Advanced affiliate marketing requires both a good knowledge of marketing and a constant eye on the trends online. Unless you’re aware of the online trends you’ll always end up as a ‘me-too’ marketer that catches on to new avenues only once you see other marketers already succeeding in that arena.
Perhaps the best example of that to date is the emergence of the social media sites, web 2.0 sites and the other various social marketing platforms that have risen to prominence in the last couple of years. Many Internet marketers and affiliate marketers either ignored social media for too long, or jumped in early, couldn’t figure out how to monetize their activities there and so abandoned their social networking activities.
Prime examples here are Twitter and FaceBook, two of the most popular web 2.0 properties. Twitter is a micro-blogging platform limited to 140 character posts, while Facebook is a true online networking community where users connect, comment on each others’ posts, display videos and photos, play games and socialize with their ‘friends’ – other users they’ve decided to follow there. Facebook alone has over 400 MILLION users, and any marketing pro can tell you that a demographic of that size represents a valuable target market in dozens, if not hundreds of niches. So the issue is not does a market exist on these sites, but how do you utilize the social media in your affiliate marketing mix?
Look to see who the people are that use each site… What age group, what income group, what segment of the general population? Most people will be surprised to learn that most of these sites attract better educated, older and upwardly mobile users rather than the ‘kids’ they believe are the majority on social networking sites. Facebook stats recently released show 80% of those playing the games there are women in the 30’s & 40’s – a far cry from the stereotypical online gamer.
So once you’ve established that various social media sites are worth targeting, it becomes your task to determine how to do that effectively. Understand that social networking and social media are named that for a reason – while using the sites your prospects aren’t shopping, they’re being social. Attempts to use hard-sell tactics directly on these sites will at best result in mediocre results, and at worst either get you ignored or banned altogether depending on the sites.
Profiting with your affiliate marketing using the social media sites is a 2-step process. First, you write informational, solid-content posts on your affiliate marketing blogs on topic you feel will attract your targeted prospects from these sites, or build great reports on those topics and make them available free from your squeeze pages. You then let them know that this information is available to them for free, and provide the link so that those who are interested can get to your sites. Once they are on your blog or your opt-in list they can now be regarded as any other visitor or opt-in – if your information is helpful and well presented they’ll hang around, otherwise they’ll be gone in one click of their mouse.
Do the same with the articles you submit to the directories, with your Squidoo lenses, with your WetPaint sites, Hub Pages, etc. You can set your Twitter stream to show up automatically on social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Buzz, so that tweeting your links to your articles and pages has those links show up all over your social media accounts as well – and plugins exist to automatically tweet each blog post you do too.
Additionally, don’t forget that video directories like YouTube and Viddler, web 2.0 sites like Twitter, article directories like EzineArticles and a raft of other social media sites produce RSS feeds of your content as well – embed these on social media sites that allow feeds and remember to submit those feeds to the various RSS directories too. In each case, you’re multiplying the effects of your affiliate marketing efforts with very little additional work, and the results continue as long as you’re producing new content for your feeds.
But go into it realizing one thing about social media marketing and social networking – if all you’re doing is putting your links out there in front of people on a regular basis, you’ll see some results and be building backlinks for the search engines to find, but many people will ignore most of what you post since they don’t ‘know’ you. To maximize your results from social marketing, be sure to interact from time to time with those you meet there, and put a reasonable amount of effort into building your following on each site. In other words, to maximize your affiliate marketing success with social media and social networking, socialize and network!