Whether you’re looking to improve your health, wealth, happiness, or some combination of all three – learning to leverage the power of the internet and social media can help you immensely in all areas of your life.
Through the process of doing what you love, documenting that process, and creating helpful social media content with it, not only can you drastically improve your overall wellbeing and mental health (since you’re doing something you’re passionate about) – but you can also turn it into a decent side hustle or possibly even replace your full-time income.
According to comparably.com, the average salaries of content creators in the US range from $45,320 to $140,000 with a median salary of $85,240. The middle 57% of Content Creators make between $85,240 and $100,000, with the top 86% making $140,000 or more.
There are many ways you can go about generating income through the internet and social media, but one of the easiest and most popular methods is a process called “Affiliate Marketing.”
In this first post (and associated YouTube video) of my 4-part Affiliate Marketing series, I’m going to cover what I consider to be the three most basic and common questions asked by those new to affiliate marketing and online entrepreneurship:
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Imagine you’re walking down the street and some random stranger walks up to you and asks you to buy a bracelet. More likely than not, your response is going to be some form of “no.”
Why is that?
Well, whether it’s because they’re a random stranger, or they seemed too pushy, or they made you uncomfortable, or you didn’t think what they’re selling is worth the cost, it all comes down to one thing: you don’t trust them.
Now imagine instead of a random stranger on the street, you’re at a festival and your best friend comes up to you instead! You guys talk for a few minutes, catch up, have a laugh – and then they ask you to buy one of their bracelets because they know you’re into energy and spirituality, and the bracelet is meant to help with anxiety. What are the chances you’re going to say yes?
You are far more likely to say yes to your friend, because not only do you want to support your friend, but you know them and trust them. Because you trust them, you believe that they’re more likely than not selling you a good quality product and that because they are your best friend, they know you well enough to know that you will be able to benefit from this product.
So how does this scenario relate to affiliate marketing?
Because of the way the internet and social media have evolved, there are now people we “follow” or subscribe to from all over the world, who despite the fact we’ve never met, we somehow feel connected to because of their content, their personality, the way they explain things, or yes, even their looks.
We begin to develop these unseen, but quite real relationships with strangers and over time, as they create more content and help us more, we begin to trust them more. Eventually, through enough time and the mutual relationship of content creator vs. content consumer, these online creators become “the best friend” in the festival bracelet scenario.
If a content creator has helped us improve our skills in some hobby or niche, has showed us new tips or tricks, or how to use certain tools or equipment related to our hobbies, then when they eventually suggest a new product or tool because it helped them, chances are you’re going to believe what they say, and the chance of you also buying it are far greater.
This is why the “micro influencer” economy and marketing strategy has also become so popular for large companies. Large companies and corporations know that we as a society hate ads, and we hate being sold to. But when we have friends or people we trust suggest something to us, it’s no longer a sale but rather a helpful suggestion, and therefore we’re far more likely to buy.
Does it cost anything to get started?
For all intents and purposes, the cost to get started with affiliate marketing is essentially zero. It costs no money to start an Instagram, or a YouTube, or a TikTok, or any of the other popular social media platforms; and it costs no money to create content for those platforms.
Regardless of what type of content you want to create (images, video, audio, written word, or a combination of the above), chances are you already have the means to create it. If you have at least a smartphone, you can begin creating all of the above and uploading it to several platforms.
Is it easier or faster to have a laptop, or fancy camera gear, or better apps and services? Absolutely.
But does not having those things stop you from being able to create content to build up an income-generating online brand? Absolutely not.
This is why affiliate marketing has become so popular in the last decade. It costs almost nothing, and the profits are as close to 100% as it gets. The barrier to entry is essentially non-existent, and the potential reach is, for all intents and purposes, limitless.
So how does it work?
1 - Pick your niche (hobby, interest, passion).
The first thing you need to do is come up with a niche or decide which products and services to promote.
This can be done in a number of ways. You can either choose something that you enjoy and know a lot about, or if you can’t think of something that you’re into already, then select something that interests you but that you are not yet familiar with.
