Social media changed the way we do business.
It gave the ability to connect with others on an open platform in ways never seen before.
The platforms have evolved and so has its users — social is now a dominant reason why we connect to the Web.
Affiliate marketing has been along for the ride since the beginning.
Social and affiliate marketing go together:
- Establish an audience
- Drive traffic
- Build a brand and authority
- Connect and network
- Generate sales
All desirable outcomes that were difficult before due to stiff competition in advertising and dominate search results by major players. It’s allowed you and I to cut through the noise, identify our key audience, and successfully promote a business venture (for free).
Yet, social gets tricky.
When you’re using it for personal reasons it’s easy to manage your accounts. But when you’re using it for business… well… that’s a different game.
Managing thousands of followers is difficult – especially when paired with customer service efforts – so conversations can quickly get lost in the ether.
What do you do to manage it all? Use social media tools.
There are hundreds to choose from – some specific to a platform while others being full suites – so we’re going to try to reduce the noise and give you what we think is best.
What We look for in Social Media Tools
Our criteria are based on one major factor: is it easy to use?
The platforms are already intuitive and have a great desktop, Web, and phone apps. Often, these are all you need to manage your social media presence. But when you begin to use multiple platforms, you also begin to stretch thin.
A social media tool making it easy to manage (and automate) multiple accounts is what we’re seeking.
Other criteria would be:
It’s hard beating the price tag of free when using social media. Refusing to use tools because you must pay a monthly or one-time fee will only sabotage your potential.
This is a business investment — One of the best, in fact, because it replaces many others like CRMs.
Second, is the documentation.
What good are the services if you’re having trouble learning them?
Some are so massive it takes teams to fully understand and operate.
We don’t want that.
You’re only starting with affiliate marketing so it’s important it’s not overly complicated. And if it is… then we want to make sure it has tutorials to help you get the most from the investment.
Let’s not forget the integration.
APIs let our apps talk with others so it’s a bonus whenever a social media tool can integrate with existing systems. It prevents having to bounce between accounts which becomes troublesome and annoying.
Which social media tools meet these criteria? Glad you ask.
The Best Social Media Tools for Affiliate Marketing
The best tools are ones with proven track records.
Not a day goes by that you’ll see promotions for the next wonder tool or service. Often, these services die out due to lack of support or interest in the community. Now you’ve wasted all that time learning the tool only to have it pulled.
We stick with the “big ones” because they have the features we need in affiliate marketing.
The community has created countless tutorials and strategies for using them in this industry… so why not take advantage of this and start off strong?
Good that we’re on the same page.
Here are the ones worth considering.
Hootsuite is your go-to tool for everything social media.
With Hootsuite, you’ll be able to integrate all your social media platforms into one place.
From the dashboard, you can post (or schedule) updates, track analytics, and collaborate with a team.
There are thousands of articles covering Hootsuite usage; this makes it very easy to maximize your ROI when using the platform.
That’s not to say it’s perfect.
The service uses the Owly shortener which may not be to your liking.
You’ll also find rising expenses when integrating new apps or running detailed analytics reports.
Overall, Hootsuite is the ideal choice if you want something that becomes your “hub” of social activity. It comes with a free plan (3 social profiles, 1 user, 30 schedule messages) and then scales to the ‘professional’ $19/mo tier (10 profiles, 1 user, unlimited scheduling).
IFTTT (IF This, Than That) is a powerful service used to automate practically anything from website and apps to smart devices and communication.
You could use the tool to have your phone called if someone liked a photo on your Facebook. Or automatically log information from your Fitbit to an online Google doc.
Imagine the possibilities with affiliate marketing!
So, what are examples of what it can do?
- Get an email when Buffer publishes a new trigger or action
- Automatically share Instagrams to Facebook
- Share FB updates on Twitter
- Post blogs to Facebook from Blogger
There are hundreds of applets others have already created.
Use the search tool to find one that applies to your affiliate marketing efforts. Else, create ones on your own.
What’s particularly great about this tool is that it’s free – effectively eliminating a lot of paid tools if you understand how to do the configurations.
