Social Media: Four Important Things to RememberOne of the best ways to reach new buyers for your affiliate marketing business is to use social media and networking tools such as Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Digg and others.

While these sites aren’t quite seeing the astronomical growth they did from 2008 to 2010, they continue to have tremendous reach, with billions of people using them on a daily basis. Social media expert Jeff Bullas recently published some telling statistics on the reach of social media.

  • One in every nine people on Earth is on Facebook
  • Each Facebook user spends on average 15 hours and 33 minutes a month on the site
  • Twitter is adding nearly 500,000 users a day
  • Twitter is handling 1.6 billion queries per day

The bottom line is that if you’re not participating in social media, you’re missing an opportunity to reach millions of potential new buyers for the affiliate products you’re selling. And you’re also missing the opportunity to have those buyers share word about your affiliate website.

So when you’re approaching social media, you do need to take it seriously. Here are four tips to help you get the most out of social media.

1. Be where your customers are

One thing that’s true about social media is that there’s no limit to the number of social networking sites you can use for your business. Finding the right channel to reach potential buyers is key to social media success.

You can learn what the best channels are to reach your buyers by asking them by using a poll or survey on your website. Or you can even monitor social networking sites using a tracking tool such as Trackur.

2. Monitor the competition

You can also get more out of social media by keeping an eye on your competition. Whether your affiliate business is new or established, competitive intelligence can be very useful. You’ll want to know what your competitors are doing by understanding:

  • The social sites they actively use
  • What kind of content they publish on the social web
  • How many followers/fans/views they have on each site
  • How they discuss affiliate products on social media

Once you understand how your competitors are using social media successfully, you can use their best ideas as a template for your business.

3. Don’t just push affiliate products

Once you’re set up in social media, it can be tempting to push out pitch after pitch, posting affiliate links to the products and services your merchants are selling. However, it’s best to think twice before embarking on this strategy.

You’ll do better by sharing information about your business, using social media to draw potential buyers toward your website instead of giving people the hard sell right away.

Here are some ideas for creating great content through social media:

  • Share interesting news or messages
  • Feed your blog content into your social accounts
  • Participate in conversations with your buyers
  • Share information first, and sales pitches second

4. Be exclusive with social media

Experienced marketers know that the best way to get people excited about something new is to make it exclusive. You can do that with your social media by using social media to give your buyers access to unique, exclusive information they can’t get anywhere else.

Here are a few ideas for exclusives you can offer your buyers:

  • Announce news about a new product through Twitter
  • Give your Facebook readers access to an exclusive or custom coupon
  • Provide your LinkedIn followers with a quality, informative presentation

These four tips are a great way to get started with social media. What other tips have you found success with when working in social media.