page title icon Is Facebook Good for Affiliate Marketing?

Spending on affiliate marketing is predicted to reach close to $6.8 billion by the end of 2020. With over 80% of companies utilizing affiliate marketing, it makes sense to look into it as a means of creating income, but is Facebook the right way to go?

Facebook is good for affiliate marketing. Not only does it have billions of users, but it is also free and easy to set up. However, it is vital to develop a following and closely follow the guideline surrounding affiliate links, such as stating when the post is a promotion to be effective.

In this article, we will explore what affiliate marketing is and how to implement it into Facebook successfully.

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What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing involves promoting the product or service of a company with the hope that your audience will make a purchase. As an affiliate partner, you earn commissions from these purchases.

The basic concept of affiliate marketing involves a seller, an affiliate partner (you), and the consumer (your audience).

The Seller

The seller or the product creator can be anything from a single person creating a product or service from home, or a large company, such as Amazon. This vendor, creator, seller, or retailer often sells and advertises their own product or service.

The product or service could be a physical object, such as a hair straightener, or a service, such as Wix’s website building software. When you become an affiliate partner, the brand is not generally involved in the advertising process. Instead, they have you promote their product or service and pay you a commission if you secure a sale.

The Affiliate Partner

The affiliate partner can be an individual or a company. This person or entity, often known as a publisher, is responsible for marketing the seller’s product or service. In most cases, the publisher has an audience of their own, be it as a social media influencer, a blogger, or a company with their own website and user base.

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The publisher will most often choose a product or service that is relevant to their audience. For example:

  • A fitness influencer would do well promoting reusable water bottles. 
  • A baking blog would do well promoting non-stick baking sheets.
  • An aviation enthusiast would do well promoting a watch like Breitling.
  • A gamer would do well in promoting a set of noise-canceling headphones.

None of these publishers would do well to promote a service like a web hosting platform. Being successful in affiliate marketing is about creating promotions that work as it is about finding the right things to promote.

The Consumer

Publishers will often share their product links via social media, blogs, or websites. In many cases, the publisher will include something to inform their consumers that the links may bring them commissions.

In fact, it is against the law not to include a statement or acknowledgment that the links are part of an affiliate partnership. This can be achieved with a short comment on the page or a “#ad” if using social media.

Regardless of how the publisher recognizes the relationship, they will receive compensation if the consumer clicks on the link and makes a purchase.

The Sale

The beauty of affiliate advertising is the ability to create passive income that you can collect without having to sell anything actively. By including affiliate links on your blog or website, along with Facebook posts, you can generate sales without having to reach out to anyone individually.

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There are a few ways to earn as an affiliate partner.

Pay per Sale

The most common method of earning through an affiliate partnership is through pay per sale marketing. Once you become an affiliate partner, you will receive a unique affiliate link from the company. This is the link you will use to promote and market a specific product or service.

When someone clicks on your unique link, a small data file (cookie) is stored on their device. In some cases, this cookie will remain there anywhere from one day to 180 days. The amount of time is stated by the company when you sign up to become a partner.

This means that you will still receive your commission even if the user does not immediately make the purchase. In some cases, they can return up to six months later, and you will still get credit.

With pay per sale, there is usually a standard percentage or amount paid per sale. For example, if you were to generate 50 orders through an affiliate link with Target, you would receive 6% on each of those sales. For small orders, this may not amount to a lot, but it can begin to add up over time.

For larger commissions, platforms such as WPEngine will offer a set $200 commission for each sale made. Not only this, but they also offer a two-tier commission, meaning you will earn additional commissions by referring new affiliate partners to the program.

Pay per Lead

A lesser-used system is the pay per lead affiliate program. In this system, the affiliate partner is compensated after having generated one of their users to visit a specific website and complete an action. This could be to sign up for a trial, subscribe to a newsletter, or download a file or piece of software.

Pay per Click

This system is used to increase traffic to a website or platform. Rather than selling a product or service and receiving a commission, the affiliate partner is compensated by driving traffic to a specific site.

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Affiliate Marketing on Facebook

As of 2020, Facebook has more than 2.7 billion active monthly users. Not working with Facebook would mean missing out on a significant number of potential consumers. Regardless of what you may be promoting, Facebook has the audience already.

In order to make affiliate marketing a success on Facebook, you will need to build a brand and an audience. Long-term success is dependent on a bond of trust between the publisher and the consumer.

Create a Facebook Page

To create a Facebook page, you will need a personal page. The new page, though connected to your personal account, has no open affiliation with your account. That means your name will not be available unless you add it.

To create a Facebook page:

  1. Log in to your personal Facebook account on a desktop or laptop. Though you can create a page on a mobile device, using a desktop will allow for better viewing. 
  2. Click on the “+” found on the top right of the screen, next to your profile picture. This will give you the option to create a new post, group, or page. 
  3. Choose to create a new page. You will be presented with options for your page, and you will be asked to enter some information, including a page name. 
  4. Name your page, something that relates to your brand or other content. In most cases, a Facebook page is run in addition to a website or blog and will have the same name. 
  5. Add pictures relating to your content. These will include a profile picture and cover photo. 
  6. Once saved, you will be taken to your new page, where you will need to include some additional information. This will include a description and links to other social media accounts, blogs, or websites.
  7. If you are looking to use affiliate marketing through the page, you will need to verify it as a business page. This can be done in the administration settings and will require some additional information.

Once your page is ready to go, you can begin posting content and reaching an audience. A great way to get started is by inviting your friends to ‘like’ and share the page.

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Create Valuable Content

Content is more than just images and words designed to get ‘likes.’ More often than not, people will scroll past ads and anything that comes across as spammy. Not only do the consumers hate it, but Facebook will actively weed out posts that they think will bother their users.

