Choosing the Best Social Media Platform to Find and Recruit Affiliates

Social media channels

When it comes to promoting your brand online, affiliate marketing has you covered. From referral links on blog posts to coupon codes in emails, affiliate marketing can reach audiences without being limited by high ad placement costs or complex bidding systems.

And this is especially true when it comes to social media.
One reason affiliate marketing works well with social media is that almost everyone has access to it. Virtually anyone can promote your brand, not just those who have a website or celebrity-level recognition. Affiliates can be your existing customers, niche aficionados, micro-influencers, everyday people.

And on top of that, social media offers various ways to create and post content on their platform, and affiliates can seamlessly share referral links and coupon codes with followers and friends.

When it comes to using social media for affiliate marketing, you’ll want to take the same approach as you would in any other marketing effort. Evaluate how each social media platform works for your brand and optimize accordingly.

If you are

  • Interested in partnering with influencers or niche affiliates
  • Looking to provide marketing advice to your existing affiliates
  • Wondering what marketing assets to create

Then this is an article for you.

What to consider when choosing which social media to use

Heading straight to the platform with the most active users may be tempting, but there are a few things you’ll want to take into consideration first.

The objective is to find what platform or platforms are most beneficial to you and it’s crucial to find out where your audience is most active on social media.

Here are three things you should take into consideration.

Who are you selling to?

What business model best describes who you are selling to - B2B or B2C?

B2B (business to business) is a longer sales process with more stakeholders involved. There’s likely going to be further discussions, and customer interactions before any buying decisions get made. B2B also consists of having a strategic plan for generating and nurturing leads.

B2C (business to customer) is a shorter sales process because it’s only the customer’s decision whether to buy or not. The customer may decide to buy at that moment, and the interaction gets completed in a limited time.

Who you are selling to will determine how and where your business can utilize affiliate marketing. This is particularly important when considering how long your sales process is and how your customers use social media.

Twitter is content to quickly scroll through, while LinkedIn has long-dedicated posts to read; YouTube videos can be searched for again and again, while Facebook stories will disappear after 24 hours.
Let’s use Instagram as an example.

B2B sales on Instagram may not be very effective because a picture, caption, or story post can only tell so much. Business decisions require a more in-depth analysis of a product and further discussions among stakeholders. In addition, the buying process is unlikely to come from scrolling through pictures on an app.

On the other hand, Instagram could work well for B2C sales, particularly in e-commerce. Customers can see the product and form a general opinion (apart from details like materials or sizing). These customers can decide right away if they want to make a purchase and don’t have to rely on anyone else for this decision, so they can use a referral link to buy the product on the spot.

Who is your audience?

Determining your target audience is essential for your marketing efforts, and social media is no exception.

Each social media platform comes with its own appeal to users, which leads to varying demographics among those using each platform.

Gen Z dominates Instagram, favoring its photo-friendly design. Millennials prefer to stay up to date on current events via Twitter. College-educated professionals account for the majority of LinkedIn users. And everyone is on Facebook.

Look at your audience makeup and find where it overlaps with social media users. The demographics to pay attention to include:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender (depending on industry)
  • Income & spending habits

But, you should note, just because your audience is on a specific social media platform, it does not necessarily mean they are using it. So, instead, find out where your audience is most active and engaged on social media.

What type of ads work best for your brand?

There are several different ways to display and promote your brand. First, you’ll need to consider the ad type that works best for conveying your products or services.

Images are effective in displaying brand personas, videos work great for showing products in action, and text posts are a way to provide helpful, descriptive information.

Then, consider how this fits with social media platforms. For example, some platforms favor posting articles and blogs, while others are tailored to image and video sharing.

For example

  • If an influencer can easily convey your product with an image, promote it with them on Instagram.
  • If you sell software that you can best show through a demo, partner with a YouTuber for a video tutorial.
  • If you provide a great customer experience, have existing customers share testimonials on Facebook.

For those just starting, you may be unsure which ad types fit your brand and are most effective in generating traffic. Use custom short URLs in your campaigns for valuable insight into the types of ads your target audience is more responsive to or prefers. By analyzing click analytics — which tools like Rebrandly URL Shortener provide you’ll quickly and easily be able to see which ad type is performing best and adjust accordingly.

With these considerations, you can start determining which platform is best for promoting your brand. Below we’ve broken down each social media’s advantages and provided some insights for how you can apply this to your affiliate marketing efforts.

