Wouldn’t it be nice to actually make some money when you use Facebook?
At least that way you’d be getting something back for all the free content you’ve created for Mark Zuckerberg.
Not a criticism – just a fact.
And Facebook affiliate marketing might be one way for you to earn a few bucks from the world’s largest social media platform.
Let’s take a look at how you’d go about doing that.
What is Facebook affiliate marketing?
Facebook affiliate marketing allows affiliate marketers to leverage the power of Facebook to drive more traffic to a Facebook page or group but also to an external website.
Affiliate marketing typically relies on getting organic traffic from search engines.
But scaling affiliate marketing up to the point of a full-time income can take several years.
Facebook, on the other hand, comes with a built-in audience of 2.7 billion people.
It’s by far the biggest of the social media platforms.
And contains tens of thousands of groups and pages based on pretty much any niche you can think of.
The trick is carving out your own subset of the billions of people using Facebook.
And you do that by gathering together a group of people around whatever niche you’ll focus your marketing skills on.
How to create your Facebook audience
Let’s look at the options available to an affiliate marketer who wants to monetize this particular social media platform.
Don’t skip this part.
Don’t use your personal presence
You already have a Facebook profile, probably populated with hundreds or thousands of friends.
So wouldn’t it make sense to start publishing content there, adding affiliate links as and when it makes sense?
Wouldn’t that be the easiest way to do Facebook affiliate marketing?
You do not want to become that Facebook friend.
The one that uses Facebook to push products and services on their friends.
In every single one of their posts.
People will just snooze and eventually ‘Unfriend’ you for doing that.
Your friends and family use Facebook to look at cat pictures and argue about politics.
Not to listen to your cloaked affiliate sales pitches.
Facebook Groups vs. Facebook Pages
So it makes far more sense to set up a separate presence for your affiliate marketing efforts.
And you can do that using either a Facebook ‘Page’ or ‘Group’.
Does it matter which of these you use?
Pages – these are usually for somebody looking to become their own brand. The interaction will come down to you posting stuff and your audience replying to it. But you have centralized control of all posts.
Groups – members can create their own posts, so there’s a lot more interaction. The downside is that all of this interaction requires moderation, and a large Facebook group means hiring moderators.
Reach is also something you need to consider.
Basically, how much traffic each “entity” can acquire.
For example, Facebook Pages get very little organic reach because…well…Facebook throttled organic reach back in 2016.
So building a following for a Facebook Page means using paid ads to get people to it.
That means having an advertising budget.
Groups, on the other hand, don’t really suffer from the same problems of limited organic reach.
But you will need to moderate the user-generated content in your Group.
Which means either finding the time to do it yourself, finding an unpaid volunteer(s), or paying somebody to moderate it.
A popular Group can achieve exponential growth, but that brings its own set of issues and challenges.
Setting up a page
Step 1 is to look at how to create a page.
You can get started by clicking on ‘Pages’ from your Facebook homepage.
Then click on ‘Create New Page’
And then check off these tasks:
- Give it a name
- Choose a category for it (this part autocompletes)
- Enter a description
- Click on ‘Create page’
You’ll then be prompted to add a ‘Profile picture’ and ‘Cover photo’ to customize it for your audience.
And finally, just click on ‘Save’ to complete your “business” page.
Setting up a group
The steps to create a Facebook group are basically the same.
Click on ‘Groups’
Then click on ‘Create New Group’:
- Give your group a name
- Set its privacy level (Private or Public and Visible or Hidden)
- Invite friends
Then customize the group with a cover photo, your first post, etc.
One last thing– make sure you set up your vanity URL.
Otherwise, your URL is going to look like this:
This simple oversight can have a big impact on how well your marketing goes.
Building your audience
It’s going to be very difficult to engage with your audience if you don’t have one.
No audience = no way to make money from your content.
So let’s look at how you can actually get eyeballs on your content.
The usual “marketing” advice you’ll get on getting lots of free traffic is, “Ask your friends to like and share your stuff….”
