Affiliate Marketing and Social Media

The social media community reached such an astronomical number of members that the affiliate marketing industry cannot exclude social media from its online marketing strategy. However affiliate marketers must be very careful how to engage in social media. The approach is fundamental to benefit from social media.

Most affiliates market their specific campaigns all over the online world. I’ve seen online marketers specifically intruding in online conversations pushing hard what they have to offer. This is inappropriate and unethical and can only leave a negative result. As an affiliate, you have to be sensitive to consumer needs.

When participating in a social network conversation one must take off the affiliate hat and put on the consumer hat. This is the only way where one can really interact with consumers. Be patient and listen carefully what they have to say. Do not be the know-it-all online guru. By listening you are enriching your consumer knowledge and hence can develop your future campaign closer to what your customers need.

This online social platform basically fills in the communication gap there was between the brand and the consumer before the digital age. This is the real value of social media networking. Promoting discussion and allowing for direct consumer interaction helps build trust and brand recognition. In addition to this expansion of reach, as a marketing vehicle it allows for unparalleled level of immediacy in the transmission of information. The affiliate or business owner will receive opinions regarding potential ideas more rapidly than through more traditional media such as email.

Affiliates must also keep in mind that social media is not a race of who has most followers or fans on the network page. The value lies in how many of these members are interacting with you. This is when you can drive your members to the point of sale. But it does not stop there. Use social media for feedback about your product or service they just purchased. Their comments will assist you improving your product and your brand. Do not be scared of negative feedback. Another word of advice is to never be on the defensive when you are criticized. This is like communication between a married couple. It is not only about you. It is about the relationship between you and the consumer. Appreciate and analyze every comment you receive and you will grow wiser in your online business.

Social media in affiliate marketing works as an acquisition tool, as a retention tool and as a customer support tool. In each of the functions always give a personal approach that will help you show consumers you care and will help you develop long-lasting relationship with your consumers.

It is a must to any online marketer, whether an affiliate marketer, an SEO marketer or a search marketer as it will boost consumer numbers. Lastly, it is worth paying some attention to tracking down who holds the most influence among your social media group of friends or followers. These people are those that are the most active and are more likely to spread the word about how great your product is than anyone else. Identify these people and build relationships with them. Influence is invaluable in social media.

People love social media and it will stay around. It is not going away. It is the future like mobile phones are. Affiliate marketers must adapt their online business all the time. We are going through an ongoing evolution, as new traffic sources and techniques come up almost daily. Do not be afraid to try new techniques and to change your way of doing things. If you do not change, your online business will stagnate and freeze. Change your present for a better future.

I wish you a great day – you deserve it.

Joseph Cale
Cale Mindset

Free Tools For Social Media Optimization

Even though millions of users worldwide were using social media sites extensively every day, most marketers decided to stay away from it. They had to apprehensions regarding the use of social media – first they didn’t understand how to join the conversation without sounding ‘desperate’ to sell and secondly, they were frightened away by actually associating their brands with questionable content.

But companies have kept these apprehensions behind and realized that marketing through social mediums is unavoidable since the target audience and competitors are already there. Everyone on the internet seems to be talking about the intersection of social media marketing and SEO. Keyword optimized social content and using the right channels of promotion (known as Social Media Optimization – SMO) provide search engines with better visibility, real-time and social search

With the rise of SMO, it becomes important to use tools for research, marketing, promotion or analytics of your social marketing efforts. Following are the five free tools I use extensively to track my SMO campaigns;

  1. semrush.com – it has a huge amount of data stored in the database. It has several tools including Google Keywords, AdWords Keywords, Competitors in Google, Competitors in Adwords, AdWords Ads Texts, Potential Ad Buyers and Potential Ad Sellers. All are useful and proper reports can be viewed. I use it to check competitors mainly.
  2. Page Inlink Analyzer – You need to enter the URL, and then all the inbound links to your website, their Delicious bookmarks and keyword tags will be displayed. Good to analyze all links and keyword tags together for SMO strategy.
  3. socialmention.com – enter the keyword you want to track and this social media search engine site will display all the mediums on which your keyword has been mentioned. Real-time social search and scoring or social keyword research.
  4. Google Insights – with Google insights, you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties. Extremely useful for checking keyword demand trends
  5. knowem.com – you can check whether the name of your brand, product or username is being used on over 340 social media networks. It gives you access to all the social media websites you can use to market your company. It can be called a profile building tool

I would like to mention PostRank Analytics as well here. It is a paid service with a minimal charge of $9 per month (a free trial of a month) and is the best to track your social media efforts. You can add custom pages to track, link it with Google Analytics and record various engagement trends.

