Brand awareness and loyalty

Affiliate marketing for social media – how can your business benefit?

  • 10 Minutes
Discover how your business can benefit from affiliate marketing for social media and how you can get started.

Discover how your business can benefit from affiliate marketing for social media and how you can get started.

These days, almost every brand out there includes influencer marketing in their budgets. Influencer marketing has increased in popularity every year, with the total annual spend now predicted to reach $4.62 billion in 2023. There’s a big reason for this. Word of mouth marketing is one of the most impactful marketing channels out there.

Influencer marketing is so successful because influencers share so much of their lives that people see them as their friends, so they trust them more than they would a stranger. And the statistics back this up too. Up to 90% of people are more likely to trust a recommendation, even from a stranger.

In a survey by Statista, 17% of respondents from the US said that they bought products because an influencer recommended or advertised them. In countries like Brazil and China, those figures are higher.

Influencer efficacy statistics from Statista

Image source: Statista

Additionally, 53% of people worldwide thought that influencers were most effective at promoting beauty or personal care products. Clothes and accessories came in second, followed by food, cars, electronics, and travel.

But influencer marketing can be expensive for brands, and it can be hard to see how much it is directly impacting your bottom line. Ensuring that you are getting value from these partnerships is essential, and often there is a lack of accountability. But with an influencer affiliate program, you can change that.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is an excellent way for brands to work with influencers (and other websites) to maximize their revenue from influencer campaigns. You pay the influencer a percentage commission on every successful sale referred to your business. 

Because you track results, you can measure actual results via the sales you get, and there is more accountability than the standard performance indicators of an influencer campaign.

Because an influencer is getting a commission on any sales they drive, it can help reduce influencers’ fees for campaigns. The influencer receives a percentage commission of the sales they refer. 

As an additional benefit, you get to see what’s working to drive sales and what isn’t. It’s a great way to reward influencers for talking about your business.

To see these in action, here are a couple of examples of influencer affiliate campaigns:

@ the green spring home Instagram post showing off a coffee maker in a home

This example from thegreenspringhome for Walmart encourages people to find her shop in the LTK app, where people can click and then purchase. With every purchase, she will earn commission on any sales. 

In this example below, Marisa from Bumblebee Apothecary creates valuable content with her videos and adds affiliate links to several different things in the YouTube description. When people click on her links, they will get directed to the store. If they buy, she will earn a percentage commission on those sales.

YouTube video starring cooking influencer Becky Plotner
YouTube description with lots of links out to products and people mentioned in the video

Image source: Youtube

This example from Rachel Meaders shows video content of an alarm clock that also charges your phone. There is a link in her bio to click through to buy. 

@ rachel _ meaders TikTok showing off a digital clock

Image source: Rachel Meaders / TikTok

Now that you understand what an affiliate campaign from an influencer looks like let’s talk about the benefits.

The benefits of social media affiliate marketing

There are many benefits to starting an influencer affiliate program, and we’ll go through them now. It’s important because it positively impacts the brand’s bottom line, conversion rates, sales, and revenue.

Pay for performance – low risk and low cost

While there are many different payment models with influencers, you will only pay for performance (as long as an influencer is happy with the affiliate payment model). That means no referrals, no commissions. Affiliate marketing is a low-risk marketing channel compared to other marketing channels where the risk is much higher.

Even if the influencer has set rates for social media posts and you have to pay additional costs for campaigns, you are free to negotiate those prices and include pay per performance as part of the payment model. 

Because affiliate marketing is low-risk, you can experiment more with this channel to see what works and what doesn’t with specific influencers and your business overall.

Drive revenue and sales

Increasing revenue and sales is one of the most critical KPIs businesses have. It’s essential to make a profit. 

Influencer marketing is such an impactful channel that the people that come to your store are more likely to convert because they have already been convinced by the influencer that they want what you have.

The probability for conversion is even higher if you give the influencer a coupon code to share with their audiences. Then they are more incentivized to buy.

Heavily targeted promotions

Working with influencers who have a similar audience to your brand means that you will get very targeted promotions. If your audience is not aligned with theirs, or at least similar, then their post will not connect on the same level, and it won’t convert as much or get the desired results you want.

If you know the influencer’s audience aligns with your brand, it will impact your marketing. The influencer knows best what works with their audience and what doesn’t so that it will be more targeted towards them, and because the demographic fits, it will likely be more effective.

@ genniferrose _ blog Instagram post of three coffee mugs, caption talks about quaratine craziness and her favorite Etsy shops.

Affiliate campaign from Gennifer Rose, Instagram

High ROI

Affiliate marketing with influencers can have a high return on investment, especially when you consider having heavily targeted promotions that reach an audience similar to your brand. Pair with that the overall readiness to buy based on your influencer recommendation, and your ROI will increase.