No, no, no.
That’s a waste of your time.
Your friends get dozens of requests like that each week…most of which get deleted.
There’s a slim chance you’ll get some incidental traffic using this approach.
But you’re not triggering Facebook’s algorithm.
It is specifically designed to limit the amount of organic traffic you get i.e. none.
That’s why shilling for page likes and shares is a waste of your time.
“Free traffic” was never part of Facebook’s long-term marketing plan.
BUT if you create genuinely engaging content your visitors might just share it without being asked.
One tip here is that Facebook posts featuring photos get 53% more likes and 104% more comments.
Social media is a visual tool appealing to humans who are hardwired to react to imagery.
Use that to your advantage.
We touched on this a little while back, but let’s expand on the idea here.
Facebook is filled with groups and pages covering every kind of legal interest or hobby you can think of.
Some of these groups have millions of members.
That presents you with the opportunity to leverage an existing audience to benefit your affiliate marketing business.
The smart way to do this is to look for tangents.
For example, if you’re in the Star Wars collectibles niche then look for sci-fi groups or pages.
Here’s one example of a Group you might be able to tap into:
Or a sub-niche of Star Wars such as gaming.
Like this Group:
Or even groups that are dedicated a specific, yet relevant, show:
Because nobody wants to help a competitor build their own audience.
Contribute without asking for anything in return.
Do what it takes to stand out from the crowd…but without sounding like you’re ready to stage a coup.
The page owner will eventually view you as a useful contributor or potential content collaborator.
So when you do eventually drop a link to your own Facebook or blog posts it’s far more likely to get approved.
Organic traffic can only take you so far though.
In the same way that relying on “word of mouth” referrals isn’t a business plan.
It’s a “hope”.
That’s why your long-term affiliate marketing plan has to include paid Facebook ads.
This can take the form of “Boosted” Facebook posts or going all the way into the ‘Ad Manager’:
The beauty of Facebook ads is that they can be as precise as you need them to be.
Want to create an ad that specifically targets people living in the UK, between the ages of 21 and 55, who also like Star Wars?
It takes minutes to create an ad campaign targeting that demographic.
There’s three key ways you can use paid ads in your Facebook affiliate campaigns:
- Direct link from your Facebook posts to affiliate offers
- Drive traffic to products and services for a given affiliate program on your website
- Boost the engagement of your new or existing Facebook posts.
For example, you could write an engaging post that contains a link to your blog.
And then boost that post to put it in front of tens of millions of potential customers.
But it can be just as effective to direct link to affiliate products from within your posts.
There’s a proviso though – you need to target a high-paying affiliate offer.
Basically, it needs to pay a high commission rate to counteract the amount of money spent on Facebook ads.
Otherwise you’re going to end up running a loss-leader.
Obviously, discussing Facebook advertising in any serious detail goes way beyond the scope of this article.
So check out Jon Loomer’s YouTube channel if you want to learn how to create Facebook ads that work.
There’s more than enough information there for you to get started with.
Following the Rules
So it’s as simple as setting up a group or page, buying some ads for your target audience, and waiting for the cash to roll in?
If only making money online was so easy, friends!
There’s still plenty of red tape for an affiliate marketer to deal with when “advertising” on Facebook.
Like potentially having to add an affiliate income disclosure to every post you create.
Yes, technically that’s within the body of the post itself.
But then there are also peculiarities with how affiliate marketing networks treat Facebook promotions.
So let’s take a look at what you need to know about two of the bigger affiliate networks – Amazon and ClickBank.
The Amazon Associates program ‘Terms of Service’ doesn’t allow its affiliate partners to use their affiliate links in boosted posts or Facebook ads.
Getting caught doing the above is one of the best ways to catch a serious dose of banned.
But you can use those same Amazon affiliate links in a regular post or landing page.
So they don’t mind if you drive organic traffic to their offers – it’s the paid stuff is the problem.