Once you have decided on a niche, it’s time to start researching the products available in this niche. The goal here is to find products that will sell well and give you good commission rates. You can do this by using Google Adwords Keyword Planner or other keyword research tools like Long Tail Pro. Once you have chosen some keywords, then it’s time to get out there and start promoting!
2 - Sign up for affiliate programs
Once you’ve figured out which niche to create content for, the next step is finding affiliate programs that match your interests. There are thousands of affiliate programs out there, so it’s important that you find something that matches your interests and expertise.
If you’re into fashion, look for clothing retailers with good customer service and solid returns policies. If you’re into fitness, look for workout equipment companies with good warranties and customer service policies (if they have them). The more specific your niche is, the easier it will be for people visiting your site, reading your blog, or following your social media accounts to find what they need — which means more sales for you!
To become an affiliate, you can start by searching Google for “best affiliate programs” or “best affiliate networks,” which will give you a list of companies that have large affiliate networks (and therefore more products to promote). You can also go directly to the companies you already shop at and scroll to the bottom of their website to see if they have a link that says “Affiliates” or “Partners.”
Once you’ve found some companies that are accepting new affiliates, it’s time to sign up! Some companies will require you to submit an application before they approve your request, while others will allow you to simply fill out some information and then automatically approve you (like Amazon Affiliates and ClickBank).
3 - Create helpful content related to your niche
The ultimate goal of affiliate marketing through social media is to help people. The best way to do that is by creating helpful content that answers questions and solves problems.
Use a question or problem as the basis for your posts. This will make it easy for people to see how your post helps them, which will in turn increase engagement with your content.
Include an image with text overlay. Adding an image with text overlay is a great way to add visual interest and make your posts more shareable.
Answer a question or solve a problem in multiple ways throughout your feeds and social media accounts. For example, if you’re a personal finance blogger, one post could be about picking the right credit card, while another could be about saving money on groceries.
You can create multiple pieces of content answering the same question (a YouTube video, followed by a blog post, followed by an Instagram carousel post, etc.) as many people have one or two preferred methods of ingesting content. The people who will be looking at your YouTube videos or Instagram posts aren’t necessarily the same people who will be reading your blog articles or emails.
If you struggle with coming up with post or topic ideas, I personally use this incredible AI (artificial intelligence) copywriter generator called CopyAI. It has literally been a gamechanger for my own businesses from a content creation perspective, and it’s probably one of the best tools I’ve ever used to date. I use it for everything from YouTube and Reels topic ideas to blog posts, emails, and more. (you can try it for free for 7 days by using my link, but if you purchase a subscription within the first 4 days, you’ll get a one-time offer of 40% off the annual subscription – totally worth it in my opinion! – and yes, this is an affiliate link)
4 - Add your unique affiliate links to your content
Last, but certainly not least, once you’ve established a good baseline of content, whether that’s on a website/blog like this, or on YouTube, Instagram, or other social media platform, it’s time to start actively monetizing your content by including your affiliate links.
You get your unique affiliate links from the affiliate programs you sign up for, such as Amazon Affiliates, ClickBank, Target, etc.
As for where you put them, you can put them anywhere that allows for clickable links. For example, in this post you’re reading, above under step 3, you see my affiliate link for CopyAI. This is one place where you can put them. Other places include YouTube video descriptions, Instagram or TikTok profile URLs, website menus, Facebook posts, or even link trees.
Now all that’s left to do is rinse and repeat steps 3 and 4.
As you continue to create content around your niche while promoting different products and services along the way, you will have the potential to begin earning commissions from the various affiliate programs you’ve signed up for.
How much you can earn depends on several factors such as the products, individual affiliate programs, how broad or narrow the potential niche audience is, or sometimes even how helpful (or unhelpful) the content you’re producing is.
While physical products can give commissions as low as 2% per sale, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of digital products that offer commissions as high as 70%, and even upwards of 90% if you meet their minimum sales threshold!
So if you’re ready to continue on to the next step (and haven’t already) make sure you download my free passive income eBook – and then follow me over to the next post in this series: how to find your affiliate marketing niche.
If you found this helpful, please consider sharing it across your own social media platforms to help others as well! Spread the good vibes!