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Should affiliates consider social media marketing?

SiGMA15 will feature four distinct seminars, one of which is entitled Affiliates and SEO. One of the lectures at this seminar will focus exclusively on the benefits of social media, the opportunities and pitfalls that affiliates should be aware of.

We asked Lukasz Zelezny a few questions, which he answered in short below. He will be one of the main speakers at the ‘Affiliates and SEO’ conference, due this November.


  1. Can affiliates on Facebook get their accounts blocked when they promote gambling material?

Before any ads show up on Facebook, they have to meet the website’s guidelines.  Among the things that are outlawed by Facebook are adult content, violent content, and anything that could be deemed to be shocking or offensive.  In addition to the topics that are completely outlawed by Facebook, there are some topics that are questionable – gambling being one of them.

According to Facebook: ads that promote or facilitate online real money gambling, real money games of skill or real money lotteries, including online real money casino, sports books, bingo, or poker, are only allowed with prior authorisation from Facebook.  So, unless you have received authorisation from Facebook, it is fair to say that you could find your account blocked.


  1. Relating to point 1, how can you go around getting your main account blocked by using fake profiles / business accounts WITHOUT having those also blocked?

To abide by Facebook’s guidelines, you need to get authorisation in order to promote gambling related material.  And according to some sources, in order to do this you’ll need an account manager, and be willing to spend at least £10,000 per month.  This is true just in order to have a Facebook fan page related to gambling, let alone share advertisements.

Some affiliates have however found ways around this.  One option that seems to have worked is to create a fan page that offers a service – such as helping others to decide which football teams to bet on.  The posts that the fan page publishes can contain affiliate links, and at present they are not being penalised by Facebook.  It’s unsure how long this will last though.

Others have opted to create numerous accounts and place affiliate comments on all manner of Facebook pages.  However, once these messages and comments are flagged (and they likely will be), you could end up losing access to your account.  So, it’s wise not to do this with your main Facebook account.


  1. Is there a way to get free credit on Facebook?

There are a few ways to get ‘free’ credit for advertising on Facebook, but most of these will require some form of effort on your part.  You used to be able to get a free ad coupon just from liking the Facebook business page, but this has since been continued.

There are other options though.  GoDaddy.com, for example, is currently giving away a $50 coupon to anyone who takes out a three month hosting service with them.  There are a few other companies that are giving away coupons in a similar way to GoDaddy.  But they’re not technically free as they require you to sign up for a service, or purchase something else, to receive your reward.


  1. Would you consider other social media? Or is Facebook the better alternative?

It’s never a good idea to place all of your eggs in one basket.  So I always recommend people use a number of social media networks.  The ones that I predominantly use are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, however these may not be the best option for everyone.  If you run a food blog, or an e-commerce store, for example, you may prefer to make use of sites like Instagram and Pinterest.  It’s best to research the different networks and see which will be best for your advertising campaign.

However, even with that said, Facebook is by far the biggest social media website, and I recommend everyone has some sort of presence on there.


  1. How often must an advert be changed to maximise profitability by keeping CPC as low as possible?

When you first deploy an advert, you will be tasked with coming up with a keyword to rank for, as well as a price that you are willing to pay.  It is very rare that you will come up with the perfect match on your first advert.  I recommend letting an advert run for a month and seeing whether it is working for you.  Is it achieving what you set out to achieve?  If it is, and it is within your budget you can keep it as it is.  If not, you may want to utilise the Google Keyword Planner tool to find other keywords in your niche.  You should see what the CPC is for each one.  You can then try altering your advert to see if it makes a difference.  You can do these as often as you need to, but make sure to check your campaigns on a regular basis.


6.What are some of the best performing campaigns for social media? Would you be able to recommend affiliate networks that allow social media advertising?

There have been tons of effective social media campaigns over the last year.  Two that I still remember are the Virgin puppies advert which was launched on Facebook, and General Electric’s #emojiscience ads.  Both of these engaged the audience, and managed to pull in lots of new likes and followers for the companies involved.

Pretty much anyone can share blog posts on social media that contain affiliate links.  Many others such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter also allow affiliate links, though it’s recommended that you at least offer something useful to your readers as opposed to just spamming them with links.


7.Do certain languages or countries perform better than English? Say, Scandinavian markets, or eastern markets?

If your product or service appeals to people in a different country, it’s always worth planning your advertising campaigns to incorporate them.  Whilst English is the most common language for ads, places such as China can offer huge opportunities.  Other markets may also be easier to advertise to, as there is less competition.

If you are going to go down this route, though, you need to ensure that your ads are written correctly.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen ads translated that turn out to be something funny, or downright rude in another country.


8.Broad Market vs Niche Markets for promoting affiliate products on social networks like Facebook. What should you choose? And why?

Although it’s best to focus your website or blog on a niche market, I think where Facebook is concerned it’s better to be broad.  If you are too niche, you won’t gain many followers.  Whereas if you are broad, you have a chance of getting a lot more likes, and of your followers sharing your posts.  Engagement is key on Facebook, so pick a topic that you are interested in, and will have fun finding interesting things to share.  No-one cares about the top blenders, but if you create a page related to smoothies, you’ll find you gain a lot more followers, and have more fun running the page.


  1. From your experience, how does social media marketing compare to email marketing performance?

I think that when done correctly, email marketing can be a lot more effective than social media marketing.  The problem is that most people don’t know how to use email marketing effectively, and so their emails just end up going straight into people’s junk folders.

If you think in numbers as well, you’ll see that email is more beneficial.  Almost everyone with web access has an email account, whereas the percentage of those on social media is a lot smaller – especially when you consider the different sites.

I do however think that a strategy should combine both social media and email marketing to be as successful as possible.

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