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How to use social media for affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the most profitable ways to promote. The effectiveness of this tool has already been appreciated by businesses in various industries all over the world, and its dullness is only growing from year to year.

According to the data, affiliate marketing spending has increased significantly since 2010, and by 2022 it’s projected to reach $8.2 billion in the US alone. It has become one of many social media trends.

Despite this, affiliate marketing is difficult to implement and to achieve impressive results you need to think carefully about the issue. Today we will put everything in place and tell you in detail about the features of this tool and its organization.

Let's talk separately about the implementation in social networks.

What is affiliate marketing on social media?

Affiliate marketing is a form of marketing in which products or services are promoted by other people or companies. The latter receives a percentage of the sales; this is their interest. A business, on the other hand, promotes its own products, minimizing risks.

Several terms are important in affiliate marketing:

  • The advertiser is the actual manufacturer or seller of the product. It is its product that forms the offer. The key task of affiliate marketing is to stimulate the execution of a targeted action that is associated with a product. It is the advertiser who forms the promotion budget. It determines what percentage the partner will receive for the targeted user action.

  • The partner is the party that attracts traffic. This could be influencers or other companies that drive user interest. The partner's job is to get people to take action. The faster users complete it, the faster the reward will arrive.

  • The client is the person who performs the targeted action, for example, buying a product. Referred users who have not yet completed the targeted action are called "traffic." It’s important to distinguish between paid and free traffic. The first is attracted through advertising. Free traffic is users lured by good content marketing or SEO. In this article we’re focusing on social networks, so content as a way to drive and increase social media traffic is much more relevant.

Affiliate networks, which are sites that post relevant offers, can also participate in affiliate marketing. Networks are an intermediary between advertisers and affiliates. They do not always resort to their help. Affiliate network income is, in fact, a percentage of the partner's earnings, often 10-20%.

Cooperation with them has a number of advantages:

  • Large coverage

  • Availability of a personal manager to help organize and improve the offer

  • Ensuring fast turnover of funds

How to measure effectiveness of affiliate marketing on social media

It is important not only to perform certain actions but also to improve them, which is absolutely impossible without evaluating their effectiveness.

The first thing an advertiser should take care of is tracking targeted actions, which requires the use of special tools. With their help, you can:

  • See the number of targeted actions completed

  • Make sure that customers come from a specific partner

On the one hand, accounting for targeted actions in affiliate marketing is a difficult task in and of itself. However, there is also a risk of fraud by unscrupulous partners. It’s important for the advertiser to protect themselves. Otherwise, the budget may be used ineffectively. For example, for allegedly performed actions that were not actually performed.

Also, the lack of an established system for tracking targeted actions is a risk for partners. After all, how to be sure that there will be a reward? By setting up tracking, you ensure marketing effectiveness, budget allocation, and partner guarantees.

These strategies will help:

  1. Referral links. This method can be called classic. Its essence is to provide referral links posted by partners on sites, accounts, mailing lists, or messages. This is used when a simple page on a social network is not enough. Tracking is provided by installing a script on the target site. For example, an online store page. Therefore, don't only rely on social media. You also need your own website to capture leads. It is the installation of the tracking script that ensures the reading of the referral part of the link. This is how the partner is identified. As soon as the user performs the target action, the script captures it. The reward is automatically credited to the partner.

  2. Promo codes. They are assigned to the partner. If there are many of them, then everyone is given a unique promo code. The client enters it upon completion of the target action. The advantage of this method is its ease of implementation. It is enough for them to have minimal software. The disadvantage of the solution is that the promo codes involve a discount. Accordingly, the profitability from sales decreases. 

  3. Tracking by referral source. This is a lightweight version of the first method. The tracking script is also needed here. However, they don’t register a referral link, but a partner site. This makes the prospect's journey easier by reducing the degree of mistrust. The only drawback is that this method cannot always be used. It works if the advertisement takes place on a specific partner site. The method is not suitable for mailings and offers of partners in social networks.

Affiliate marketing is an effective way to promote, but only when the appropriate partner, advertising message, or platform is selected. Therefore, it is necessary to track efficiency. You should also pay attention to the following criteria:

  1. The ratio of ad clicks to landing page/site impressions (click-through rate).

  2. The conversion rate, which is the proportion of users who went to the site and performed the targeted action.

  3. The number of queries about your affiliate program in search engines; obviously a positive sign if the rate is increasing.

  4. Partner reward for one click (EPC).

With effective affiliate marketing, the first three metrics will grow. If so, be sure to motivate your partner and increase your reward.

Affiliate marketing payment models

In this case, payment is made according to a similar principle to regular advertising. The company whose products are being promoted has four payment models:

  • СРV – payment for advertising placement

  • CPA – payment for targeted actions performed by users (following a link, ordering a call, etc.)

  • CPS – payment directly for the purchase of products

  • CPI – payment for installing the application (relevant for software manufacturers)

How to use social media for affiliate marketing: Finding partners

Social media mentions

For effective affiliate marketing, you need to find people who are able to advertise your product to the appropriate target audience. Monitoring of mentions and social listening contribute to this. Moreover, there are platforms like Emplifi Social Marketing Cloud that allow you to do this in one click.

Social media monitoring allows you to find out:

  1. What do they say about you (image)?

  2. Who is talking about you and with whom (target audience)?

  3. Where are they talking about you (communication channels)?

These events are a great way to form the foundation of your promotion strategy. Platforms with the most active audience will be shown. Also, tracking mentions will allow you to see content that users are interested in.

It may turn out that potential customers prefer a different format of product presentation or interaction. For example, for more engagement in your social media posts you can use quizzes, and monitoring can also help determine the tone of the advertising message.

A separate advantage is the ability to find partners. Moreover, these people will probably be more supportive of the idea of ​​cooperation. Loyal customers often become brand advocates. And in this case, they will get even more – the opportunity to earn on advertising of their favorite brand.


This type of partner is most prominent in the context of social networks. They have a large audience of followers, and it can be extremely positive for business promotion and brand awareness.

Most often, influencers interact with followers through Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. You can find the right influencer in accordance with the specifics of the target audience. After all, each platform has its own users.

Influencers tend to specialize in a specific niche. For example, beauty, travel, technology, etc., so you can find someone who is close to your product.

And don’t just judge an influencer by the size of their audience. Socialbakers data shows that partnering with a few micro influencers (less than 50,000 followers) can create higher engagement and likely fulfill goals better than working with bigger influencers.


Nothing works as effectively as word of mouth. Come up with rewards for clients. For example, a discount on the next purchase provided for an unboxing video, or a review left. People trust the recommendations of friends and family more than advertisements, and it’s worth putting that to good use.

This method is really good because it directly relates to a high degree of trust. According to research, 93% of respondents trusted the recommendations of friends. So, by using social media for affiliate marketing, you win.

The best affiliate marketing practices on social media

Convenience of interaction

If you are an affiliate advertising someone else's product, then you should make the process simple for you and the advertiser. Ask to create an affiliate link, because it looks nicer and if you have an affiliate link you can place it anywhere, like on the website or in social media posts. At the same time, it will be easy for the advertiser to track the flow of traffic from you.


A beautiful image of a product can say more than a thousand words about it. Therefore, present the advertised product. This simple action will attract more user attention. In addition, product images are an excellent solution for the harmonious incorporation of advertising into the content plan.

The publication can be supplemented with a link to the advertiser. This will make the ad not only attractive but also user-friendly. Accordingly, it will increase the likelihood of conversion.

Content quality

Here we are talking about two aspects at once – the image of the affiliate and the attitude towards the choice of advertisers. The main strength of a partner is followers. Therefore, as a part of your social media content strategy, try to always create high-quality, interesting, and useful content. This will help you maintain the credibility and trust of your audience.

Be sure to consider the choice of the advertised business carefully. Make sure it’s a product or service that you can stand behind. You can create great content, but promoting bad products can lose your credibility forever.

If you want to grow in affiliate marketing, then choose high-quality products. Cherish your reputation because by choosing good advertisers you provide your audience with more than just a product, but a benefit. At the same time, you can earn money yourself.

The takeaway

Social networks have become an integral part of modern life, which is good for companies. After all, now you can declare yourself by providing more personalized treatment. Affiliate marketing is a great way to do this without spending an inordinate amount of time and money.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.

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