Is influencer marketing a good investment for affiliates?
Any affiliate who can catch the public’s attention, reach their target demographics in a new way, or get their offers seen in front of an audience that their competitors can’t reach stands a good chance of cashing in. One of the most successful and yet still most underutilized marketing approaches for affiliates is influencer marketing – and we’ll tell you all about online influencer marketing and how to make it work for you right here.
Affiliate marketing is a very lucrative industry if you target the right niche with the right offers, but it is also a very competitive field with new affiliates entering the arena all the time and trying to take some of your market share. This means that affiliates that are in it for the long haul and who want to make serious money have to continually adapt to stay ahead of the game and protect their profits.
In this article, we’ll explain what constitutes an online influencer, compare affiliate vs influencer marketing side by side, and share some insider tips on how to use influencer marketing for affiliates to increase your commissions.
What is an online influencer?
So, what exactly is an online influencer? An influencer is a person – any person – who can do two things: get the attention of a large audience of people, and convince them that something they say, do, or buy, is worth their time.
Some influencers are celebrities – like Kim Kardashian-West, perhaps the best-known influencer of them all. But influencers can also be regular, everyday folk who have built up a strong following of fans and that hold authority in their field.
This means people with lots of social media followers like popular bloggers, YouTubers and social media posters who are viewed as someone whose advice is sound or whose lifestyle is aspirational are also influencers, even though they’re not famous in the traditional sense.
Influencers can be found in virtually every niche and industry you can think of, too – from sportspersons to beauty gurus to gamers to pick up artists.
Affiliate vs influencer marketing
Next, let’s look at affiliate vs influencer marketing; their similarities and differences, and how they can be made to work together successfully.
Affiliate marketing works on the principle of the affiliate program finding and working with third-party partners who do all of the work of showcasing, promoting and potentially selling products in order to earn commissions, which are tied to the value of the action or sale that they achieve.
Influencer marketing, on the other hand, has a number of parallels – the influencer in question promotes or even sells a product or service in return for financial remuneration. This might be tied to the value of the sales or links that their efforts generate, or may be a flat or one-off fee that is agreed in advance for a certain action or set of actions.
Viewed in this way, you can see that an affiliate marketer might even be in competition with an influencer or at least two sides of the same marketing coin – but third-party affiliates and influencers can also work together quite successfully to put money in the bank for both parties involved.
An affiliate can reach out to and work with an influencer by offering them something of value – such as a fee, or a percentage of the commissions that are earned by the affiliate sale – and if you can get the right influencer for your audience and niche on side, it could be very profitable for both of you.
Finding the right influencer for an affiliate program
The value of working with an influencer comes from a combination of their audience and their authority – and getting the balance right is really important. Just because an influencer has a follower count in the millions doesn’t necessarily mean that those followers will be interested in what you offer, even if the influencer promotes it to them.
For instance, if you’re selling dating and hook-up affiliate services, you will need to find an influencer with the type of following who might be interested in it – which means largely male, generally aged between 18-50, and with enough disposable income to be able to make a purchase. Targeting an influencer who mainly appeals to teenage girls is unlikely to get you anywhere!
Additionally, the influencer has to hold authority, and be viewed as someone worth listening to by their followers too – those followers have to believe that their influencer is steering them in the right direction, and that the influencer’s views are worth listening to.
The best social media affiliate programs
Affiliate programs work really well with social media, because that’s where you find audiences that are looking to socialize and entertain themselves and so, that might be receptive to an offer that helps them to do just that. Paid and promoted ads on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook can give you a real edge over the competition – and if you work with an influencer who uses portals like these to engage with their own fans, you will find the perfect match.
The best social media affiliate programs are finely targeted and bespoke-designed to reach out to their demographics using the right tone, style and voice for their audience – which is something that an influencer can really help with.
The best affiliate programs for Instagram
The best affiliate programs for Instagram and other sites that are highly visual are those that have strong visuals themselves – and that are impactful enough to catch the eye and generate engagement when placed side by side with a lot of other image-rich content.
Again, dating and hook-up affiliate content works really well on sites like Instagram, when it is that first visual impression of what is on offer that catches the viewer’s attention and shows the promise of what is to come.
Influencer marketing software
If you’re prepared to invest in influencer marketing as part of your wider affiliate promotion and advertisement collateral, you need to make sure that your analytics are on point and designed to measure engagement and improvement as it relates directly to your influencer’s content.
This will help you to track the success of your affiliate-influencer partnerships and work out what campaign is giving you the most bang for your buck – and which aren’t holding their own.
There is quite a selection of influencer marketing software packages and analytic tools that are designed to help you to do just this, and that will provide you with responsive, real-time data sets that can help you to chart how things are going and where you might need to improve.
Should you be working with an influencer to boost your affiliate program?
If you can find and make a deal with a high-level influencer for your niche and get them to share your content with their followers, you should definitely think about doing so. However, the cost of getting an influencer on the side can be high – and will, of course, eat into your own profits.
The best way to ensure that an affiliate-influencer relationship is profitable for you is to offer them a percentage of the sales that their reach generates. This will ensure that you’re not left with a big bill that hasn’t provided you with value, as well as incentivizing the influencer to use the full extent of their reach to help you.
However, if you’re reaching out to low-level influencers – those with a follower count between 10-100k – then a small one-off fee might be more economical, and leave you holding the larger share of the profits.