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How to Use Social Media for Affiliate Marketing



As free, user-friendly places full of diverse audiences, interactions, brands, and influencers, social media platforms are the perfect channels for affiliate marketing. The various platforms make it easy to recommend products, share referral links, and promote your business. In 2021, social media has emerged as one of the go-to channels for beginners and professional affiliate marketers. In this article, we’ll look into some of the basic steps, as well as the do’s and don’ts of using social media for affiliate marketing.

Why is Social Media an Excellent Source of Traffic for Affiliate Marketing?

1. In social networks, users share information about themselves (gender, age, marital status, education, geography, work, interests, and so on), which means you can easily set up targeting that is as accurate as possible to reach the right customers.

2. Among the many social media networks, you can find a platform for posting almost any type of content. Some of them are tailored for certain formats (for example, YouTube for videos), while others are more universal (such as Facebook) and allow you to publish any type of content.

3. Social media does not require web development knowledge. You can simply create a page or launch an advertising campaign. You do not need to develop a standalone website if the affiliate program allows you to send traffic directly to the advertiser’s website.

4. On social media, both paid and free traffic is available. For example, you can create a Facebook page and attract some traffic without spending a cent. To grow quickly or reach a larger audience, you can run paid ads.

5. Most affiliate programs accept traffic from social networks. For example, social media is allowed in the Amazon affiliate program and for most travel brands available through the Travelpayouts affiliate network.

How to Choose a Social Media Network

Social media can offer many benefits for affiliate marketers, but you can’t just choose a random platform for your affiliate business. There are lots of things to keep in mind, including your business goals, target audience, type of content, competition, etc. To help you make a calculated decision, we’ve provided an overview of the most popular social media platforms and listed their pros and cons for affiliate marketing.


Facebook is a social media powerhouse thanks to its early emergence and worldwide audience of 2.7 billion users. The site presents marketers with a great opportunity to reach both a diverse audience and specific niche groups. Furthermore, Facebook supports all different ad and media formats, which users can share easily.

Another benefit of the platform for affiliate marketing is that there are many ways you can post affiliate links on Facebook. For example, you can insert a link in your post content, share it on your Timeline, in your About section, in a status update, etc.

There are some downsides too. While impressively large, Facebook’s user base is getting older compared to other social media platforms, as younger generations are becoming less active on the platform and prefer other networks.

Furthermore, users are subject to newsfeed algorithms, which makes it difficult for marketers to promote their posts and requires a lot of content creation to drive affiliate sales.


Instagram doesn’t lag too far behind Facebook with its audience of roughly one billion active monthly users worldwide (50% of which scroll the app every day). As a predominantly visual platform, Instagram’s strength is engaging users, especially the younger generation (65% of Instagram’s users are under the age of 34).

Though you can’t add affiliate links directly to Instagram posts, you can still use the platform to promote affiliate offers. For example, you can use coupon codes or add an affiliate link to your Instagram bio. In addition, you can add Instagram Link Stickers to Instagram stories if you have a verified account.

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Image Source: Instagram

Another way to share a link on Instagram is to use a link service like LinkTree. Here’s an Instagram link tree example from the account helma_bujo.


Furthermore, Instagram Checkout allows you to sell products directly on the platform, making it easier to reach an audience with an intent to buy.

However, the high saturation of content can make it challenging to generate organic traffic on your own. This is partially due to Instagram’s algorithms and prevalence of ads, which can drown out organic posts.


Twitter is great for public relations purposes, as brands can establish their unique personalities and voices, as well as engage directly with users on the platform. The site’s format enables quick reaction times and easy retweets, which can help expand a company’s reach beyond its own followers. Marketers can monitor trending topics to stay up to date and pin tweets with referrals.

Twitter makes promoting affiliate links easy, as it allows you to add them to tweets, your bio, and direct messages.

Image Source: Twitter

The main disadvantage of Twitter for affiliate marketing is that its user growth is slow compared to other social media apps. Furthermore, advertising can get pricey, while analytics remain limited.


People watch over one billion hours of YouTube content per day, making it the second most visited site on the Internet after Google. The platform is full of content and attracts active, engaged users of different backgrounds and ages, which makes it the perfect place for affiliate marketers. In fact, 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.

YouTube is a great place to promote affiliate products because you can insert links in the About section, video description, and in the comments below the description.