Another one that I came across recently is howsociable.com. It is a very interesting concept. You can easily gauge the social presence of a brand or a particular keyword. For each social networking site mentioned, you can click through to see specific mentions.

There are various paid tools available as well. If you’re very active on social media then I suggest paid tools will offer you tremendous advantage. And for companies with moderate level of engagement, the tools mentioned above should be good enough.

Whether Social Media Or Networking – It All Starts With the Right Conversation

There appears to be this ongoing discussion as to the return on investment for social media activities. During this perpetual dialogue, one of the more important components often overlooked is the comparative amount of time many business owners and sales professionals already spend on the same old, traditional business development activities like networking. One of the most prominent advantages associated with social media interaction as it relates to business development, is the massive benefits it provides in creating awareness, building relationships, and increasing connections. Many people seem to have no issue with spending two or three and up to five hours a week on face-to-face networking events. Yet, it is these same people who seem to be reluctant to engage in those same two-to-five hours of social media networking work. For many, this feels like a waste of time.

While we can compare the differences and the real advantages between the two, the bottom line is that whether your business development activities are social media based or face-to-face network oriented, the power of the conversation and the strength of the connection drives everything in the relationship building process. What most people do not realize that there is a tremendous opportunity to effectively engage in this very activity with social media in a manner that is at least productive, if not more, than traditional face-to-face networking. It is this experience that causes me to challenge those who value actual face-to-face networking over virtual social media networking. For those who support this challenge really do not know the potential, recognize its power, or understand the process.

In order to better understand the remarkable similarities between the two approaches and to provide a little insight in how to effectively build any relationship, virtual or otherwise, here are four areas for consideration when analyzing this debate:

1. The Potential of Many over the Hope of the Few:

Even if a networking event has 800 people in it, how many people can you effectively meet? More importantly, how many can you effectively engage in preliminary chatter and introduce yourself to them. You cannot build a relationship or close a sale at a networking event, you can only explore the potential to create interest in one. With social media it is the same, except you have the ability to introduce yourself to hundreds of thousands of people every time you initiate a conversation through social media.

2. Defining a Valuable Connection:

Relationships can be very effectively started on either medium. How you develop them is dependent upon your commitment to real relationship building. Effective networking relationships take time to build trust and rapport. The best networking relationships are always cultivated over time. Social media relationships are the same way. The problem is that most people spend too much time selling and pitching on either platform to effectively build great relationships. Which leads us to the next point-the conversation.

3. The Effective Conversation:

Great business relationships require time to develop. I have noticed that there is way too much “selling” taking place at both networking events and on social media platforms. Both platforms provide a great opportunity to create interest, establish connections and build relationships. The only difference is that the ineffective networker makes direct, face-to-face contact with the people they are turning off. Hence, they confuse having made these contacts as indicators of positive activity and productive results. With social media, the bad networker doesn’t get to actually see the people that are deleting his spammy tweets.

4. Use Your Imagination:

If you knew you were having an open-ended conversation with 1,000 people with one message, blog, or tweet how would you feel about social media? How would you feel about that opportunity? Pretend you have an opportunity to introduce yourself to 1,000 people at once. Would you pitch them or introduce yourself? Would you find out what they are up to? Would you work to discover what is important to them at that time? As a very good networker you would introduce yourself and attempt to engage all of them in a conversation that made them the focal point. It usually starts with a great open ended question that encourages people to elicit a response. It would go something like this, “what are you looking to accomplish today?” The answers will define where you go from there. In the end, true and productive relationship development requires that we encourage people to engage and share. In the social media world it is no different.

Whether face-to-face or virtual, networking and relationship building is the same. For those who probably haven’t “gotten social media” or think there needs to be an ROI for these activities, they probably need to examine their overall networking behavior anyway. Start over with your networking strategy and approach. Introduce yourself and start a conversation. Listen, learn, and start building relationships, build a lot of relationships. Whether virtual or not, great relationships are all about the conversation. Once you understand how to accomplish this, take your show onto the Internet and turn it loose. You will be amazed at the outcome.