Do you want to increase your revenue using social media? You are not alone. Many brands are looking to social media to increase sales. By 2026 it’s expected that 94.4% of the American population will be using social media.
So how can you take advantage of this captive audience?
Affiliate marketing explained
With affiliate marketing, there are two key players involved.
The brand (or merchant) is someone who has products or services to sell, and they want influencers or other websites to promote them. The promotion is in exchange for a percentage commission on any sale that the influencer refers. The brand decides what this percentage will be ahead of time.
Brands can use affiliate marketing tracking software or an affiliate network to track those sales, depending on what you want. The affiliate will get access to their statistics (including the number of sales and commissions earned) with their own login portals.
The affiliate is the influencer (or website) promoting products and brands to their audiences in return for a commission on the value of any sale they refer.
Here’s an example. Let’s say an influencer promotes a brand like Showpo in a social media post. They share a coupon code with their audience as well. Someone from the influencer’s audience goes to the website, uses the coupon code, or clicks a link to buy something. The affiliate tracking software or network will track this to the influencer, and that influencer will get a percentage commission of the sale value.
To see what this looks like in real life, here’s an example from mycanvashome. The influencer has posted a beautiful image with instructions on how to shop the post. When customers go there, click through and buy, then mycanvashome will earn a commission on the sale.
The benefits of affiliate marketing for brands
We all know the benefits of influencer marketing, and the statistics on word-of-mouth marketing speak for themselves. A survey found that 90% of people are more likely to trust a recommendation, even from a stranger.
Statista also researched and found that 17% of US respondents would buy something because an influencer recommended them. In a survey by Statista, 17% of respondents from the US said that they purchased products because an influencer recommended them.
Image source: Statista
But what are the benefits of affiliate marketing for brands? We all know that word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool and that more brands should be utilizing the potential.
When working with influencers, brands will frequently rely on vanity metrics such as likes or comments to judge the success of a campaign.
Working with influencers on an affiliate basis is a great way to track the sales directly referred by your influencers, plus get the vanity metrics from your influencers. It’s the best of both worlds.
With affiliate marketing, you get the best of both worlds – you’ll get to see how many sales were driven by a campaign and the vanity metrics from the influencer. This enables you to discover what works best for driving actual sales. Additionally, you can track the return on investment more concretely.
Authentic advertising content that resonates
The significant benefit of working with influencers is getting authentic ad content. Because influencers know what resonates with their audience, they will be able to tailor their posts to fit this. This can help with conversion rates, especially if their content gets paired with a coupon code.
Of course, many influencers expect to get paid for their content (and rightly so), but when you are negotiating on pricing, you can take the commission payment model into account. It can mean influencers are more likely to reduce their fees in exchange for a commission on sales they refer. For a brand, it is a lower-risk strategy.
Note that some influencers will work only on a commission basis, which is a win for the advertiser.
The benefits of affiliate marketing for influencers
There are several benefits to affiliate marketing for influencers, too, and it can be a great way to supplement your income. These are some of the benefits:
Affiliate marketing allows you to create a passive income for yourself. Once you’ve worked on an affiliate campaign, your content remains there for people to discover.
Each post or story you have has the potential to generate income for you because your audience can discover your post, click on the affiliate link, and purchase. Plus, if you have a website that shares affiliate content, you increase that potential.
Partnerships with brands you love
Affiliate marketing is a great way to work with brands you love and earn commission on any sales in which you have a direct hand. Many retailers have affiliate programs that you can join for free. Additionally, many affiliate programs have someone you can contact there if you want to discuss things in more detail or work on a tailored campaign with them.
More data for your campaigns
Advertisers seem to be obsessed with data, and by utilizing affiliate marketing, you will be able to provide more value to the advertisers you work with. The brands will have access to the data available to them in their affiliate dashboard, and you will be able to provide them with the data and metrics you have from your posts. It’s a win-win for both parties and can help to solidify partnerships. And more data can help you assess what’s working with your campaigns and what isn’t so that you can provide maximum value.
You get to choose how you promote these brands on your social media. Depending on how you choose to do it (in stories, for example), it might not take you a massive amount of time, and the potential for reward is high.
The influencer has created a simple Instagram story that includes an affiliate link in this example.
Image source: Her First 100K
Strategies to drive revenue for advertisers
When you work with influencers, it’s not a case of simply sending them free stuff and then walking away and waiting for the magic to happen. You need to be strategic and create opportunities for your brand to earn more revenue with your partnerships.
