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Why Affiliates Can’t Handle Social Media

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Why Affiliates Can’t Handle Social Media by David Merry

Imagine this: You’re walking down the high street with your friends, and someone from a well-known company keeps handing you leaflets every 10 seconds. This is the real life equivalent of what some companies will attempt to do on social media networks, and you and I both know just how annoying this can be.

You’re bound to have a personal Facebook account, as well as one that represents your company too. Chances are you also have a Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, maybe a personal blog or a Myspace account. On each of these social networks, you’ve probably encountered spam of some variety, regardless of whether the account is personal or private.

Ensuring that your brand is memorable, no matter how annoying, is something many companies still do. Take this prominent UK public figure for example, who graces my TV screen on nearly every ad break.

Go Compare milked the opera singer cash cow until it was bone dry, and for television adverts that’s fine, but spamming the same content online wouldn’t have worked.

The beauty of social media is choice, and this means users fully understand that they have the power to dislike or unfollow a page in a few seconds with little impact on their day-to-day life. Whereas in order to get the Go Compare advert off your screen you’ll have to either mute the TV for every ad break or miss your programme altogether.

Throw in the reality that most of the people you’re trying to interact with through social networks have probably lost money to the brands you’re promoting, as well as the high chance that they don’t want their relatives knowing that they enjoy a flutter, and the odds are stacked massively against gambling affiliates. So what can you do?

What To Do And What To Avoid

You want to know how to make your social media profile more active, but you may not know where to start, or where you’re going wrong. Here’s a brief list of things that’ll get your readers “liking” every status you post, instead of hiding your updates in their news feed.

Good features for your social media website:

  • Try to keep everything relevant, it doesn’t matter how.
  • Stay in touch with your audience. By interacting with your readers you can assure everyone that you’re an active site and also help answer any questions thrown your way. This makes you look far more reliable, and proves that you’re not another dead or automated Facebook page.
  • Humour is always welcome.
  • Make sure you provide a link to more information. This makes it easier for the reader to stay interested with minimal effort.
  • Offer your audience incentives. It doesn’t have to be a promotion each time you post, but explain why they should follow through on a link.

Bad features for your social media website:

  • Don’t spam or automate, ever.
  • If you’re going to repeat the same link, make sure it’s posted for separate reasons each time. The first time is to notify your audience, and only repeat the post for updates; otherwise you’re spamming irrelevant information.
  • Keep your reach wide; don’t narrow your audience by using certain language techniques such as slang or specialised jargon.
  • Don’t fill your profile with clutter. Pictures, links and videos are welcome, but make sure you balance them out. There’s no set way of doing this, so just use your own initiative and decide for yourself whether your social media page could look tidier and easier to navigate.

What Counts As Spam?

You might be a guilty spammer and not even notice it, and it’s an important factor which could make or break your social media presence.

Spamming is when you’re repeatedly posting content that has very little value to the reader. The people with the best opinion on whether you’re spamming or not are your readers, as they’ll be the ones who get annoyed by it. It’s fine if you want to post something twice to the same social media profile, but there has to be a new reason for you to post the same link again. So for instance:

Spam:

Posting the same link every hour without adding any additional information that will interest the reader.

Not Spam:

Posting a link to inform your readers of a competition that has just opened, and then posting it again later informing them that the competition is closing soon.

You can see the difference between these two examples. If you’re posting too much of the same content, then you’re spamming, and your readers won’t appreciate it. Don’t try getting around it by making up new reasons to post a link, if there’s a reason to re-post it, it’ll be obvious.

Remember these aren’t strict rules, but merely guidelines. You can bend some of the rules and break others completely, with the exception of one; don’t spam. Here are some examples of how affiliate companies have set out their affiliate profiles, and what they’re doing right/wrong.

Example 1:

Why Affiliates Can’t Handle Social Media

Now, I know I said you shouldn’t spam (and you really shouldn’t), but you don’t want to go too far in the opposite direction either. Casinos Online has only 10 Facebook likes, and it’s not hard to see why. They’re doing absolutely everything wrong, and it’s cost them their audience. As you can see, they’ve done nothing but post their latest content and left it at that.

There’s no incentive for the reader to carry on, no creative input, no stopping power. It’s as though they made a Facebook page simply to catalogue their articles, and the images don’t even match the content! This is a perfect example of a Facebook page that hasn’t had any effort put into it, and it’s causing them to suffer.

These types of posts are the easiest to make and even easier to ignore, you never want to simply provide a link, but instead give the link some creative content with it. This could be an eye-catching image, or a joke about what’s in the link, anything to force the reader to stop, think and become engaged with your content.

