Affiliate marketers are, in many ways, on the cutting edge of Internet marketing. We have to be; competition is fierce, and being the first one to take advantage of a new technology or tactic often means being the biggest force in our niche in that new area.
Social media is one of those areas that is still cutting edge, but that affiliate marketers are still really trying to get a handle on. Social networks are built for people to connect with one another, share their thoughts, and to play games. How marketing fits into that model is still something we’re working out.
Seeing the real potential
Facebook has 700 million users, and Twitter has 150 million. Those are huge markets. Many of those users are in your target market. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that social media has tremendous potential.
That said, you need to focus in on a microcosm of that big social media picture. That’s where the true potential lies. After all, not all 700 million Facebook users are in your target market. If you’re lucky, there might be 500,000 Facebook users in your target market. Finding and reaching those 500,000 is where the real potential of social media marketing rests.
The key to unlocking potential
The trick with social networking – just like with other new technologies before it – is to figure out how people use social networks and then integrate affiliate marketing into that process. For example, Twitter users like to share links to useful and interesting articles and websites. Having a “tweetable” landing page – even if it isn’t a direct sales page – can draw in traffic and lead to sales.
Facebook games are another example. These are trickier, largely because when people go to play a Facebook game they’re probably not especially likely to click on ads. However, if you can develop a game that directly relates to a niche you’re selling in, you can find ways to offer click opportunities.
Plenty of lost potential, too
Measuring your success and progress is key with social media marketing (just like it is with any other type of marketing). Track your social media marketing activities, and look at real numbers – links, sales, signups, etc. – and judge your success from there. Simply throwing up a Facebook page and sending out scheduled Tweets probably isn’t going to make much of a difference. A well-designed and well-executed plan, however, can bring in some big numbers and unleash that potential.