Some people seem to have gotten social media all wrong. The majority of businesses and consumers push all of their content, all of the time and it’s exhausting. You wouldn’t go to a social event and just talk at people; well I hope you wouldn’t. Having a one way conversation in the real world is rude, socially awkward and not going to get you any friends. Social media is no different. Unlike traditional or most forms of online marketing, social media gives the consumer a voice. It’s important you listen and respond to this voice. Your social strategy should be about building strong connections with your followers; the quantity is less important and instead emphasis should be placed on the context you have with each one of them. Social sites are word of mouth on steroids so it’s key that you use the channel to build loyal advocates of your affiliate site.

Be Authentic

Those who win in the social space, are authentic. If you put across a false image, people will pick up on this. Be genuine because it’s powerful and people buy into personality. Everything you do on your site should express a tone of voice. Use this voice in your social channels. People tend to believe in core values, this is why Apple has always been such a great retailer. It gets people to buy into their ‘why’. If you do the same, you’ll have a loyal base of followers who fully support what you do. Adidas UK does a good job of expressing its values through Twitter. The company links current events to its core value of ‘impossible is nothing’ while sounding human not corporate.

Search for Conversations

There were 10 million people on Twitter and 26 million people on Facebook in the UK in 2012. So no matter how niche your affiliate topic is, there will be a lot of conversations/updates/tweets per week on it. If you don’t search for them, you will be missing out on fruitful opportunities to jump in and share your expertise. Practically, how can you do this? If you go to Twitter and type a keyword in the search box you’ll see a feed of tweets and conversations. You can then jump in and @reply to them share insight, mutual agreement or simply say ‘hi’. You will not only gain new followers, but more importantly you’ll be building contextual relationships. Don’t use this search tool to send links to your affiliate site. Focus on building trust and a relationship first, then your social channel will naturally turn itself into a sales funnel.

Use social as a research tool

Social sites give us the most powerful market research tool in real time. It’s important you know what your followers like, do and say. This insight will allow you to tailor communications to their needs, not only through your social channels but on your actual affiliate site. Such feedback can help you improve your conversion, content and brands promoted. To access this abundant wealth of knowledge simply go to some of your followers’ twitter feeds (public content) and look through their tweets, you’ll find some truthful and interesting insights about who they truly are. Use this knowledge well!