“Almost overnight, the Internet’s gone from a technical wonder to a business must.”

“Almost overnight, the Internet’s gone from a technical wonder to a business must.”

THE EVOLUTION OF social media has been slow, but forceful - from a handful of communities to where it stands now, as a multi-billion dollar industry.
It has consumed the market, fuelled by advancements in technology. Social media has become a mainstream channel for business communication and market interaction. It facilitates the customisation of marketing personas for targeted audiences on a more effective social media platform.

Affiliate marketing

Ecommerce binds affiliate marketing and social media. Affiliate marketing through social media has facilitated the expanse of marketing reach to an altogether different stratum, where applied science combines with commercialisation with a dash of social media tactics to advertise on a global scale. Social media marketing is becoming an important medium for brands to communicate and build relationships with consumers.

There are certain things that you, as an affiliate, should keep in mind when it comes to social media marketing:

• People talk about products or services they like. If something is not worth talking about, it's not worth market time.
• A product gets recommended by a friend on a social networking site and people start following suit. This is when ,Facebook, Linkedln or Twitter comes into the picture.
• As opined by an insightful businessman, “Linkedln is for people you know. Facebook is for people you used to know. Twitter is for people you want to know.” They help in brand engagement and market productivity.
• Targeting the right audience is important. Customers constitute the marketing team. Aim for customer satisfaction, and landing among the stars is guaranteed.
• Content management is crucial for marketing. Content drives conversations. Engage through conversations to market a brand or increase visibility. Content and the distribution of content is a key step in brand promotions.

Promoting a brand on a social media site proves that the brand has a strong personality and is open to customers’ reviews and demands. It is a sensation and everyone you know or want to know is there. The question here is how can one use social media effectively? To start with, set-up a fan page for your blogging site and attract readers. Facebook has its fan pages, groups, news feeds, applications, and a direct advertising option and now, it has the subscriptions feature too. Utilise any of these to divert web traffic from Facebook to your website using affiliate links. The more traffic you can divert to affiliate links, the more sales it will generate and thus, money will automatically pour in. Affiliate marketers can even add blog RSS to Facebook and every time you post something, it reaches your Facebook fans.

If they have been sufficiently motivated, they will come back to check the post. This further increases the chances of buying an affiliate product from your blog.

Twitter, again, is about the numbers. The more people you know, the more your potential profit. Start with building a strong network of followers who you can directly tweet the affiliate link to. It is about segmenting and understanding the target audience, and figuring out the best ways to get a message across about a super-compelling proposition. The aim is to create brand awareness with articles or campaigns and provide inbound links to the pages thus channelling flow of traffic while maintaining market engagement.

Future outlook

If we now contemplate the future of social media marketing, the first adage that strikes us is that, “Nothing lasts forever”. The intense relationship between social media and affiliate marketing is a slippery subject. The best that you can do is to recognise the changing market landscape and adapt. Monetising a website is appealing, but then knowing where to draw the line is what you should keep in mind. Too much of anything wreaks havoc, and the same applies to affiliate marketing.

Cluttering your site with innumerable ads flashing from every angle will only drive away traffic. Choose ads which cater to your customers while offering the products and services that you want. Make sure you know your legal rights as an affiliate and talk to affiliate managers when in doubt. Like everything else, affiliate marketing is trial and error method based on a game of well placed ads strung on tuned keywords. It takes time and patience, but it pays back huge dividends too.

So, all said and done, evolve, diversify and play fair for a productive and profitable tomorrow.
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