During the first two days of Affiliate Summit West, I participated in several interesting conversations about social media and affiliate marketing. Here are some observations for affiliate marketers that amplify some of the points I heard during the sessions, as well as a few important considerations that were not discussed.
Affiliate marketing may be swimming up the social media stream
Many brands and merchants are starting to use Facebook for more than promotion. They’re transacting business right on Facebook, using a growing number of applications for that purpose.
When a customer is asked to move from one platform to another to complete a transaction, there is a risk that s/he will “get lost” along the way. When affiliate marketers move their friends/fans/likers off social media platforms to take advantage of your offerings on your website or blog, they encounter that risk.
Staying competitive while other sales platforms can be more capable on social media networks is a issue that requires creative solution.
Use social check in
Registering for content or participation on a website or blog may turn off some readers. Social check in breaks down that resistance for many, while providing the publisher with a great deal of marketing information.
Affiliate marketers need to discover incentives for visitors to check in and then use that information to provide enhanced experiences
The playing field has gotten more dangerous
The overwhelming majority of affiliate marketers conduct their businesses honorably. Just as with any industry, a few bad apples can hurt everyone. Online purchasing is growing exponentially and the FTC is engaged in some highly visible enforcement actions.
Social media is an efficient way for affiliate marketers to present their social proof using tools such as Facebook’s Open Graph.
Don’t be afraid of negative comments
One of the main goals of social media is to convert customers into advocates. Ideally, negative comments on platforms like Twitter will be addressed by those advocates. If not, marketers ongoing participation on those platforms will build credibility in their response to complaints.
Be public about solving problems and you are likely to be forgiven.
Social media ROI is tough to measure, but not impossible
While much more difficult to “follow the clicks,” there are a number of free and inexpensive social media monitoring tools to help affiliate marketers determine the value of their social media engagements. And there are more sophisticated tools for those who need them, too.
These solutions can also help advertisers and marketers identify influencers – those who activate their networks to action.
As I mentioned in my previous ASW11 post, social media puts powerful tools in the hands of affiliate marketers.