Social Media platforms Facebook

Facebook

It’s undeniable that Facebook is the social media powerhouse. With more than 2 billion users worldwide, Facebook has the most users of any platform. On top of that, it has the most diverse user base, touching on almost every demographic group.

Facebook supports a variety of ad formats like images, video, text, and links. The platform also allows users to share this content in several ways like posts, image galleries, live stream videos, events, groups, etc.

For affiliate marketing, this platform is a great way to share affiliate links among large audiences easily.

Advantages:

  • B2B and B2C marketing
  • Image sharing, video sharing, posts with referral links
  • Users across all age groups
  • Worldwide audience

Additional Benefits:

  • Facebook groups are an excellent way to target niche audiences
  • Works well for word-of-mouth marketing

Affiliate marketing insights:

  • Anyone can be an effective affiliate, regardless of their follower size
  • Existing customers are great for word-of-mouth, referral marketing
  • Reach target audiences by finding affiliates in niche Facebook Groups
  • Encourage your customers to share referral posts with friends and family
  • Get your affiliates to creae product reviews with text posts or video

Social Media platforms Instagram

Instagram

Owned by Facebook and growing in popularity, Instagram has become a cultural fixture among younger generations. In 2019, Instagram hit 1 billion active users overall - with 50% of users scrolling the app every day.

Using images (and some video) for social sharing, Instagram has transformed how users perceive and engage with brands. To users, branding is now an Instagram aesthetic, and a product photo is now a direct link for making a purchase.

This platform brings together affiliate marketing and influencers, making for broader brand exposure. However, sharing referral links on Instagram is pretty restrictive as it’s not possible to share links directly in a post.

Advantages:

  • B2C marketing (mainly e-commerce)
  • Image sharing, video sharing
  • Younger users with 53% under the age of 30

Additional Benefits:

  • Reach large audiences through influencers with massive followings
  • Unique, visual content possibilities

Affiliate marketing insights:

  • Partner with popular influencers to reach broad audiences
  • Seek out partnerships with micro-influencers that have high engagement rates
  • Use coupon codes that your affiliates can place in posts, captions, and stories (to replace links)
  • Have affiliates tag your brand in posts to increase followers and brand awareness

Social Media platforms Twitter

Twitter

This platform is all about brands staying current and accessible to their audience. Twitter is one of the top 10 most visited websites in the US and has over 300 million users worldwide.

With a 140-character limit, Twitter uses short text for content (along with offering image and video sharing). In addition, features like trending topics allow brands to be up to date with their user’s interests, and retweets can broaden a brand’s audience beyond their own followers.
Affiliate marketing on Twitter helps brands promote products and engage with audiences. Plus, the platform welcomes referral link sharing in Tweets.

Advantages:

  • B2B and B2C marketing
  • B2C customer engagement & customer sharing
  • Image sharing, video sharing, link sharing
  • Users across all age groups, but favor younger users

Additional Benefits:

  • Retweets can make promotions go viral
  • Hashtags to promote to specific audiences (such as locations, holidays, events)

Affiliate marketing insights:

  • Trending topics make for great promotional content - make sure your affiliates are taking advantage of these
  • Your affiliates can place referral links in both Tweets & bios - also can be Pinned Tweets, so it is at the top of an affiliate’s feed at all times

Social Media platforms LinkedIn

LinkedIn

Initially known as a platform for job hunting and professional networking, LinkedIn has emerged to become an effective promotional channel among businesses. With over 600 million users, LinkedIn is used by one in four social media users at a high engagement rate.

Aside from the career tools, LinkedIn supports content like articles, posts, images, videos, and slides. Original content like articles and video posts generate 15x more impressions than job-related postings. Plus, LinkedIn owns SlideShare - a popular platform for sharing infographics, videos, documents, and presentations.

This platform is great for affiliate marketers promoting B2B products or services, primarily because users can be the ones that are involved in making a business’s buying decisions.

Advantages:

  • B2B marketing
  • Article sharing, image sharing, video sharing, link sharing
  • SlideShare feature
  • Focused on college-educated, working professionals

Additional Benefits:

  • High engagement rates
  • LinkedIn groups can help reach target audiences and industry professionals

Affiliate marketing insights:

  • Get your LinkedIn affiliates to create content around products/services, for better engagement and reception
  • Connect with professionals in your industry, and see if they would be interested in writing a review or become an affiliate of your product/service
  • Search for conversations in groups and on the main feed about your products or services to find affiliates interested in promoting you

YouTube Social Media Platforms

YouTube

After their owner, Google, the second most visited site is YouTube, with over 2 billion users. The video-sharing platform has an active, engaged audience, with 74% of its users streaming videos every week.

Built on video streaming, YouTube is a great way to reach customers. So much so that 90% of people say that product videos are helpful in the buying process, and 64% are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video.

For affiliate marketing, it’s an excellent opportunity to partner with video creators, affectionately referred to as YouTubers, that can make video content around your product.

Advantages:

  • B2B and B2C marketing
  • Video sharing
  • Users across all age groups
  • A worldwide audience, supporting 76 languages

Additional Benefits:

  • High engagement rates
  • Helps with SEO by being searchable on both YouTube and Google

Affiliate marketing insights:

  • Product reviews, how-to tutorials, and best of videos are great ways to promote products or services
  • Use video captions to place referral codes, creating a direct link from the video to your site
  • Partner with YouTubers that have not only a high number of views but also a high number of subscribers (this shows their audience is engaged)
  • Your influencers can share video content from YouTube on other platforms like Facebook, blogs, etc.

Social Media platforms Pinterest

Pinterest

As a visual social network, Pinterest showcases images to inspire conceptual projects and planning. A favorite for users across various interests from fashion & beauty, health & wellness, and home & garden - Pinterest has reached 250+ million active users.

Pinterest is directly tied to e-commerce, with 61% of users saying they have purchased after seeing a product on Pinterest. In addition, Pinterest users are more likely to buy than users on other platforms.

Advantages:

  • B2C marketing
  • Image sharing, referral link sharing
  • Favored by women
  • A worldwide audience, but most popular in the US

Additional Benefits:

  • High engagement rates

Affiliate marketing insights:

  • Use high quality, visually appealing images
  • Your affiliates can easily attach referral links to specific product images
  • Optimize Pins with specific keywords, or answers to questions, to reach customers who could become referral affiliates

TikTok social media

TikTok

Another popular video-sharing platform, TikTok, came onto the social media scene in 2016. It grew in popularity, and now around 40% of its user base is 16-24 years old. TikTok is a great way to reach a younger and more engaged audience - globally, and users spend 13.3 hours on average per month consuming videos.

Advantages

  • B2C marketing
  • Allows a website link in the bio for business accounts
  • Video sharing allows your influencers to showcase your products
  • A worldwide audience
  • More popular with a female audience
  • Great for word of mouth promotions

Additional benefits

  • Highly engaged users
  • Easy to use an affiliate link with a free business account

Affiliate marketing insights

  • Reach large audiences by using influencers to promote a product
  • Find new affiliates by searching for current hashtag trends that are relevant to your business. For example, #restock is a popular hashtag showing influencers restocking their homes in an aspirational way
  • Your influencer affiliates can reshare their TikTok videos to other social platforms to increase their sales

Snapchat

Snapchat

Although Snapchat is a smaller social media platform, it is still a powerful tool for affiliate marketing. A social messaging app with over 280 million users worldwide, Snapchat is an excellent way for affiliates to share content with their friends. There is also a Discover page that features popular content.

Advantages

  • 60% of Snapchat users are women
  • 75% of Snapchat users are millennials and Gen Z
  • Millennials and Gen Z have a combined spending power of over $1 trillion

Additional benefits

  • Snapchat users spend 30 minutes a day on average using the app and they are highly engaged

Affiliate marketing insights

  • Snapchat users can easily share affiliate links in their snaps so sending them new products to share or review is a great way to utilize this
  • Influencers can share video and photo content easily with their followers
  • Find affiliates using the search function to find relevant hashtags to your brand

Start using social media today

Social media is a great channel for affiliates to promote your brand’s products and services. However, you’ll see the best results when you align the features and functions offered by each social media with your affiliate marketing goals.

Taking all of this into consideration, you’ll be able to find which platform is the best for promoting your brand and optimize your affiliate marketing efforts.

Let us know what you think or tell us how you made your social media decisions. Tweet us at @Tapfiliate or visit our Facebook page.

For information on Social Media statistics & demographics, visit here.

Jessica Rangel

Spending my days writing marketing content, cycling around canals in Amsterdam and attempting to master the Dutch language.

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