The flipside of the above is that it’s pretty much impossible to generate a profit from a Facebook/Amazon campaign.
Amazon’s commission rates on typical consumer products simply aren’t high enough.
Also, bear in mind that Facebook can be really twitchy around affiliate programs.
I recently had my ‘Ad Manager’ account terminated for trying to promote the Audible free trial.
My ad didn’t contain an affiliate link – it just directed traffic to my 100% kosher website.
My account was reinstated 24 hours later…but only after I fought my corner.
And they still haven’t explained what rule I broke.
Now we have some affiliate network role reversal going on.
Facebook doesn’t allow ClickBank products to be promoted via their ad platform.
But ClickBank doesn’t care if you post their affiliate links on Facebook.
Which is a real shame considering that these offers typically pay 75% in commission.
So you can make $35+ per sale instead of the $3 you might earn with Amazon.
But there are ways around this.
The first is that the Facebook Branded Content Policy specifies what you can and can’t promote in contextually relevant posts.
So you technically can include a direct link to a ClickBank product in your post, as long as it’s relevant.
But a much easier approach would be to write a pre-sales blog post (sell the benefits) about the product.
And then use a boosted post or paid ad to direct traffic to that blog post on your website.
That way you’re not left dealing with any messy Facebook shenanigans on affiliate link posts.
There are certain ClickBank products that can’t be promoted through Facebook ads though e.g. Forex, supplements, etc.
Can you only promote Amazon or ClickBank products on Facebook?
Nope – the world is your oyster there.
You could just as easily promote programs you found on ShareASale, Rakuten Advertising, or Awin, for example.
If you’re not sure where to find worthwhile affiliate offers, you should check out our comprehensive post on the best affiliate networks out there.
There’s a network to suit pretty much any niche you can think of.
Examples of Facebook affiliate marketing
So what does this type of affiliate marketing look like in real life?
If you take “The Points Guy” as an example, he has 1.9 million Facebook followers.
Which he funnels out to his external blog via engaging blog posts like this one:
So they’re pretty clickbaity in nature, but it works.
And it’s also a great example of how you can build a massive following on Facebook and monetize it using an external blog.
Next up we have a much smaller presence – MakeMeStylish:
This page only has a little over 10,000 followers, so it’s not on the same scale as “The Points Guy”.
But, they still have enough fans to pitch direct affiliate links to – in this case it’s the ASOS affiliate program:
They also use Facebook to direct traffic to their external site.
And then finally we have a person trainer who also uses affiliate links in his Facebook content.
Affiliate marketers come in all shapes and sizes – literally.
Just bear in mind that this guy’s main income source is from personal training, and not from trying to make money with affiliate marketing.
Pros and Cons of Facebook affiliate marketing
So let’s take a look at the obvious advantages and disadvantages for affiliate marketers in using Facebook.
- You get access to billions of active social media users
- Extremely low barrier to entry – anyone can create a Facebook page or group
- Can be run without ever buying a domain name or web hosting
- An ideal business model for digital nomads – no laptop required
- Your only real business expense is paying for ads
- Can leverage traffic from existing pages or groups to build your own presence
- You have to use paid ad if you’re serious about affiliate marketing on Facebook
- Free traffic is no longer a thing
- So that makes generating a profit with Facebook campaigns VERY difficult
- One ToS (Terms of Service) update can tank your business
Should you start affiliate marketing on Facebook?
But a better question to ask might be, “Is it possible to make money doing it?”
That’s more of a “Maybe”.
The expense of running paid ad campaigns will eat into whatever commissions you do earn.
So it’s never going to be “easy”.
Plus, you’re effectively building your business on a 3rd party platform…that could vanish overnight.
Or they could decide to ban affiliate marketing, period.
That’s why building your own niche or authority website makes far more sense.
It’s a more stable business model, with the potential for almost unlimited income.
Remember, there are lots of affiliates making 6-figures per month.
That’s why we recommend investing your time and effort where you’ll get the best return on investment – your own site.