Creating valuable content essentially means to create posts that are informative, funny, different, engaging, and thoughtful. These posts should be designed not to sell but to simply be entertaining.

If your page is only full of promotional material, you are far less likely to gain a trusted following. Instead, you will need to grow your audience by providing them with something they want.

For example, a fitness blogger should be looking to provide:

  • Workout hacks at home
  • Recipes for healthy snacks
  • Information on the best workout attire
  • Reviews on workout equipment
  • Meal plans for weight-loss or muscle gain 

Free content is crucial and should be engaging for your target consumer. By offering a number of free workout videos along with recipes and tips and tricks, a fitness blogger should soon find many people coming to their Facebook page. Similarly, a cooking blog should be offering multiple free recipes a day, along with cooking demonstrations.

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To get as many organic ‘likes’ as possible, use a variety of post options to keep your content fresh. These can include funny videos, image carousels, quizzes, and shared posts from similar pages.

Build a Relationship With the Consumer

Creating valuable content is only half of the battle. It is essential to foster an environment of trust, where your audience feels invested and as though they can speak with you directly. You can do this by interacting with comments, discussions, or messages.

As users comment on posts or share their own, you should be commenting back and ‘liking’ to be seen as approachable. People are far more likely to click a link to purchase a product from somebody they trust and somebody that they believe to be an authority on the subject.

For example, if you have a cooking page but post no recipes or videos, you will not be seen as informed as a page that posts multiple times per day. These pages will often use the products in question, reviewing for their audience as they promote an affiliate link.

If you want your audience to purchase the products or services you are advertising, you need them to believe you know what you’re talking about. They need to trust that what you’re saying is accurate and that you use the product or service.

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It may take some time, but soon your page should have a growing audience that trusts and actively engages with your content. Now is the time to implement affiliate marketing and adding links to your posts.

Going forward, a good rule to follow is:

  • 80% of your posts should be valuable content that is informative, entertaining, and worthy of a ‘share.’
  • 20% of your posts can include promotional links from affiliate partners.

When you do post affiliate links, try not to make them look like advertisements. Post the same high-quality pictures and videos that you usually would, but include the affiliate link in there too.

Promote Affiliate Links (When Allowed)

Not only is it vital to clarify when you are promoting an affiliate link, but there are also several other rules to follow, from Facebook and from your affiliate partners. Unfortunately, Facebook has a habit of changing their policies frequently. These are also often vague, leaving grey areas that can be tricky to navigate.

For example, Facebook states that any branded content in an ad should be defined as “a creator or publisher’s content that features or is influenced by a business partner for an exchange of value.” However, with affiliate marketing, you would not be receiving any value exchange; instead, you would receive a percentage of the revenue created by a sale.

In general, it is accepted that affiliate marketing is allowed on Facebook, provided it is clearly marked as such and not overused. However, there are restrictions in place regarding the kind of post used to promote these links, such as the use of ads or boosted posts.

Per Facebooks’ Advertising policies, you can include affiliate links so long as they do not contain:

  • Illegal products
  • Discriminatory products or services
  • Tobacco or drug-related products or services
  • Weapons or ammunition
  • Adult content
  • Profanity
  • Pay-day loans or short-term loans
  • Misleading claims
  • Anti-vax material

Facebook also has many restricted categories, such as:

  • Alcohol
  • Dating
  • Gambling
  • Pharmacies
  • Subscription services
  • Political ads
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Cosmetics or weight-loss supplements

In some cases, though allowed on Facebook, some affiliate partners do not allow their products or service to be advertised on Facebook. For example, you can post an Amazon affiliate link to your page, but you cannot promote or boost the posts using Facebook ads.

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A boosted post is usually a regular post that you can pay to reach a target market, unlike an ad that is specifically created to be shared as such.

Before posting anything that includes an affiliate link, it is crucial to go over Facebook’s guidelines and those set by the affiliate partner.

How to Successfully Promote Affiliate Links on Facebook

Once you have cultivated an engaged audience and begin promoting affiliate links, there are many ways to do so effectively:

  • Join genre-specific Facebook groups. Just be sure not to promote anything directly inside the group.
  • Use influencers if possible. They often have large followings and can help you to reach more people.
  • Use Facebook ads to reach a wider audience. Facebook ads can cost as little as $2 per day and have the potential to reach thousands of users. Carefully curate your target audience so that you are only reaching the people most likely to engage. 

By employing these strategies, along with your already trusted audience and valuable content, you can utilize Facebook’s affiliate marketing and become quite successful.

A Note on Facebook Groups

Even with an engaged audience, it can be challenging to reach everyday users. However, members of Facebook groups are often like-minded people seeking out specific content. This could be anything from photography to gaming. Regardless of the niche, if you can’t find yours, you can always create a group of your own.

The caveat to joining groups is that you often cannot actively promote inside the group. However, they are a great place to meet new potential users who may ‘like’ your page outside of the group.

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The key is to engage with others in the group and post your regular, organic content. Join in on conversations and suggest private messages for people enquiring about specific products or services. In many cases, people will go to these groups for suggestions. Rather than posting a link, request a private message through which you can include any affiliate links you think are appropriate. You may find they share the information if they deem it worthy.

Final Thoughts

Facebook is good for affiliate marketing, provided you know the rules, and create valuable content. In order to be successful, you will need to create a page and generate a following. This will involve posting multiple times per day with useful and entertaining content.

Once you have an established following, you can begin to implement affiliate links into your posts, following both Facebook’s guidelines and those of your affiliate partners. Incorporate these posts amongst your regular posts to avoid spamming your audience and getting banned by Facebook.

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