Affiliate marketing, which involves the participation of a publisher or “affiliate” in marketing a particular product, service or campaign, is undeniably one of the oldest and most effective online marketing models today, and most probably even of tomorrow.
It is advantageous for businesses or advertisers, since they would be able to promote their products better for less cost, only having to pay when there is actual conversion into sales, clicks or client participation (signing up, completion of survey, etc.). It is also beneficial for publishers, since it can generate more income in addition to cost per impression or cost per click ads and other online money-making sources. For both parties, it is very convenient and cost efficient, since with effective use of strategies and tactics, there would be little need for supervision and management while willing buyers, clients or respondents come in. The list of affiliate marketing advantages can go on for miles, even more so when social media are involved.
Social Media Affiliate Marketing
The social media affiliate model, one of the five most commonly used affiliate marketing models, incorporates the use of social bookmarking, forum marketing, social media networks, social search, groups, communities and other tools provided by social networking sites into the campaign. Other affiliate business models include:
- PPC (Pay Per Click) Affiliate Model, which makes use of PPC to generate traffic;
- Email Affiliate Model, which uses email marketing to several lists in many different niches;
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Affiliate Model, which employs SEO (with the aid of keyword research) to generate more organic traffic from search engines like Google and Yahoo; and
- Content Affiliate Model, which utilizes blogging and the distribution of various media content such as articles, images and videos on the web to get site traffic and higher search engine rankings.
Unlike the other four models, the social media affiliate model makes use of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter for more outreach and conversion. It combines content affiliate marketing methods with social media capabilities, maximizing the potential of the enormous and continuously growing social media nations.
Affiliate Marketing for Facebook
Of the social networking sites currently dominating the cyber scene, Facebook is definitely one of the best received, if not the most popular. With over 845 million monthly active users by the end of 2011, Facebook is undeniably one of the best venues to do social media affiliate marketing in. Facebook also ranks first in time spent by Internet users and in advertisement impressions. Furthermore, it is second only to Google sites in terms of total page or site visits.
Despite this, only about 1% of transactions happen on Facebook. While page and status likes could go up to several millions, sales have not reached even a tenth of the numbers.
Advantages of Affiliate Marketing in Facebook
As earlier mentioned, Facebook, with its incessantly ballooning user base and continuous enhancements, offers countless opportunities for businesses or advertisers, affiliates, and even consumers. The continuously growing community provides businesses and affiliates with an easier and faster means to reach out to more consumers or clients, which could also lead to better sales and popularity.
However, as of press time, Facebook is a tad too conservative when it comes to accepting ads and marketing campaigns within its platform. Offers are only made available to Facebook-managed advertising clients. Posts on offers are sent to “fans” through the news feed; and calls to action (such as “buy me” or “shop now”), product prices and brand images are prohibited. However, there is no telling on what more are in store for the Internet’s fastest growing and evolving social networking site.
Facebook Affiliate Marketing Tips for the Future
In a presentation on Affiliate Marketing for Facebook by Marc Phillips of Skumatic, he said that social commerce and affiliate marketing could grow about 10 times over in the next few years, expanding from $3 billion to $30 billion. Most of which, he said, would be because of affiliate marketing efforts. If Facebook pushed through with integrating affiliate marketing-friendly tools, apps, features and options into its platform and interface, this would not be virtually impossible.
According to Phillips, with plans of Product or Ad Tickers and Wishlists on Facebook, Facebook users could go beyond “likes” and move on to “want”, “own” and “love”. Thus, taking the future of Facebook and affiliate marketing into consideration, here are some tips that could get businesses the best out of what the combination of the two could offer:
- Make sure to let your business’ Facebook page scream of your branding. Make full use of your timeline cover photo to serve as your company or product banner, and of your profile picture to reinforce identity.
- Create a commerce platform straight on your Facebook page and put purchase options on the main page, as well as on product pages, images or videos. Should there be a “shop now” button in the future, don’t forget to append them to every product or service.
- Feed your visitors’ visual hunger: provide them with high quality images and videos that they easily get attracted to.
- Choose to market products that are relatively easy to sell. Usually, these are the things that people would use everyday be it at home, at work, in school, or simply in everyday situations.
- When it comes to “marketing” other things such as surveys and memberships, make sure to choose those that are practical and won’t take too much time and effort for users to accomplish.
- According to Phillips, 85% of visitors look above the wall. While 12 applications can be placed on top, only four apps will be prominent, so make it a point to choose your top four apps well.
Fortunately for affiliate marketers, Facebook Timeline has already moved ads from the right side bar to the middle section where the news feeds of status updates, posts and user comments used to be. Facebook is also targeting news feeds as a landing point of ads and other marketing campaigns. With these and more possible marketing-friendly Facebook changes in mind, affiliate marketing’s growth is almost inevitable. And so is the income growth of advertisers and marketers alike.
Kyle Kam is a marketing consultant for Affilorama, an affiliate marketing portal. You can also check their affiliate marketing blog and affiliate marketing forum for more tips and information about affiliate marketing. They also offer, free affiliate marketing lessons for beginning and advance affiliates.