An Idiot’s Guide to Affiliate Social Mentions – Mike Litson in Print

I’ve been in print in this issue IGB Affiliate Magazine. You can read this article and many more over at their website as well as below.

After saying over and over again that affiliates NEED to move into the social sphere and time and time again hearing stories of failures or lack of ideas I thought I’d run through some basic strategies that should be within the budgets of most serious affiliates. The idea of this post is about being cost effective as much as being big, we don’t need to generate millions of shares, but we should generate enough to justify link profiles.

Competitions

This is the bread and butter of generating social metrics. It is the easiest way to get lots of +1’s, Shares and Tweets. Essentially you offer a chance at winning a prize for people sharing a certain post. Try and work a keyword into the stipulated tweet.
It is probably a good idea to start being smarter with these if you’re already running them as it seems very likely that going forward Google will either start discounting or potentially penalising people who have been overly gaming this system. Try and stay away from retweet to enter type competitions make users give you a reason as to why they should win and that will give you some diversity in the posts.

With Twitter you should also include the via option when you generate the button as this will add to the likelihood of new users following you. A well-crafted comp tweet may look like “I should win the generic BINGO comp because (insert reason) (insert URL) via @genericbingo”.
Remember competitions don’t seed themselves, people aren’t going to find them if you don’t help them. Fortunately there are a lot of communities which will help you with this. In the UK you can submit to the following for free:

• Moneysavingexpert – forum
• Loquax – forum + site (excludes bingo affiliates)
• Hotukdeals
• Ukcompetitions.com
• twitter.com/competitionclub/ (tweet the comp at them and there is a good chance of a RT)
• There are many more this should be enough to get you started though

You also have the option to capture emails here which you can use for future competitions. Don’t forget that. You should know that the prizes don’t have to be massive. I’ve seen competitions for products which cost less than £50 generate 1000’s of shares if seeded correctly.

Authority Account Outreach

We all know it is unlikely that you’ll get a backlink from your direct competitors all too easily, but what about those people in your niche who you aren’t directly up against. Well again backlinks aren’t too likely, social mentions however are possible. You just have to track down authority accounts and ask their opinion to contribute to an article. Most people will quite happily share when they’ve been quoted. This is really easy to do contact people through social media, meet them at the conferences and so on.
True this is easier in other niches, but not impossible in gambling. If you’re lucky you may even get some natural interlinking cropping up with people linking to pages where they have been cited. Not too likely in our sector though.

Visually Representing Data

Yes I mean infographics. Not the ones that certain agencies will rob you blind for, but the ones you can make yourself with infographic builders like Piktochart.com do allow you to create professional looking infographics in minutes not hours and if seeded correctly these can generate some nice social links and you can always submit them to the infographic directories to get this process started. You can get lots of data free from public records, or you can always repurpose someone else’s research, you should probably ask before doing this and really link to the source, but if you do that there is every chance that they will in turn share your content.

Share Other People’s Content

People will be more likely to share your content if you share theirs; those who stick too rigidly to never wanting to boost a competitor without something in return may get left behind in the world of social SEO. It is going to be essential to create lasting relationships many of you who regularly attend the conferences will already have cliques which may be willing to do that for one another.

Quick Wins

1. Pictures! Pictures get shared very quickly, I recently saw a picture of a palm tree with the tag line wish you were here under it generate 100s of likes on Facebook in a few hours. That can be replicated by anyone; ok it does help if you have a decent account to share it through, but if your websites account is rubbish then share using your personal account, or make your account better.

2. Be controversial, not everyone wants to go down this route, but if you write something horribly controversial and it’s current, seed it well and people will share it to denounce it. Not ideal, but still gets shares.

Promoting the Content

The real battle with socially provocative content is not creating something people will want to share; it’s getting it to those people. The best thing you can do is identifying the people you want
to share the content before you write anything. Think about who will share it then write it for them, then it’s simply a matter of putting it in front of them. There are of course numerous direct ways to do this. An easy example of this would be doing a top 10 list, maybe your top 10 casinos in the UK, you can call them up and speak to the manager asking for what makes them special? You could justify this based on you putting them in the list on a recommendation. When you post this piece of content contact them all a lot of smaller brands will willingly mention this content socially.

SEO and SMO: One in the same?

As the two disciplines merge more and more it is becoming essentially that anyone practicing SEO is aware of what works and what doesn’t socially. Those who fall behind in the social sphere will be those who are doomed to fail in the next few years as it becomes more and more important. It could even be said that SEO is moving more towards the PR discipline in that outreach and branding are essential. As the algorithm changes so must the skill sets which we need to get the best results. If you don’t get social then hire someone who does or work at it too many affiliates are still burying their heads in the sand or doing the bare minimum when at the moment the social sphere is still open to be capitalised on. And whilst it may not directly drive the conversions we want the integration with SEO is very clear and it is only going to become more apparent in the coming years. Remember even if you have one of the more dry and dull niches then there is still a lot that you can do, you just have to be creative with your tie ins. Gambling is an exciting world (or at least it should be), people gamble because of that. This makes the iGaming niche perfect to take advantage of the growth in social.

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