Increase in traffic

Because people get influenced by word-of-mouth marketing, when an influencer makes a recommendation, more people are likely to come to your website to have a look around. Even if they don’t convert yet, it will benefit you in the long run if you have ways of capturing their email address (either with a popup or a bonus for signing up to the newsletter).

Working with multiple influencers will help increase your traffic as you are not only relying on one.

Increased brand awareness

Brand awareness is essential when you are just starting your business. If nobody knows who you are, it can be challenging to convince people to buy.

Working with influencers can help to spread the word about your business. So many brands use this approach. You have probably seen a brand you’ve never heard of before popping up all over Instagram because they have decided to run influencer marketing campaigns alongside their paid ads. 

If you have an influencer affiliate program, it incentivizes the influencers to work with you, and you will have more of a broad reach rather than just working with one influencer. Additionally, they are free to promote you on multiple social media channels, which is the beauty of it.

How to get started with an influencer affiliate marketing program

Now that you know there are several benefits to starting with affiliate marketing using influencers, including being a low-risk channel, increasing your sales and revenue, and increasing brand awareness, you’re ready to dive in. Here’s how you can get started with affiliate marketing.

Get clear on your goals

When starting with any marketing channel, you always start with what your goals are and how you will measure it. With affiliate marketing, it’s no different. Your goals could be increasing traffic by 10% or bumping up your revenue by 5%. Once you know your objectives, define how you’ll measure your goal. Knowing how you will measure your goals will help you set yourself up for success.

Check out your competitors and do market research

When starting with affiliate marketing, a great place to start is to check out your competitors to see if they have an affiliate program and what they are offering to influencers and other websites that sign up. That way, you can make an attractive offer for your influencers. 

Decide on your commission rates

When you decide on the commission rates you want to award influencers, it’s prudent to consider your profit margins and what you can afford to give away. Be sure to avoid going straight for the maximum amount because you have some wiggle room to negotiate other campaigns with increased commission rates.

Choose a tracking software

Being able to track the real return on investment of working with influencers is critical for your strategy. Knowing what works and what doesn’t helps you to do that.

Tracking software helps you see in real-time which influencers are driving sales and which campaigns are falling flat so you can tweak your strategy. It’s important to consider functionality, pricing, and integrations with your basket.

Find influencers to work with you

Finding the right influencers to work with you is critical for success. Including a landing page on your website and communicating in your email marketing that you are looking for influencers to work with will help you to get people to sign up for your program. It’s a good idea to look at the influencer’s audience to see if it aligns with your audience, that their size of following matches your goals, and you align on content and audience.

3 tips for working with influencer affiliates

While working with influencer affiliates might be new to you, it gets easier as you go along. Here are some tips to help you get started with an influencer affiliate program.

Brand affinity is important for getting influencers to work with you

Influencers are more easily persuaded to work with a brand if they know and love you already. That’s why brand affinity is vital. You can check this by following your brand mentions, looking for any tags of your brand in your feeds by influencers, and searching for brand hashtags to find great influencers. There are plenty of tools for tracking brand mention.

Coupon codes always perform well with influencers

Coupon codes have traditionally had a high conversion rate, even without influencers in the picture. The most significant benefit of issuing coupon codes to influencers is that the coupon incentivizes them to buy when their audience arrives at your website. 

Especially if there is an expiry date on the coupon code, and the coupon is exclusive, nobody else has that specific discount in the same period. That feeling of needing to buy because they don’t know when they will get the same value again will create more urgency.

Once a campaign is over, be sure to track your actual ROI

It is critical to track your return on investment for different campaigns that you run with influencers to help you to understand what helps to drive sales to your business. This way, you can tweak your strategy to fit what works. 

Of course, this can vary depending on the content, influencer, and coupon, but in principle, it can help you make more informed decisions with your strategy further down the line. 

Start your affiliate program

If you work with influencers, starting an affiliate program where they earn commission is a great way to track real return on investment via the sales they directly refer to you.

Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to reward influencers for talking about your brand and can help you increase brand awareness, create heavily targeted promotions, drive revenue and sales with lower risk and lower cost. In turn, this can mean an increased return on investment for your influencer campaigns.

Before you start and set up your affiliate program, it is critical that you get clear on your goals, check your competitors, do some market research, then choose your commission rates. You will also need a method of tracking these sales, and you can do that using tracking software. The final step is to invite influencers to join your affiliate program to promote you and drive sales to your website.

Bio: Ashley Howe is the content strategist at Tapfiliate, a turnkey affiliate, referral, and influencer marketing tracking software. 

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