One of the key strategies that I have been using for the past several years has been to help turn my clients’ fans into Affiliates/Influencers. When you have an affiliate program it is best to have a mix of publisher types: content, shopping, loyalty, rewards, employee perks, top quality coupon sites, and sub-affiliate content monetization networks such as Viglink and Skimlinks.
The cheapest and easiest way to bring new affiliates on board is to promote your affiliate program to your customer base. If you have a strong social media following, it is a rich source of potential sales for your business. Happy customers want to share with friends, family, and followers, so why not give them the tools they need and allow them to earn a great commission on something that many of them are already doing?
Most of the major affiliate networks such as Commission Junction, LinkShare, ShareASale allow affiliates to promote you using their social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and You Tube, they don’t even need a web site or blog these days to monetize their posts, in fact in 2018 there has never been a better time for social affiliate sharing.
I work with a company called Fashionphile, they are a leading retailer of pre-owned luxury handbags and accessories with a loyal and passionate customer base. They offer the largest selection of pre-owned vintage, rare, and limited edition handbags from the most coveted luxury designers like Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel, Gucci, and more.
They have a ton of hardcore customer fans that post on Instagram and YouTube regularly about the awesome luxury for less finds that they have acquired on Fashionphile, and their followers are looking to them to discover the latest trends and tips on luxury handbags. This has been a huge revenue stream for the company and only costs them the commission that is paid if a sale occurs.
These social media channels all allow the use of affiliate links and are the most popular right now: (see below for samples of all these channels using affiliate linking)
Instagram: Most of the Instgrammers that I have worked with will hashtag your brand in the post, and will use their “link in bio” to lead to the page on their web site or blog that mentions your product. Some of them will link directly to your site using their affiliate links to monetize the post.
You Tube: The vlogger can add in a “video description”, and in that section they are able to insert the name of your company, product, and the url to buy which is tracked using an affiliate link. You Tube is great because not just are you getting exposure with the Influencer, but you get extra visibility as these videos often come up in Google Videos when someone is doing a search on the topic.
Pinterest: Really popular in verticals where images and organizing ideas are everything. Food, Fashion, Home Decor, and Wedding planning rule this world. Pinterest is like a digital scrapbook where you can discover new things and find inspiration. You “Pin” something you like, and other peoples pins pop up in your account based on behavior. Affiliates can link a pin back to their own blog/web site or can go directly to merchant..
Facebook: Not as popular with the millennial bloggers, but does bring in sales for certain niches where the demographics skew older.
Example of a happy Fashionphile customer/Influencer sharing her Louis Vuitton find with her Instagram following using ShareASale affiliate links. You can see the red arrow pointing to the “link in bio” section of Instagram which she is using to link directly to Fashionphile:
She is hashtagging the brand Fashionphile:
Example of a happy Fashionphile customer/Influencer sharing her Chloe bag find with her You Tube following using ShareASale affiliate links:
She has added in a direct link to Fashionphile in the video description area and she will earn money every time one of her visitors buys:
Example of Pinterest boards:
So now that you see the benefits of using customers as affiliates, how do you let your customers know you have a program? Here are some ways I do:
E-mail blast: Mention that you have an affiliate program in your next newsletter or promotional e-mail to customers. Insert a graphic into the e-mail and let them know you can earn $ by referring customers. This would lead to the sign-up page for the program.
Social Media Mention: Post on your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter with a graphic image and some text about the launch of your affiliate program and let them know they can earn money for sharing. This would lead to the sign-up page for the program.
Tile or image on web site: Add a tile or button on your home page to let everyone know you have an affiliate program. This would lead to the sign-up page for the program.
Sample of how Fashionphile mentioned the Influencer Program on their Instagram page:
Sample of how my client Piquant Post, a monthly spice subscription mentioned their new Affiliate Program in customer promotional e-mail: