A Definitive Guide to Tapping Influencers For Affiliate Marketing

Influencers social media affiliate marketing-01

If you’re not currently tapping influencers for affiliate marketing, you’re not maximizing your affiliate program. Follow this guide to find out how your business can leverage influencers to generate more sales and gain web traffic.

According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 86% of women base purchasing decisions on social media, while almost 50% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations.

As an industry, influencer marketing was expected to be worth US$10 billion by the end of 2020. It’s unsurprising with the increase in social media users on apps like Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

It’s now common to find social media channels and influencers with large numbers of subscribers. Some news-based influencers have very high user engagement rates and now have a bigger following than mainstream news. Other entertainment-based influencers have a mind-boggling influence on social media platforms.

It’s no wonder that businesses are turning to influencers to help market their products. Legacy media is facing a challenge keeping the attention of the public. The mobile phone has made it possible for people to generate interesting content while building personal brands and audiences online.

For businesses looking to improve their brand communication strategies, influencer marketing is a resource that must be tapped.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is where a business pays external websites commission to market their website and products online. Typically, businesses pay websites like traditional blogs and publishers to plug or link to certain products. Using top affiliate tracking software, it’s possible to see the links that generate traffic and determine the ones that result in higher sales.

Amazon associate
Amazon Associate promoting via Instagram

An example of affiliate marketing is the renowned Amazon Associates program. Affiliate marketers on Amazon can generate income by linking to products. When a customer clicks the link and makes a purchase, the associate is paid a referral fee. This style of marketing isn’t new, but it has developed greatly since the advent of digital marketing.

The web has changed and affiliate marketing is changing with it. Forbes expected the industry to spend US$6.8 billion on affiliate marketing in 2020. While affiliate marketing programs continue to grow, another similar style of marketing is developing at a rapid pace.

We’re talking about ‘influencer marketing’. The changes social media platforms have brought to the content landscape show in the fact that businesses are increasingly and enthusiastically adopting this.

Influencer marketing - what is it and why should you try it?

Influencer marketing is where a business or brand collaborates with influential online personalities to promote their products and/or services. Rather than creating ad campaigns to target consumers, the business strikes a deal with an influencer. That influencer then promotes products and services to their audience members.

Influencer marketing offers a mutually beneficial arrangement for social media influencers and brands looking to sell products. Successful influencers have dedicated fanbases. This means that they can gain passive income from their endorsement of a product, while a business gains new customers from their audience.

Many businesses already avail themselves of influencer marketing to offer products to new consumers. You will see content creators plug different products or give ‘shout-outs’ to sponsors in various posts.

These are often relevant to their niche following. Political commentators, for example, can promote tools like NewsGuard. Gaming channels might plug mobile games, online cloud storage services, or VPNs.

Below are several ways to find and encourage influencers to become affiliate marketers for you.

Finding influencers

There are many influencers on social media platforms. You will uncover thousands of them simply by browsing Google, YouTube, Facebook, and so on. To gauge the success of an influencer’s channel, it’s important to get a picture of how it’s performing using several tools.

Socialblade and other analytics tools give you a firm grasp of an influencer’s activities across a range of social platforms. These allow a business to see whether an influencer is currently trending, gaining new followers, or encouraging engagement via their content.

Some of these tools will respond to your query with trending content related to it.

Making sure they’re the right fit

Influencers with large followings have millions of people vying for their attention. This can make it difficult to entice them into affiliate programs. In some cases, they will have large numbers of subscribers or followers across different platforms. This does not always translate to high user engagement. In other cases, they may fear alienating their audience and will therefore avoid risky promotions.

Building your brand on social media can be a challenge. As such, finding micro-influencers with followings under 100,000 might serve your business better. A micro-influencer in a suitable niche is more likely to have high user engagement, and as they’re still developing an audience, they’re more inclined to accept influencer marketing agreements for supplemental income.

A virtual phone company, for example, might look for social media channels that specialize in phone technology and business. These channels may take an interest in group chatting tech or Grasshopper phone alternatives as they’ll focus on mobile and tech trends.

It’s important to find influencers with similar interests to your brand. It’s also vital to hold comparable values. This is essential in demonstrating authenticity and trustworthiness.

Networking

In digital spaces, there are many businesses and content creators who operate in the same niche. Most social media influencers are aware of the other major content creating channels in their spaces. Though there’s competition, some channels will collaborate and share content. They’re on friendly terms with other influencers who may have similar audiences.

This enables a business to find multiple opportunities for influencer marketing. By discovering multiple influencers within the same niche, they can create a small network of individuals to work with.

Doing this can benefit your content marketing strategy and affiliate marketing programs. Some tools can automate the outreach process and save time on the emails you need to write.

Offering sufficient compensation

Your business is looking to use an influencer’s position to promote services to their audience. To achieve this, you’ll need to offer sufficient compensation for the influencer to bridge the gap between you and their audience. Some influencers can charge up to US$200 or more for a ‘shout-out’ to their followers.

Compensation can be offered in a variety of ways. Depending on the influencer and the size of your brand, they may promote a product for commission, samples, and/or coupons.

Some businesses agree to offer gifts, trips, or full access to events. For entertainment YouTube channels, for example, a business like Disney might invite them to attend an all-access event.

Kitchen aid influencer
Influencers partner with brands to review products

Collaborating on content

Unique content is king when it comes to the online world. Coupling marketing messages with the personality of an influencer is great for your marketing campaigns.

From the perspective of both you and the influencer, it provides an opportunity to create unique content that stays true to your brand. It also improves the likelihood of your target audience converting their views into sales.

To encourage the audience to consider your products, it’s important to maintain authenticity. An influencer’s fans will respect their opinions on any products offered. It’s common to see review videos and blogs of new products or technologies coming to market. For example, in a recent post, RingCentral detailed some alternatives to 8x8.

Customizing pages for the influencer

Getting the right influencer on board could even prove beneficial to your customer service and marketing team. As you both share the same target audience, it becomes possible to use headless commerce to tailor website features and design towards the influencer’s audience members. Customizing pages and links is thus beneficial.

The audience will feel valued by the company and will view the brand through the lens of the influencer’s endorsement. By having pages created specifically for these customers, it’s easier to analyze the target demographic with analytics.

You could consider offering the influencer a branded dashboard to feel a part of the team. This will provide opportunities to build further connections with them and their fans.

What are you waiting for?

Influencer marketing is a trend that your business can’t afford to miss out on. Per Statista, there are now 5.7 billion users on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube collectively, with social channels for every niche imaginable and many garnering high levels of influence.

Your business can thus cast a far wider net by supplementing your affiliate marketing with influencer marketing.

The number of people turning to social media for advice and information will grow even further in the future. Businesses should therefore take the time to invest in affiliate marketing and influencer marketing programs.

Be proactive and partner with the right influencers, and it will benefit your business moving forward.

Elea Andrea Almazora

Elea is the SEO Content Optimization manager for RingCentral, the leader in global enterprise communication and audio conferencing services. She has more than a decade’s worth of experience in on-page optimization, editorial production, and digital publishing. She spends her free time learning new things.

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