INFLUENCER MARKETING

Using Influencers for Affiliate Marketing in 2021

Alexandra Kazakova

By Alexandra Kazakova
9 min READ | Jun 24 2020

An Instagram Influencer Jason Stone (aka the Millionaire Mentor) made $7 million in retail sales through Instagram affiliate marketing.

49% of Twitter users say that they purchased something because of a Tweet from an influencer. On YouTube and Pinterest content with affiliate URLs has proven to have higher user engagement.

Why is it important for you?

Affiliate programs are a fantastic tool to increase sales, generate leads, and drive traffic to their websites. In fact, 80% of advertisers and 84% of publishers have reported running an affiliate program.

However, the expectations of consumers towards advertisement have evolved over the years. Customers expect to see content that drives value and is authentic. As a result, brands started to work with influencers to boost engagement and build trust with potential customers.

Unlike traditional affiliates, influencers are niche content creators . They spark genuine conversations and reach your ideal audience across different social media platforms.

In this article, we cover critical aspects of influencer and affiliate marketing and how to combine them to power up your marketing strategy.

Using Social Media for Affiliate Marketing

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

We can break the affiliate marketing model down into three key components:

  1. The brand (advertiser) who wants to generate sales or tap into new market segments. So it aims at creating awareness and advertising its products or services online to potential customers. The brand pays affiliate only for customers who take a predefined action on the brand's website.
  2. The affiliate who promotes the products online using various methods. For example, by placing links on their blogs and websites. Some affiliates post on social media, forums, communities, emails, videos, and podcasts. There are also affiliate networks that act as intermediaries between the brand and affiliates. Most affiliate networks charge annual fees to the brands to get access to their database of affiliates.
  3. The customer visits the affiliate website, YouTube channel, blog, or sees the social media post. He/ she uses a promo code or clicks on the link and then takes action on the brand's website. It can be an online purchase, a subscription, or a contact form.

To track online sales, brands use unique promo codes or a special affiliate software, like Post Affiliate Pro or Tracking Pixel.

What Is The Difference Between Affiliate and Influencer Marketing?

Influencer Marketing vs Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate and influencer marketing overlap in quite a few areas, but have specific differences.

Let's look at them:

Who are Influencers and Affiliates?

  • Most influencers are bloggers, celebrities, and media personalities.
  • Affiliates can be companies, publishers, and sometimes bloggers too.

Goals of Affiliate and Influencer Marketing:

  • Influencers create brand awareness and drive engagement among their target audience.
  • Affiliate marketing aims at generating leads and driving revenues.

Marketing Tools and Mediums

  • Influencers are using social media as a primary channel to engage with their audiences and to promote products.
  • Affiliates, in most cases, use websites that target the same niche as the brand. They send traffic to the brand's website by posting links or running display ads.

Cost of Influencer Marketing vs. Affiliate Marketing

  • Brands pay influencers per post or compensate them with a flat fee. Sometimes, influencers accept free products as payment.
  • As a standard, affiliates receive a percentage of sales. For generating leads and completing forms brands offer a "pay per action" option to affiliates.

Success Measurement of Influencer Marketing vs. Affiliate Marketing

  • 75% of marketers use social media engagement as a primary success metric for influencer marketing. Engagement metrics include impressions, likes, mentions, reach, etc. Influencers generate valuable, trustworthy content that sparks meaningful conversations around the brand.
  • Brands measure affiliate marketing by the average order value and sales volume. In some cases, they measure the number of subscriptions, link clicks, and site traffic.

Which strategy to choose? It depends on your goals. We recommend leveraging the joint power of influencer and affiliate marketing.

Keep reading to get actionable insights into using influencers for affiliate marketing.

How to Create Your Affiliate Program?

Before you reach out to the influencers, you need to create an affiliate program and decide on your goals and measurement. You can use affiliate software to create the marketing program, or you can set it up in-house.

Follow these steps to start your affiliate program:

  1. Set Goals. How are you going to measure the success of your affiliate program? Are you going to be measuring traffic or sales volume? When working with influencers, include engagement in your goals.
  2. Decide on commission and payment. Will you pay your affiliates percentages or a fixed amount? How often will the payment be?
  3. How will you track sales or traffic? Will you create tracked links or use an affiliate software to calculate the traffic to your website? Will you create a promo code to track sales? Tracking must be accurate, so you don't run into problems with affiliates by miscalculating sales or traffic.
  4. Find the affiliates. Finding influencers for your affiliate program can be difficult if you are unsure who you are looking for. There are many ways to find them once you have decided on what type of affiliates you need.

On Which Platforms Can You Find B2C Influencers for Affiliate Marketing?

There are various ways to find influencers for your affiliate marketing program. But which social media platform to choose?

