As anyone who has ever gotten curious about making some extra dollhairs online and read a blog post about passive income knows, affiliate marketing is one of the most popular methods for generating revenue from a blog. It’s easy, you can get started right away, and there are many different businesses who want influencers to promote their products/services online and are more than willing to offer a commission in return.
Did you know you can also share affiliate links on your social media platforms too? This gives you even more ways to make money off of your blog and social media presence. And why not put all that time playing on social media to good use and actually make a few (or few hundred) bucks off of it?
I’m going to walk you through the four major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest) and the best practices for sharing your affiliate links on each.
But first, let’s go over a few general rules for affiliate marketing on social media.
Rule #1: Focus on quality.
You typically have more chances to share affiliate links through your blog than you do through your social media platforms. This means you want to be much more particular about what you share. Make sure it’s something you really have enjoyed using and truly recommend to your followers.
Rule #2: Always disclose.
You’re probably aware that the FTC requires you to disclose when you use affiliate links in a blog post. But did you know that you also need to disclose when you share an affiliate link on social media?
They want to ensure that anytime you share something you want your followers to buy, they’re aware that you may have other motives than simply being helpful (i.e., making money). Although most of us only share affiliate links for products we believe in, this is not always the case. Which is why it’s important (read: required) to let your followers know you will receive a commission if they purchase through your link.
Rule #3: Remember the 80:20 ratio.
This ratio applies to all of your social content, including affiliate links. What this means is that you should be sharing 20% of your own content and 80% of curated content. Rather, 2 out of 8 posts should be promotional in nature. Affiliate links are included in that 20%, so make sure you don’t go overboard. Of course you want to increase your passive income with your social affiliate marketing, but you also don’t want to drive followers away with any incessant promotion of your links.
Rule #4: Don’t be promotional; be natural.
You’re not a salesperson. Instead, you’re just a friend who’s trying to share a helpful product. Make sure it sounds that way in your caption.
For example, you don’t want to have a caption that says “Do you have trouble keeping your kitchen sparkly clean?! You need this magic wand scrubber!” That just sounds like an icky infomercial.
Instead, you want your caption to say something like “I’m putting my feet up with a nice glass of wine because my kitchen only took five minutes to clean after dinner. This magic wand scrubber really is magic.” And then you include your disclosure and your affiliate link.
On all platforms, you want to keep those four rules in mind.
Facebook is seen as your company’s second website. The way the business pages are organized allow you to put pretty much all information a potential customer or follower needs to know about your business on the page. This means it’s likely that your Facebook Page is going to be your customer’s first stop when checking out your social media profiles.
So you should be sharing company updates, blog posts, announcements, launches, etc. This also means you should be sharing the least amount of promotional affiliate links on Facebook versus your other social media platforms. This is where rule number one really comes into play. If you’re sharing affiliate links on your Facebook Page, make sure they’re few and far between.
In general, you don’t want to post to Facebook more than three times each day. And most of those posts can’t be promotional in nature. This means that Facebook will be your lowest source of social media affiliate income, and may not be worth including in your affiliate marketing strategy.
However, if you have a large and extremely engaged audience on Facebook, I do recommend inputting some of your favorite products’ affiliate links in your social calendar. Just make sure that you disclose that it’s an affiliate link and you tag the company in your caption.
Let’s talk disclosures on Facebook. Remember when I said that you need to disclose all affiliate links, even on social media? I meant it!
It really is a simple process. Type out your caption, paste your affiliate link into the text box, then write hashtag #aff or hashtag #affiliate, like these examples. You could also write in parentheses (affiliate link) or hashtag #ad or #sponsored. Additionally, you could simply include a disclosure statement at the end of your caption/post.
The lifespan of a tweet is only about 18 minutes. Do you know what that means? It means you can pretty much go crazy (but not literally, plz) with the amount of times you tweet each day. In fact, it’s recommended to tweet no less than five or ten times every day.
This gives you a lot of room to work with in that 80:20 ratio. Posting ten tweets a day? Two of those tweets can be sales or affiliate links.
