Facebook has an active user base of nearly one billion people. That is more than three times the population of the United States, and nearly one seventh the population of the entire world.
With nearly one in every seven residents of planet Earth now on Facebook, it is easy to see the potential the platform has for savvy business owners. While some companies were slow to catch on and understand the potential of social media, marketing managers everywhere have been making up for lost time – setting up Facebook pages, building Twitter feeds and exploring emerging platforms as well.
Affiliate marketing in particular shows great promise when paired with social media sites like Facebook. This unique form of marketing has a long and successful history of allowing enterprising men and women to turn their online popularity into a steady stream of extra cash. Whether you have a single affiliate or dozens of eager companies in your corner, if you are not using Facebook you are missing out on a golden opportunity.
Of course marketing your affiliate programs on Facebook is not as easy as some people make it out to be. If it really was that simple, everyone would be doing it, and we would all be overnight Internet millionaires. Like everything else in the online world, affiliate marketing on Facebook can be tricky, and there are common pitfalls that can trap newcomers and shatter their dreams of easy riches.
At its heart Facebook is a public forum, a kind of party line for the 21st century. The public nature of the platform is both a strength and a weakness – it is a strength for smart marketers who take the time to do their homework and understand the unique nature of Facebook, but it is a big weakness for the unwary and those who rush to the site without taking time to learn the rules of the game.
Make Yourself Relevant Before You Start Selling
One of the biggest mistakes affiliate marketers make on Facebook is rushing into the selling phase without first laying the groundwork. No matter what you have to sell or how great your affiliate’s products are, you must first establish trust with your audience. Before you can start building a passive income, you need to actively engage with your target audience.
That means posting relevant content your Facebook friends and fans will actually want to read. Actively engaging with the niche you are targeting is an essential first step when it comes to affiliate marketing, and one that many newbies ignore at their peril.
Once you have the attention of your target audience, you can start to guide them to your affiliates. Start by posting a strong call to action, one designed to pique their interest and engage their curiosity. Once that is done, it is just a matter of posting a link to your company website and asking your Facebook followers to like the page.
If you do not already have a website, it is a good idea to keep the URL as simple and straightforward as possible. Having a website that is both engaging and easy for customers to remember is essential to building your brand.
Be sure that your website address and the address of your Facebook page both appear on all your company documents, from your business cards and brochures to your letterhead. Creating a consistent brand is vital in the 21st century, and it will only enhance your affiliate marketing efforts – both on Facebook and off.
Thinking in Pictures
The average Facebook feed contains a great deal of text, but the social media platform is essentially a visual medium. Studies have shown that posts with images generally have a greater level of interaction, including likes, comments and shares, than strictly text-based posts.
You do not have to hire a professional photographer to make your Facebook posts stand out and drive customers to your affiliates. Simple images are fine, and a quality snapshot can be just as effective, if not more, than a professional portrait. Remember, the goal is to engage with your customers on a personal level, and the images you post should be designed to serve that goal.
Facebook is an interactive medium, and communication there is a two-way street. Many newcomers to the platform simply set up a Facebook page, post a few affiliate links and wait for the cash to start rolling in. As you might expect, that is not exactly a recipe for success.
If you want to harness the power of Facebook for affiliate marketing, you need to consistently engage with your readers and post regular content updates. Having a posting schedule is essential, and it is not something you can leave to chance.
Large businesses often have dedicated personnel whose job it is to keep their Facebook pages, company blogs and Twitter feeds updated, but chances are you will not have that luxury. Most affiliate marketing operations are quite small, and that means the owner will probably be the one providing the updates.
No matter what kind of posting schedule you develop, it is important to check your page frequently and respond to customers promptly. The success of Facebook lies in its interactivity, and users expect retailers to be there to answer their questions and address their concerns. If you want your affiliates to be successful on the platform, you will need to stay active and engaged.
Question Your Audience
Facebook and other social media sites routinely spark conversations, and that can be a good thing for your business and your affiliates. If you want to be successful on the site, you will need to answer questions posed by your customers, but it is also important to ask questions of your own.
Facebook is the perfect outlet for finding out what your customers think and what they are looking for. Whether you set up a formal poll or just ask a few open-ended questions, you can learn a lot about the people who buy your products and the ones who are considering checking out your affiliates.
The more you know about your customers and what they want, the easier it will be to market your products and build your profits. From gathering demographic information to finding out what you are doing right – and wrong – Facebook is a powerful platform. Unfortunately, many newcomers fail to take full advantage of it and end up giving up in frustration. Learn from their mistakes by learning to engage with your customers.
Don’t Bite the Hand That Feeds You
Whether you are using Facebook to promote your own products or those of your affiliates, the site you build is a reflection of your company and an extension of your brand. Every post, every image and every customer engagement is part of your branding efforts.
That can be either good or bad, depending on how you use the site. Some new affiliate marketers make the mistake of publicly disagreeing or arguing with their customers, and that one mistake can be enough to sink their business.
They say there is no such thing as bad publicity, but experienced Facebook marketers know that is not the case. Getting into an online fight is just bad form, and it is bad for your business.
If you must argue or disagree with a customer, do it in private – not on a public forum like your company Facebook page. Reaching out to disgruntled customers can be an effective strategy, but only if it is done the right way.
Consider Boosting Your Best Posts
Setting up a Facebook page to market your affiliate’s products is free, and that is no doubt one of the chief attractions of the site. Even so, sometimes it is worthwhile to invest a little bit of money to get more exposure for your most important posts.
The Facebook Boost tool allows you to target your ads based on a wide range of demographic profiles, including age, gender, location and stated interests. The tool also allows business owners to set a maximum budget for promoting any given post, giving marketers excellent control and helping them maximize the impact of their efforts.
When you boost a post, it will stay boosted for a day, but it is possible to extend the time for up to a week. Whether you are new to Facebook or an experienced marketer, experimenting with boosted posts and testing the results can be a smart strategy.
Establish Goals for Your Marketing Efforts
Many new Facebook users let things up to chance and fail to set reasonable and achievable goals. Learn from their mistakes and create daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals for your affiliate marketing program.
Whether your goal is to double your sales in a year or boost the popularity of your posts in a month, it is important to write down the things you hope to achieve. This is the best way to keep yourself accountable and stay on track.
No matter how busy you are, it is important to review your goals on a regular basis. Whether you do that once a day, once a week or once a month, setting and sticking to a regular review schedule is essential to the success of your affiliate marketing efforts.
Consider Setting Up an Official Shop
If you truly want to boost your sales and grow your affiliates, it is a good idea to set up shop on Facebook. The social media site has a “Sell on Facebook” ‘feature designed to connect business owners with the shoppers most likely to buy their products and services, and this feature can be very effective at driving customer behavior and boosting sales.
The beauty of the “Sell on Facebook” feature is that users can access it without ever leaving the social media page. Since the average user spends so much time on the site, they are often reluctant to leave their newsfeeds and come back later. The “Sell on Facebook” feature eliminates that problem by letting users check out your offerings without losing their place or missing a friend’s new post.
Facebook can be a powerful tool in your affiliate marketing toolbox, but only if you make the most of it. Those new to the site often make mistakes, and learning from their example is the best way to boost your own sales and keep the affiliate cash rolling in.