Example 2:

Why Affiliates Can’t Handle Social Media

Here’s an affiliate account that is halfway between good and bad. Their posts have calls-to-action, and therefore have an incentive for the reader to use the link provided. These posts don’t have as much stopping power as they could have; however they do their job for anyone who will be scanning their news feed for content like this. New Casino Bonuses still have their fair share of problems though.

The post in the top right corner acknowledges they’ve posted a lot that day, and whilst it seems that the content was different each time, posting too many times a day can push readers away from you.

Secondly, there are quite a few spelling and grammatical errors on some of their posts. The occasional typo will usually go amiss, but readers are bound to get annoyed when they’re bombarded with incorrect uses of ‘your/you’re’.

Finally, they haven’t looked after their comments section, as spam has managed to make its way in. This isn’t the fault of the company, but it is still their problem and people will want to interact with them less if their comments section has spam in it. People will also start to associate the spam comments with you, and might assume you’re a dead page if you haven’t deleted them.

Example 3:

Why Affiliates Can’t Handle Social Media

Here’s an affiliate company that’s doing much better, it isn’t perfect just yet, but it’s not too far off it. With over 10,000 Facebook likes, it’s obvious that Latest Casino Bonuses has a long reach on social networks; however this audience can only expand within itself. All the information they provide is clearly designed for online casino players, but by using selective jargon in their posts they are alienating any possible interest from outsiders.

There’s plenty you can learn from Latest Casino Bonuses, so get your pen out and start making notes. They post to outside sources, inciting trust amongst their readers; they provide the necessary details of a post and a follow-up link for more information. Their posts have reasonable stopping power, but like I said earlier, they will only interest those who are searching for them rather than invoking the curiosity of reader’s scrolling-by.

Why Are These Mistakes Made?

I’m currently in charge of the social media profiles for Right Casino Media, and the biggest problem I have with making the perfect post is quite simple: I don’t have enough time to put much effort into them. Along with my other duties at work, social media always takes the back bench, and whilst we’re starting to improve now, I still can’t say I have enough time to do every post perfectly.

So what’s the solution then? Most affiliates don’t have big teams, and will definitely not have a dedicated social media expert. The answer is quite simple, you just need to take some time out of the day to look after your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts.

Give yourself, and everyone else you work with, an hour each day to tend to just one of your social media accounts, and spend those 60 minutes figuring out what you will post for that day. This isn’t ideal, but it will allow you to learn, and soon enough you’ll see what your audience likes and what they hate. The key is to focus. Focus on your social profiles, and also on their associated websites and blogs; give them the attention they deserve and they will grow.

Most importantly, you need to focus on your audience. They’re the ones who will decide whether your social profile is worth a ‘like’ or not, and without them you can’t expand.

So, To Summarise…

The one thing you can’t do is spam; don’t even try it because it drives people away from your websites like its infected. Most other rules can be bent creatively, but be careful when you’re trying something out of the box because if you don’t do it right you’ll lose traffic. If you’re ever having trouble with a post, look at social media profiles which have a large audience and see whether it’s worked for them or not.

The bottom line is to have an account that is both interesting and trustworthy. There’s no point in making hilarious posts if your audience doesn’t trust you, and you won’t generate traffic if you’re trusted but ignored. If Facebook and Twitter play a large part in your company then you’ll want to give them the attention they deserve. If your social profiles look like a mess, then they’ll be doing more damage than they are helping.

Things To Do:

Humour. Be creative with it, you can relate any image back to your companies focus if you just spend some time thinking about it.

Be relevant. Keep your posts as relevant as possible; people will be using your social media accounts for a certain subject, so stick to it.

Link to outside sources. When you find an interesting and relevant article written by someone else, link to it. It won’t directly get you any traffic, but your readers will be more willing to trust you.

Engage with your audience. If someone asks a question, answer it; if someone makes a funny remark, like their comment.

Make life easy. Always provide links, your readers will appreciate it and it generates more traffic to your site.

Things To Avoid:

Never spam. Unnecessary updates will make your profile look untidy and have no creative input.

Tidy up. Make your social media account look clean. Don’t clutter it up with unexplained videos and pictures that don’t make sense. Remember to make everything relevant to your site.

Widen your grip. Avoid jargon and slang as much as possible, it is fine to use common colloquialisms but the more niche your language, the narrower your audience and reach.

Why Affiliates Can’t Handle Social Media

David Merry

David started his gaming career with one affiliate site and now co-owns Right Casino Media, who operate 15 large portals. As well as this David founded and manages UK based live dealer casino CastleCasino.com. If you wish to submit your own editorial please contact Bill Beatty.

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