You have to remember that on Twitter, you only have 140 characters to work with. (At least for now–who knows what will happen with this 280 character limit in the works.) Your link takes up 23 characters of your tweet, even when you don’t use a link shortener, so you have 117 to say what you want to about the product and disclose that it’s an affiliate link. So you need to be short, sweet, and to the point.
You also want to make sure you’re including hashtags in your tweet. Don’t use more than two hashtags in your caption, and make sure you’re hashtagging the most searchable keywords.
Since you have so little space to work with on Twitter, you’re going to want to use the shortest possible disclosure, which would simply be #aff, #afflink, or #ad.
— XO Sarah (@xosarahmorgan) September 30, 2017
— Stephanie Gilbert (@StephJGilbert) September 30, 2017
Instagram is all about visuals. If you’re going to use this platform for your affiliate marketing (or in general, really), then you’re going to want to start learning everything you can about photography and how to shoot quality images for your feed. The only way to see success is by having a beautifully curated Instagram feed.
That being said, it can be one of the best platforms to make affiliate sales, because people can actually see you using/wearing what you’re selling.
The tool LiketoKnow.it (owned by rewardStyle) capitalized on just that, and has created a pretty neat affiliate marketing program for Instagram. It’s application/invite-only, meaning you have to apply and be accepted for their program (which can take months), but if you get in, it is well worth it. It was originally created for fashion bloggers, but now has branched out to several different types of content:
When you use LiketoKnow.it, you’re able to tag the products in each of your photos. Anyone who has signed up to receive LiketoKnow.it notifications will receive an email with each of the products and a link to buy it. And because LiketoKnow.it is a “subaffiliate network,” they work directly with the brands and you don’t have to worry about disclosures on your posts.
Now this shouldn’t be the only way you do affiliate marketing on Instagram, and if your blog doesn’t fall under one of the above content topics, you might not even be able to use this tool for your affiliate marketing on Instagram.
Other methods include promoting products for companies with which you have a direct affiliate relationship with, rather than through a third-party like LiketoKnow.it. In this case, you would definitely have to include a disclosure.
Because Instagram doesn’t allow you to include links in your actual post, you also want to use affiliate links on this platform sparingly. If you have more than 10k followers, you could include a swipe up link on your Instagram Story, or you can swap out your profile link temporarily.
Since you don’t have a small caption limit like you do on Twitter, you can use the same best practices as Facebook. Feel free to #aff, #afflink, or #affiliate, or write out your disclosure at the end of your caption.
Just over a year ago, Pinterest became a serious goldmine for affiliate marketing. Of course, being a visual platform like Instagram, you’d think it would be perfect for affiliate marketing, right?
Except until last year, the platform didn’t allow affiliate links in their pins, and would mark your pins as spam or unsafe if they included one. They finally began allowing affiliate links on their site, and I would definitely recommend utilizing Pinterest heavily in your affiliate marketing strategy.
I managed a client account once that wanted a percentage of each of their pins each day to be affiliate links. They kept a spreadsheet of all of their affiliates so I could easily go through and pick a few products to pin each day with their affiliate link. I highly recommend you come up with a similar strategy because the more you pin on Pinterest, the higher your pin quality becomes. And this can most definitely include affiliate links.
However, I want you to take that with a grain of salt, and remember the affiliate marketing rules. If your Pinterest account essentially becomes an infomercial, your pins will not rank well and you will lose followers. So continue to sprinkle your affiliate links in lightly among the rest of your content.
And, as always, you must include a disclosure. Pinterest has only recently started utilizing hashtags, so #aff, #afflink, or #affiliate work, as well as (affiliate) or (affiliate link).
Getting starting with affiliate marketing on social media does not have to be overwhelming. It’s easy to utilize these additional platforms to generate more passive income for you and your blog/business. If you really, truly believe in a product or service, promoting it should be second nature.
The most important thing to remember is that even if it’s your best blogging friend’s new course, if you have an affiliate link, you need to disclose that you will be making money from the sale.