We often get questions about what tools affiliates can use to promote merchant sales and products over social media. For affiliates who manage Facebook pages, Twitter accounts or have a following on any social channel, affiliate links can be a powerful way to monetize those channels.
Before looking at these basic tools, there’s a few rules that are important to keep in mind when using social media as a channel for your affiliate efforts:
- Remember That Social Media Is Voluntary: The most important thing to remember when marketing over social channels is that your audience has volunteered their time to participate on that channel. As such, they will be sensitive to anything that comes across as a sales pitch and will readily abandon participating if it feels like they’re being sold to.
- Keep Posting To A Minimum: Strategically plan the posting of affiliate links to your social channel to avoid “overselling” your followers. Affiliate links should be shared sparingly and used among a healthy mix of other posts.
- Post Only Relevant Links: The affiliate links you post should be relevant to the content on your social channel. While this may seem like conventional wisdom, when an affiliate link promoting and brand, item or sale that’s inline with the interest of the group, the “marketing” side almost become invisible. Products that your followers get excited about is often a great conversation starter, which can all but eliminate the feeling of “being sold to”.
So, we have the theory in place, but what tools at AvantLink can be used to for affiliate marketing on social channels?
- Merchant Text Ad: Text ads are one of the most quintessential tools in the affiliate world and the only type of merchant ads that you can actively promote on social channels. To get a merchant text ad, log into your account and click “Ad Tools>Merchant Ads>Get Ads” and search for an ad from the merchant you would like to promote.Once you’ve found an ad, click the ‘Get HTML’ option to bring up a configuration screen. From here, it’s important that you select the ‘URL Only’ option to strip the link from all HTML. Remember that most social channels won’t parse HTML, limiting the type of affiliate marketing you can do to posting simple written text and URLs. When selecting this ‘URL Only’ option, you’re given the actual written portion of the text ad and the raw affiliate link. Copy both and paste it to your social channel with some conversation flair around the link. Here’s a great real life example of an affiliate who posted a text link for a babySTEALs sale (note the added conversation around the link):
- Custom Link Tool: Using custom affiliate links generally allow you to get far more granular with what you’re advertising than standard merchant ads do. Have a specific product that you’d like to let your followers know about? Promote that product by changing it into an affiliate link! Here’s how.First, start by finding whatever product it is you’d like to promote on the website of a merchant you’re currently an active affiliate for. Copy the URL of that product page and then head over to the AvantLink Custom Link Tool by clicking “Ad Tools>Custom Link Builder>Create Custom Link“. From here, choose the merchant the URL is associated with, paste that URL into the link builder form, select a link shortener (optional) and click ‘Get HTML’.These custom links allow you to not only talk about a brand but address a line of products or even a specific product related to the brand. In the example below, I asked my Twitter followers if they’ve had any experience with the Under Armour shoe I was linking to with a custom link.
— Chad Waite (@ChadW8) November 19, 2013
- SnapLinker: Like the idea of creating custom affiliate links for you social channels but are keen on having to log into the AvantLink interface each time you would like to create one? A new tool on AvantLink called the SnapLinker helps eliminate this process. The SnapLinker is a small bookmarklet that lets you instantly create affiliate links out of any URL on a merchant’s website and tweet it out of share it on Facebook instantaneously. It’s easy to use and very effective for creating affiliate links for social channels. Get the SnapLinker by going to “Ad Tools>App Market>Browse Apps>SnapLinker” and learn more about it in short tutorial video below:
- AvantLink Firefox Add-on: For any Mozilla Firefox users out there, AvantLink offers a fantastic add-on that helps you stay on top of your affiliate marketing efforts even when you’re not logged into your account on AvantLink.com. The add-on provides all basic reporting that’s found in the ‘Quick Stats’ box on your account’s home screen.
Besides providing reporting, the add-on also gives you the ability to get affiliate links very quickly through two different methods. Looking at the photo to the right of the add-on menu, you’ll see an option to “Create an affiliate link to this page”. When you’re on a merchant’s homepage or viewing a specific product page that you would like to make into an affiliate link, simply click that option from the add-on menu and a pop up screen with an affiliate link for that page will be generated for you.
Even more helpful is the ability to get merchant ads on demand. By clicking on the “Retrieve merchant ad campaigns” option, you’ll be taken to a page within your browsers that gives you the instant ability to search and get the code for any merchant ad you’d like to use, as demonstrated in the photo below.
For affiliates who are looking to market through social channels but don’t have the time to be logged into their AvantLink account all day, the Firefox add-on is an absolute must. It can be found by going to “Account>Notification Center>Firefox Add-On”.