Image Source: YouTube

Though you can generate a solid affiliate income on YouTube, the learning curve for vlogging can be quite steep and producing quality video content can be time-consuming and pricey.


Pinterest has over 250 million active users scrolling the site each month. As a popular search engine for images, it has a lot of potential for visually focused marketers. In fact, 61% of users say they have purchased a product after seeing it on Pinterest.

Pinterest makes it easy to share content and drive traffic directly to your affiliate website. The platform allows you to place links in pins or in the About section.

Image Source: Pinterest

The drawback of the platform for affiliates is its specific audience, which is made up of more than 60% women. In addition, 38% of US Pinterest users are aged between 50 and 64. As a result, you need to take a closer look at the platform’s audience and make sure your target audience is within this scope.

Now that you know the distinctive features of the most popular social media platforms, take your time to compare them and find a perfect fit for your affiliate business. You can also combine several platforms to expand your reach and boost your affiliate earnings.

If you need more guidance on choosing the right social media platform for your affiliate business, have a look at this post.

How to Create a Powerful Affiliate Campaign

Once you’ve decided on a platform, it’s time to start your affiliate journey and create an effective affiliate campaign. A website can be the perfect take-off point for your affiliate business. However, even if you don’t have one, you can still use social media to generate a healthy affiliate income.

Below, you’ll find some do’s and don’ts to help you launch a powerful affiliate campaign on social media.

Conduct Proper Research

Before setting up an affiliate website and building a social media campaign, make sure to do your homework. Figure out your area of focus and target audience. What is their preferred social media platform? Is there a lot of competition within your niche? Are there a lot of affiliate programs within it?

It is also important to assess market demand for your niche to better understand which products consumers are willing to pay for.

Focus on Content

Once you’ve selected your niche, remain active and focus on content creation. Quality content is crucial to generating traffic and the overall success of your affiliate marketing campaign. Do your posts grab attention? Can they stand on their own regardless of your affiliate link?

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Dedicate at least a couple of hours every day to your posts to reach high engagement numbers. Also, make sure you rotate different types of content to educate and entertain your followers, while providing value to them.

Here are some of the content types that perform well on social media:

  • How-to-guides and tips

Image source: Facebook

  • Tutorials

Image source: YouTube

  • Quotes

Image source: Instagram

  • Questions and polls

Image Source: Twitter

  • Behind-the-scenes content

Image source: Facebook

Don’t Promote Too Many Products

Let’s say you use social media to drive traffic to your affiliate website. Naturally, you may feel tempted to post tons of affiliate products on your website hoping that they’ll generate lots of sales. Yet, if you get carried away and clutter your website with too many affiliate products, it may frustrate and confuse your audience. For steady, long-term growth, focus on only a few products.

Create Great Visuals That Align With Your Brand

If you want to drive a lot of affiliate sales through social media, create attention-grabbing visuals that align with the look and feel of your brand. Also, make sure your visuals are consistent across different platforms.

Take a look at how Courtnie and Nate (behind manage to bring the same color palette to their Instagram account and YouTube channel.

Image Source: Instagram Image Source: YouTube

Always Disclose Affiliate Links

There are two main reasons you need to disclose your links. First, you’re legally bound to disclose affiliate relationships. Second, keeping these relationships secret can undermine the trust and reputation you’ve worked so hard to build.

When disclosing affiliate links, make sure your disclaimers are easy to spot and understand. Here are some examples that do it right:

Image Source: YouTube Image Source: Facebook

For more tips on how and when to make good disclosures, take a look at the Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers brochure or watch this video by FTC.

Don’t Rush

Affiliate marketing is a long-term game. It may take months to generate traffic and revenue, so don’t quit after a couple of months simply because you haven’t yet achieve your expected results. Instead, spend this time creating regular, compelling content and improving your website.

It’s true that affiliate marketing requires a lot of time and effort, but the payoff is also huge.

How to Achieve Organic Reach on Social Media

Organic reach is a metric in the world of social media marketing that indicates the number of users who have seen your posts or content without the use of paid promotion. Why is this metric important for your affiliate campaigns? The more people see and interact with your content, the more likely you are to build and maintain a strong rapport with your following, grow brand awareness, save money on paid promotion, and, finally, boost affiliate conversions.

Here’re some actionable tips to help you grow your organic reach on social media.