Spread awareness about your affiliate program
You can do some things as a brand to attract influencers to join your affiliate program. The first and most obvious is to add a link to join somewhere visible on your website. Influencers will find it and sign up to work with you. In this example, Coconut Bowls includes the benefits of joining their program, including weekly spotlights, VIP access, cash commissions, early access, behind the scenes, and gift vouchers.
Image source: https://www.coconutbowls.com/pages/ambassadors
The second is to send out an email communication to your customers – you never know, there may be several influencers on your mailing list. Inform them you have a brand ambassadorship and give them the link to sign up. For your landing page, list the benefits of joining your program. It’s good to include additional benefits, aside from cash commission on sales referred, so the program is more attractive to potential influencers.
Outreach, outreach, outreach
Influencers aren’t always looking for opportunities, so it’s critical for you as a brand to engage with influencers. Look for opportunities to recruit influencers into your affiliate program. Use brand monitoring tools to see who is already talking about your brand, and monitor your competitors’ social media hashtags to find influencers. Outreach should not be a one-and-done thing. It should be something you do periodically to recruit influencers to your affiliate program.
Communication with influencers is key to success. As a brand, you probably have an internal calendar for marketing. Sharing these marketing calendars with your influencers will help them plan and create great content around your campaigns.
Image source: Asana
Additionally, it’s a great idea to inform influencers about top-selling products. The more information you give your influencers, the better their posts can perform in terms of revenue.
Create good relationships with influencers
Creating a good relationship with an influencer can make a real difference in your business. An influencer who feels like they know, like, and trust you will be more likely to want to promote your brand to their followers.
Communicate with them via social media, email, one-on-one calls, or events designed explicitly for your influencers. You could even set up online communities for your influencers to connect with you, provide info, set challenges, and get early access to products.
Incentivize your influencers
Incentives and bonuses are always a great way to get influencers to try and drive sales to your website. You could increase the commission rate for a set period to encourage influencers to promote your brand more. You could run a competition – the influencer who drives the most sales could win some free product and award bonuses to influencers based on the number of sales they drive. It’s totally up to you how you do it, but it’s essential to encourage the promotion of your brand.
Letting influencers know about any special promotions you’re running is key for success. Often, influencers plan out campaigns far in advance, so telling them that you’re running a promo on dresses in two weeks won’t help. To work on specific campaigns with influencers, contact them a couple of months before to discuss it with them. That way, they will have plenty of time to plan for everything they need.
Strategies to boost revenue for influencers working with brands
For influencers, affiliate marketing can be a great way to boost income. But how can you ensure that you make the most of it and increase your revenue as an affiliate?
Create opportunities for brands
Creating opportunities for brands to get involved is a great way to earn more. Let’s say you know you’re making a video on your favorite mid-range makeup products next month, and you are an affiliate of a beauty brand.
Contact them and ask if they would like to be involved and what you are looking for (for example, a free product with an increased commission rate for one month or a small fee plus an increased commission.) You are putting yourself front and center with the brands you love.
Additionally, create additional opportunities for the brands you work with. Plan things where you could easily promote those brands you’re working with, rather than being more of an offhand thing. For example, you could message brands saying you’ve got ten slots in your stories for brands this month and ask if they would like to get involved. Let them know what they could get and what you are looking for in exchange. You can negotiate the finer points later.
Have regular contact with the brands you work with
Having regular contact with the brands you work with is essential. Firstly, it helps to solidify your relationships with them. Secondly, it will help to put you top of mind for any paid opportunities because you are proactive and contact them regularly. This way, you’ll have higher chances of getting those opportunities.
Give brands a great experience
It’s critical that you give brands a great experience. Even if you are not working with a brand on a specific campaign, and you make a post about them or shout out, send them a quick DM on social media to share it with them, and let them know about the reach and stats. They will get a positive impression of you as an influencer.
If you have a brand that wants to work with you on a specific campaign (like a paid project to promote a product, for example), it’s even more essential to share your stats with them to create the best experience possible.
Ask for resources
If you are working with a brand on an affiliate basis and need any information or resources, ask for them. Brands don’t always know what you as an influencer need to maximize results. Ask if you want a coupon code to promote to your audience to go alongside a post you’re planning. The worst that can happen is they say no. Things you might ask for can include
- Coupon codes
- Calendar for planning
- Bestseller information for different categories (if you have a specialized niche, like shoes, for example, you can ask for top-selling shoes)
Boost your revenue with social media affiliate marketing today
Now that you understand the difference between a brand and an affiliate, you can get started and earn more revenue from affiliate marketing. For brands, working with the influencers as closely as possible will set you up for success. For influencers, it’s about creating opportunities, being proactive, and asking.