There’s more ways to make money on Facebook than by just gaining clients in the long-sell of branding on social media. You can actually make money directly off of Facebook if you know what you’re doing. Affiliate marketing on Facebook can be profitable if you have the right strategies in place.
Affiliate marketing is when a publisher (the party that gets paid) advertises a link for another party (the one that pays), and is often paid for direct results.
In this article, we discuss both sides of affiliate marketing on Facebook—how to profit as a publisher, and how to profit as the business hiring the affiliate marketer. Whichever side you fall on, this article is for you.
Types of Affiliate Marketing
A benefit for businesses hiring affiliate marketers is that they are only paying for direct results.
You don’t pay a certain amount of money for someone to run your campaign and distribute their link and see no real results. The business will give each individual publisher a unique link so that they can trace conversions and clicks back to them and pay them accordingly.
Affiliate marketing often works well for both the publisher and the advertiser. The advertiser benefits because they are only paying for direct results and nothing else. The publisher often likes affiliate marketing because they can make pretty easy money while promoting great products beneficial to their niche. It’s a mutually beneficial exchange as well as being low-risk and relatively low-cost.
Most affiliate marketing follows the pay-per-click system. This is where the publisher is paid for each click on a link, taking the potential customer to a certain landing page or the company’s site. Hint: having that link take them to a landing page is definitely a good idea.
Some companies opt to pay affiliate marketers when a certain action is taken, such as signing up for a trial or newsletter, or a purchase is made. Sometimes affiliate marketers are offered a commission off of the entire sale.
Sometimes even offering customers a percentage off if they refer new customers can benefit your company at very little cost. This is a great way to utilize positive word-of-mouth potential. You can turn your customers into affiliate marketers effortlessly.
Offering current enthusiastic customers $10 off or two weeks free of a subscription service might having them send your link out to everyone they know. I know I did when Hulu offered me two weeks if anyone I invited signed up for a free trial. Guess who got six weeks free?
Facebook offers massive potential for increased profits and clients for those who chose to advertise on it, including the tactic of affiliate marketing. Facebook is one of the top social media sites, and thus in the top arena for marketing potential.
On Facebook it’s easy for one post (hopefully with that affiliate link embedded in it) to spread quickly like wildfire. If you have one friend comment or share it, all of their friends can see it. If they share it and someone comments on their post, that reach spreads further still.
When you’re looking to expand your reach past current clients, Facebook is a great way to do it, especially when people see their friends giving a product or company a seal of trust and approval with that all-powerful like button.
How to Use Affiliate Marketers on Facebook
You have a variety of options when it comes to choosing an affiliate marketer, including when you’re looking into running an affiliate program on Facebook.
Just as you have different types of affiliate marketing payment systems, you have different types of affiliate marketers you can choose from. You have the option of using professional affiliate marketers, affiliate marketing software, or utilizing your current customers as affiliate marketers.
At the end of the day, unless you specify it in your contract, you may not get to choose exactly where and how your publishers advertise your link (blogs are often popular). Since Facebook as proven to be successful, you can, however, encourage publishers to post the link on Facebook.
I think using current clients is a great option when you want to run campaigns on Facebook through affiliate marketing. You’re taking people who are genuinely excited about—and invested in—your product and your company. They will be easy to motivate and will be genuine in spreading the good word about your business.
Fabletics (an athletic clothing line for women) makes good use of this tactic. After my first purchase I was prompted to invite friends to join their VIP service (which is free), and for every friend that made a purchase or becomes a VIP member, I would get $10 off.
They even make it easy for me to invite people. I can send out generic (and customizable) messages through e-mail. I can also send invitations through Facebook. Both of these are highly targeted options since I (as an interested customer) would know which of contacts shares these interests. Since I don’t know email addresses off hand, I would go with the Facebook option as a user.
I’ve seen a lot of friends and businesses post links to products they’ve tried and loved. Since it comes from a trusted source (yes, I trust several businesses), I’m a lot more likely to click on it and check it out. Taking advantage of Facebook’s social environment can help your affiliates, which in turn can help you.
How to Profit As a Publisher on Facebook
First and obvious rule of thumb here: don’t promote garbage. If you advertise just one, single piece of crap product, very few people who see that will check out any of your recommendations again. It can also damage your reputation, and whether you’re a business or an individual promoting the product, that can be a costly mistake. All over a piece of crap product.
Second rule: don’t take advertising into spam territory. Reposting the same exact link every fifteen minutes shows desperation and just ends up getting you hidden (or deleted) off of your followers’ timelines. You also run the risk of getting your account suspended if people report you.
Ok, those were the two big rules that you should never deviate from, no matter what. The rest are very strongly recommended suggestions.
Adding images, as always, can help catch attention. It makes your post larger in your timeline and your followers’ newsfeed, and a bright, colorful, relevant picture can catch interest long enough for people to read what you wrote about the product.
Promoted posts can be your friend. If you think you have a great product on your hands and you can get conversions, promoting your post through the create-an-ad campaign could easily provide great results. When using word-of-mouth as a means of marketing, posting a snippet on your timeline about the product with the affiliate link can work wonders, and promoting the post can expand your reach to get you the results you want.
You can also create ads on Facebook through their ad system that markets the affiliate product. You can have the ad take them to a landing page for the company, using that affiliate link. The ads system lets you deliver the information you want to a larger and highly targeted audience that is most likely to engage with it.
Depending on what your contract requires you to do as a publisher to get paid (whether you’re getting paid for clicks on a link to a landing page or commission off of a sale), you’ll choose your objective in the ads system. If you just need to get users to click on your affiliate link, you would choose the “clicks to website” objective.
You would enter in that affiliate link in the “URL to promote” box.
If you get commission by some action taken by a user, such as a registration or a purchase, you’ll need to choose website conversions as your ad objective.
The website conversions option lets you chose what type of conversion you want to measure, including registrations, leads, and purchases. Whenever your chosen action is taken, it will be noted in your ads manager.
You must agree to the terms of service, and you can either create or use an existing pixel. Once you get the conversion pixel, you need to install it into your website. Facebook’s instructions to do so are as follows:
For more information about conversion pixels (including how to send someone else the information to install them), you can see Facebook’s guide here.
When it comes to Facebook Ads, you have to be careful, however, that you aren’t spending more running your campaign than you’re making (or potentially could make) off conversions. At the end of the day, after all, it’s not your product and the entirety of those sales aren’t going directly into your profit margins even if you are making commission.
Once you’ve started your campaign, you can use Insights to monitor engagement on the posts in which you advertise the affiliate product. You can actually see how many users clicked on the affiliate link, and if you have more than one post advertising the product, you can see which was more profitable to learn for the future.
Marketing, including affiliate marketing, is all about a learning curve, and the best affiliates put in the effort to learn what works and what doesn’t for their individual audience.