Understand the Algorithms

Since algorithms determine how your content appears on people’s feeds, understanding how algorithms work on every social media platform is an important part of expanding your organic reach.

For example, Facebook favors posts that provoke user interaction, while Instagram focuses on user relationships and interests. Twitter has a relevance score that depends on things like regency, presence of media attachments, and user engagement.

If you’re using several social media platforms, study their algorithms and tweak your content accordingly for each app. This post by SproutSocial explains the ins and outs of social media algorithms and shares some tips on how to outsmart them.

Interact With Your Audience

What unites every social media algorithm is engagement. The more active interactions your posts receive, the wider your reach will be. Allocate time every day to like, share, and reply to comments on social media. This will improve your feed rankings.

Here’s how the creators of the Vagabrothers Channels communicate with their audience and engage them in conversations.

Image Source: YouTube

Focus on Quality

To expand your organic reach, prioritize quality content that sparks interactions. Publishing posts too frequently will not work, since all algorithms favor content that sparks engagement. The most successful content creates conversations among your audience and inspires them to reply, share, and like your posts.

Make Your Social Media Profile and Posts More Searchable

Social media profiles rank on search engines, often appearing at the top of the search results. In addition, people use social media to search for information. That’s why to boost your visibility and drive more affiliate conversions, it’s important to optimize your social media profiles and posts for SEO.

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Here are some of the SEO strategies you can implement to get more views on social media.

  • Create a memorable username that will be a perfect fit for your brand and niche.

Image Source: Instagram

  • Use relevant keywords in your bio and descriptions.

Image Source: Pinterest Image Source: YouTube

  • To help more people discover your content, use relevant hashtags.

Image Source: Twitter

For more tips on improving your organic reach, check out this post by Hootsuite.

How to Make the Most of Paid Traffic

Paid traffic requires an investment of resources, time, and money, but can yield plenty of benefits for your affiliate business, including faster growth, broader reach, and higher conversion rates. For the best results, figure out your target audience, don’t be afraid to experiment, and analyze, analyze, analyze.

Do Target the Right Audience

Finding the right target audience is as important as designing your content. People rush through ads, which are numerous on any platform. So, if you publish an ad without determining the right audience pool, it will most likely be dismissed and forgotten. Make sure you spend sufficient time in the targeting phase until you find a good fit.

Don’t Neglect Analysis

Picking the wrong keywords may leave you with the wrong audience, who may find your content irrelevant. So, make sure you thoroughly optimize the right keywords. Think about the most used phrases in your niche and match them with the search intent behind your campaign. There are many free tools that can help you research the right keywords for your niche.

Do Test and Adjust

You may not achieve the desired results with your first paid social media campaign and that’s totally normal. The most successful ads are the result of meticulous analysis, experimentation, and constant improvement. Don’t be afraid to tweak your variables, experiment, and optimize to find the formula that works for you.

How to Track and Analyze Your Affiliate Campaigns

Once you set up your campaign, it’s important to establish a system for analyzing and tracking your activity and results. This will help you stay ahead of the curve, build a massive following, and drive tons of affiliate sales. It also allows you to streamline your social media strategy and make it more effective.

What Metrics to Track on Social Media?

What metrics do you need to keep in mind when tracking your affiliate campaigns on social media? The answer to this question mostly comes down to the goals of your campaigns.

Let’s say you run an Instagram campaign to boost brand awareness. The potential metrics to measure are engagement, reach, and follower count. If you launch a Facebook campaign to drive more traffic to your affiliate website, the potential metrics to track are: clicks on your posts and the amount of traffic to your website from Facebook.

What Tools Can You Use to Analyze Your Campaigns?

Most social media platforms have built-in analytics features to help you gauge your campaigns and understand what performs well.

Affiliates can also track and analyze their links through tools like Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager (GTM).

In addition, the web offers a wide range of third-party tools that can make social media analytics hassle-free, including Sprout Social, BuzzSumo, Buffer, etc.

To learn more about free and paid social media analytics tools and how to use them to your maximum benefit, take a look at this post.

Bottom Line

You can generate a massive affiliate income through social media (even without a website). To do this, make sure you build a well-rounded affiliate strategy, invest time and effort into boosting your organic reach, and make the most of paid traffic. Also, be sure to track your campaigns to get insights about their performance and tweak them for success.

Good luck and happy affiliate marketing!

Author:  Byline – Andrey Novoselov, Travelpayouts

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