Buffer is a social media management app in the same vein as Hootsuite.
Within the service you can:
- Schedule posts
- Manage multiple accounts
- Analyze performance
The tool has modern features like an image creator (Pablo) and a social customer service plug (Reply) that adds incredible interactivity to your feeds.
You have three price tiers to choose from:
- Free (1 profile, 10 scheduled posts)
- $10/mo (10 profiles, 100 scheduled posts)
- $99+/mo (25 profiles, 2,000 scheduled posts per profile, 5+ team members)
Buffer is available as a browser extension and iOS and Android apps.
Triberr is an interesting service that you won’t see often on these types of social media tools list.
The basic premise behind Triberr is the ability to connect with groups of people (tribes) to encourage feedback and sharing.
A way to amplify your content.
It’s more of a social networking management tool.
With it you can:
- Find content
- Find influencers
You can join groups or start one.
The built-in communication tools for the tribes and analytical tools will help you connect and visualize the impact you have when using the service.
Triberr has a free plan to test the waters else you can bump up to a lite plan ($20/mo) or prime plan ($50/mo).
The upgraded plans allow you to create more tribes, auto shares, accounts, and queued posts.
The upgrade will also let you import more content.
Overall, Triberr is a great addition to your social media efforts because it helps increase engagement with influencers while reaching a wider spread of people. That means more traffic.
Sprout Social is an all-in-one social media management suite that includes:
- Management tools to build communities
- Social customer service tools to resolve issues
- Social media marketing tools to execute your plans
The service will keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your industry.
This will let you engage at a lighting pace.
It has what you’d expect such as scheduling and analytics.
You’ll have access to all your major social media accounts.
Overall, Sprout Social is an intimidating yet extremely powerful service that gives you control over the entire publishing process. A standard version is available starting at $59/mo and upgrades to $99, $149, and $249 tiers (premium, corporate, enterprise) respectively.
All plans include a 30-day trial so there’s not much to lose.
TalkWalker is a tool to monitor social mentions – it’s indispensable for online reputation management.
Wait… I thought we were talking about social media?
Online reputation management is just as important because you won’t always have a two-way communication with your audience. There will be instances where people leave reviews or mention you/your brand without you knowing.
Tools like TalkWalker will alert you when this happens so you can visit where the comment is hosted and leave a reply. Often, this can put out a smolder negativity before it gets out of control or used to create a lasting impression by being helpful and thankful to the commenter.
TalkWalker is free and easy-to-use: Setup your account, set terms to monitor, and keep track.
Social is always Changing
It’s exciting seeing where social is taking us, wouldn’t you agree?
It’s revolutionized the way we conduct business. The ability to launch and get right into promotions and marketing without a high capital investment is mind-blowing.
It allows the fresh affiliate marketer to focus their efforts (and budget) on building a foundation all-the-while creating hype for the launch.
Social is always changing, though, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in the trends.
Like we said… you’ll see a lot pop up and fade out before you ever wrap your head around it.
It’s best to test the waters with these trending services and platforms but doesn’t get too involved right away unless you’re sure it’ll stick.
This way you can focus efforts on the platforms already housing your audience: Facebook & YouTube.
Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and the others are all great – you should certainly use them – but put your time toward the “big ones”.
Learn the tools and service that let you maximize your efforts with FB and YT, then make your way into the others.
The service providers will update apps if new social platforms and/or features come along.
Social Media Tools: Summing Up
Alright, let’s see here.
- Go with a tool that’s easy-to-use
- Spend some time learning its features
- Join the community to understand it deeper
- Integrate its use with other applicable services
- Stick with it and have fun
- Focus on the big socials (FB & YT) and then do others
You won’t be a “social media guru” – is anyone, really? – because the platforms and community around them change so rapidly that it’s hard to pinpoint what actually works.
Yes, some hit the mark consistently but are we going to spend all day, every day on social? Probably not.
Learn to use the tools in the best way possible to benefit your affiliate marketing efforts.
It’s going to be different from others but with some overlaps.
The most important thing is to have fun and be active.
Before long you’ll have a great comment over the platforms.
Questions? Comments? Have your say down below.