Before you start your search, consider:

  • Which social media platforms fit best with your brand and content you are planning to use.
  • How well this platform fits with your target audience demographic.
  • The quality of content available on the social media platform

For example, SaaS brands use YouTube to create product tutorials. On the other hand, Instagram affiliate marketing is an excellent way for fashion and lifestyle brands to display their product.

TikTok is a fantastic platform if you are targeting Generation Z. For mobile apps, TikTok influencers can create viral content that will reach millions of people.

Here is the summary of leading social media platforms on which you can find influencers for affiliate marketing:


How to Use YouTube Influencers for Affiliate Marketing

With 1.8 billion monthly users, only Google is ahead of YouTube in website traffic.

The audience on YouTube is actively engaged, so it is an excellent platform to reach the right users and share your product. From video tutorials to product reviews, YouTube offers a vast array of engaging content for brands.

Since 64% of people are more inclined to buy a product online after watching a video, YouTube affiliate marketing is a fantastic way to boost sales.

Partner with YouTube influencers to make content around your product and share tracking links to your store. Tutorials, product mentions, video reviews, and test runs work best to promote your brand.

On YouTube, you can track sales or traffic from the affiliate in several ways:

  • Influencers can share tracking links to your online store in the video's description:
YouTube Influencer Affiliate Marketing Example
  • Members of the YouTube Partner Program can place links directly in the video.
  • YouTuber can share coupon codes with viewers of the video.

Combining a promo code in the video and a link in the description offers viewers more incentives for visiting your website.

How To Use Influencers for Instagram Affiliate Marketing

Instagram Influencer Affiliate Post Example

Instagram has over 1 billion users, and 51% access the platform at least once per day. This social media channel offers a great variety of genuine content. Instagram Stories, Live streams, and high-quality photos offer many authentic ways to promote products.

There are many ways to find influencers on Instagram. But before you search, you need to know who your target audience is. Mutual relevance between the brand and the influencer is of a key importance in Instagram affiliate marketing. The audience must enjoy the posts they see in their feed.

Instagram affiliate marketing is about quality, not quantity. So when looking for influencers, you must analyze their engagement and the authenticity of their content.

Micro-influencers are the best for building trust with your potential customers They impact specific niches and audiences and have high engagement rates. Micro-influencers can reach the right people to drive your brand’s message.

On Instagram, there are several ways to send traffic to your website and to track sales:

  • Influencer posts content about your product or service and can include your URL in the comments.
  • You can create an exclusive coupon code for each influencer. Instagram affiliates can add it to the post caption, Instagram story, or mention it in the live stream.
  • If you plan a long-term cooperation with the influencer, he/she can include the affiliate link to your site in the bio.
  • Influencer can add a swipe-up link in Instagram Stories. Note: this feature is available only to business accounts with 10,000+ followers.

Remember that except driving sales, Instagram increases the intangible aspects of marketing. They include brand loyalty, brand recognition, and consumer trust.

How To Use TikTok Influencers for Affiliate Marketing

Targeting a younger audience? TikTok will be a significant addition to your affiliate marketing strategy if your brand has a fun side.

TikTok's audience best suits fashion, lifestyle, beauty, and other consumer products. Real estate or home improvement won't benefit much from the platform.

Before you head to TikTok to find influencers for affiliate marketing, consider the following points:

  • TikTok is a mobile app. So your website content and landing pages must be 100% optimized for mobile.
  • The option of adding a link to the videos is not yet available on TikTok. Promo codes are the best way to track sales and to encourage users to visit your site. Make sure that the code is easy to spell, pronounce, and remember.

Although you cant add links to the posts on TikTok, the platform has rich, eye-catching content that engages the users. Using different methods, like Hashtag Challenges, TikTok influencers attract new customers to your brand.

For more info, check out our Ultimate Guide to TikTok Influencer Marketing.

Conclusion

There is a massive potential for any business in using social Influencers for Affiliate Marketing. Influencers help brands tap into new markets and build brand awareness.

With the choice of social media platforms and a variety of content they offer, you can reach a new, engaged audience.

Create your Affiliate Marketing Program using the steps we described. Then choose the right platform for your brand. You can aim at a more specific niche by concentrating your efforts on one of the social media platforms. Or combine Instagram Affiliate Marketing, YouTube, and TikTok. Leverage different mediums to target wider audiences or to promote diverse products.

Research your buyer persona to find the right influencers to reach your potential customers. Work on building long-term relationships with influencers. So you can create meaningful connections with their followers.

Measure your campaigns and focus on those with the highest ROI. Whether you use promo codes or affiliate links, track the results to maximize returns.

Make influencers part of your affiliate marketing strategy and position your brand to gain exposure.

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