Social media has fundamentally changed the way in which affiliate marketers connect with their audience.
Affiliate marketing is a partnership and a process by which commissions are earned through generating sales for another person or company. Leveraging your own sense of presentation to highlight the value of a relevant product or service to your audience is a powerful way to make new connections, gain influence and earn passive income.
Before Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, affiliate marketers mainly focused on SEO, paid ads and list-building to get their connections to relevant traffic.
These are all still important, but social media has proven a fantastic method of reaching a large audience,*for free.* Paid options on social media do exist, such as promoted tweets and posts; however, you really can engage with your target audience without spending a dime.
All-stars of Affiliate Marketing on Social Media: A Perfect Dozen Doing it Right
Creating quality content means something different for each industry and brand — whether it’s an engaging post on Facebook, an informative tweet or a beautiful looking picture(with a filter of course!) on Instagram. There are as many ways that social media can be leveraged for affiliate marketing as there are companies willing to make those connections.
So, what are the best examples of social media being used to promote affiliate products?
We’re pretty good at knowing a savvy social account when we see one. Here are several great examples of affiliate sites that are making the most of social media.
1) Skycanner | @skyscanner
Skyscanner is a comparison site for plane tickets. Put in a departure airport and destination anywhere in the world and find cheap flights.
They use all the main social media networks, but their Instagram practice is a great example. With beautiful travel pictures from around the world, you only need to spend 5 minutes on their profile before you want to go to their site and search for a cheap trip abroad. Not only does their feed look pretty, it’svery effective at getting you to click right through to their website once you see what you’re missing.
2) This Is Why I’m Broke | @ThisIsWhyImBroke
An Amazon affiliate site with a large social media following, ‘This is Why I’m Broke’ is a great resource if you have some spending money but don’t know what it is you actually need. You’ll need at least one of these.
Their Facebook account posts direct links to different products on their site and there is a high level of engagement. Nearly every affiliate is using Facebook now as a means of promotion but TIWIB is one of the best at getting shares and clicks. If you weren’t broke before you clicked on their site, you just might be by the time you’re checking out.
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3) The Wire Cutter | @wirecutter
Here is an extremely handy general product review site that uses Amazon as well as some other large retailers as affiliates. Product reviews and testimonials are a great way to capture audience attention — consumers are always on the hunt for more information.
These guys post in-depth product reviews and comparisons that are some of the best around. If you want an informative breakdown of whether you should buy something or not, The Wire Cutter is an amazing resource. Their Twitter feed links directly to these reviews along with great pictures, and it’s easy to see why they have more than 80k followers — they are a major player in affiliate marketing.
4) PC Part Picker | @pcpartpicker
This friendly site doesn’t instantly scream, “I’m an affiliate!” at you, and it contains really great content for those of us who want to build a PC or just add a new component.
Their YouTube channel has some fantastic videos about PC-building and they list all of the parts used in their video descriptions. You can follow a handy link to the full list of components, where you can find out how much they cost and where to get them. The fact that they have over 180k people subscribed to their channel is almost all you need to know.
5) Gear Patrol | @gearpatrol
While some say Gear Patrol lacks in-depth content, their pictures speak a thousand words. They are an affiliate selling Amazon products, and they take multiple high-quality pictures of each product they feature.
Their Facebook page has over 130k followers and with regular updates, a professional look and great photography, they definitely present as an influencer in the field.
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6) Website Setup | @websitesetup.org
Even in a crowded sea of other blogs in the same niche (selling web hosting and giving website tips), this one manages to stand out from the competition. Website Startup has remained one of the most popular of these sites since 2013.
It uses Facebook to great effect, sharing blog posts on website color schemes, how to use alt text properly and how to set up a site at their affiliate, Bluehost. Even though it is not updated as regularly as some of the other social media profiles on this list, followers receive high quality and informative content whenever it is — making this site a click-through-and-scroll must.
7) Nerd Wallet | @NerdWallet
This company also does a good job making it not immediately obvious that it’s an affiliate site. Social media users don’t want to be sold right off the bat, they need to be intrigued first.
Nerd Wallet is one of the biggest online sources of personal financial advice and they make their money through partnerships with various financial services. They use all social media platforms well, but their Twitter profile has 54k followers and, aside from its professional and sleek look, they have successfully integrated their own hashtag, #TurnToTheNerds.
8) Minimalist Baker | @minimalistbaker
If you want to see Instagram done correctly, look no further than the Minimalist Baker. Who doesn’t like fantastic pictures of food while scrolling through endless updates?
With over 1 million followers, this husband-and-wife duo started their recipe blog back in 2012, and make money from Amazon sales as well as on-site ads. They post delicious pictures of the best parts of recipes to really grab your attention and their Instagram page achieves a high level of engagement. The aesthetics are broadly appealing — their last post alone got over 16k likes.
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9) Money Saving Expert | @MoneySavingExp
This is a great example of a business that effectively uses social media to drive traffic to its affiliate site.
Started by Martin Lewis, UK-based Money Saving Expert has grown into an international phenomenon and their Twitter account has 277k followers. With a good level of engagement and quality content, we could all learn a thing or two from these experts, in addition to some smart money-saving habits.
10) The Points Guy | @thepointsguy
The Points Guy is a winning travel blog that displays the best accommodations around the world and lists a whole host of great travel tips. It makes money from credit card sales.
This is one of the biggest companies on our list, with 25 full-time staff working on it. The Facebook page has over 1.8M followers as well, so you know they’re working hard. Their profile links to high-quality content for travelers of all types and really exemplifies how social media can be leveraged for affiliate success.
11) Every Day Carry | @everydaycarry
This venture actually started its social media life as a Tumblr blog, but now Every Day Carry has a large social presence across several channels (especially Instagram) and is using it to great effect.
With 211k followers and a great engagement rate, this review site of handbags, pouches and other items has a massive following. They use social media really effectively to get likes, shares and ultimately clicks to their website.
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12) Making Sense of Cents | @Makingsenseofcents1
This is a personal finance blog that relies on using social media over various networks to gain traffic.
Its Facebook following is about to hit 100k, and money is made selling financial products and earning commissions, as well as advertising. Making Sense of Cents is a one-woman venture, which makes it even more of a success story and yet another example of how social media is being positively used in the affiliate world.
The Bottom Line on Affiliate Marketing and Social Media
Social media is creating brand new paths to success for affiliate marketers, for whom this means targeting their audience with relevant offers. In days gone by, SEO, paid ad campaigns and getting backlinks from relevant sites were the main methods used to generate traffic and interest. Changing the landscape today, social media has emerged as a quick and free way in which to drive traffic to an affiliate site.
The thing that all these great examples of affiliates using social media have in common is that they publish quality content. It might just be a link to a post they have published on their own blog, but that post offers a lot of value to the reader.
Too many affiliate marketers put out poor-quality content. You don’t want to be one of them. – Colton Bollinger, Jumper Media CEO
Just making posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram will not get the likes, shares and clicks that you desire. Study and learn from our 12 examples above how to make effective use of these social media networks to promote your brand, present relevant content and get those conversions.
Failing to focus on social media as an affiliate marketer is a big mistake. Even if you don’t reach the impressive stats of some of the accounts featured above, it is still necessary to have an active social presence.
Don’t forget to observe and adhere to any and all rules that the various social media networks or member groups have when it comes to affiliate links on these platforms, so you will not risk your account being banned.
Consumers look for businesses on social media all the time to ascertain their validity; ignoring Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be incredibly detrimental to your success. If you are on a mission to take your business to the next level with affiliate marketing, learning from the best is a great way to start.