the communication between like-minded individuals. Whether you’re on Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus or Facebook, you want to follow and engage with people who are pitted against you in an effort to convert sales.
Super Affiliates aren’t stingy – they’re smart. They seek out competitors to share audiences because it becomes mutually beneficial to partner up (even if it’s just in public conversations) where the audience can see two niche leaders interacting.
On Twitter, start by looking for leaders in your niche who have more Followers than you do. Don’t just follow them back – start engaging with their Tweets. Look for those who actually get into conversations on Twitter – because those will eventually benefit you most.
For example, if you are in the coffee niche, find another coffee connoisseur to engage with. Now if you looked for someone into coffee, for example, you might someone like this guy: https://twitter.com/coffee_dad and instantly you’re thinking, “113,000 followers? Bingo!”
But look at several things:
- He’s not following anyone back.
- He doesn’t interact with anyone
He’s not a genuine niche leader. So how about someone like Starbucks? Starbucks is a brand, and it’s certainly okay to interact with them – but a corporation of that size isn’t going to be helping you with engagement.
But here is someone who would: https://twitter.com/CoffeeGeek – plenty of followers, regular conversations, expertise, and friendly. So just size up the people you plan to follow and interact with for those criteria.
The last thing you want to be doing is logging on and trying to interact with people who don’t respond. What a time waster!
On Facebook, make sure you’re logged in as your Fan Page before you go liking other Fan Pages. Once you’re there, like on the Hasfit, for example, you participate in the conversations.
Super Affiliates are never spammy. They’re stealth. They know the difference between saying, “Hey everyone – come see my page!” and “Oh I love this running quote you posted. Reminded me that it’s time for a new pair of running shoes!”
When people see your comment, they see your fan page name – so make sure it reflects your niche perfectly, such as, “Marathon Maniacs” or something that reeks of fitness enthusiasm.
When you think of social networking, think of it in terms of cross-pollination. You’re the busy bee out there spreading ideas and making things grow – only instead of flowers, it’s branding and profits through ideas and conversations!