The hype and excitement that TikTok brings to its trendy users are making it an incredible opportunity for creators looking to monetize product recommendations via affiliate marketing.
However, the platform, in general, is not overly friendly to links in general, and affiliate marketing in particular.
Join us to break down the basics of affiliate marketing on TikTok, learn the core three ways to share affiliate links inside the social media app, and we’ll finish up with some best practices.
The Basics Of TikTok Affiliate Marketing
Similar to affiliate marketing on YouTube, a successful affiliate marketer creates product-related videos and adds a link, often in the bio, for users to then click and buy. But this isn’t the only way to get your affiliate links into TikTok; more on that later.
While you can go viral in an instant (by hopping onto TikTok trends), more often than not, success doesn’t happen overnight. Turning even a small part of the 1 billion TikTok users into views, then customers, can build a solid revenue stream from affiliate marketing. However, with any sustainable approach to affiliate marketing, this should be a step-by-step marketing process.
Start with understanding your TikTok audience; this is most easily done by looking at your followers and those liking your content. Knowing how to create exciting videos to entice your audience to click the product links to become consumers is key (surprise, surprise!).
In order to establish a connection with your target audience,, you need to know them inside and out. Speak to your product’s advantages in a way that makes its value clear. I.e., the need or want that your product solves needs to be made obvious and fit with the problems and challenges your target audience has (eg. reading glasses aren’t typically in high demand for an audience that is typically younger).
Don’t forget to work in an enticing call-to-action and even perhaps a discount code to push those unsure customers over the edge.
Who doesn’t love a freebie?
But don’t be too quick to create and mention brand names or products without putting much thought into your content. If you do this, you risk coming across as ‘salesy’ and alienating some prospective customers. Instead, we recommend generating interest in the products using education and focusing in on the benefits of the product. Short demos of the product are great for this.
TikTok has some very unique features compared to some of its social media peers, so be sure to take advantage of those. Use filters, songs and audio, hashtags, a short and sweet caption, and even external video editing tools, such as VEED, to make sure your videos are up to scratch. Also, be sure to stay active on the platform in all aspects so regularly connect and network with your audience.
Finally, keep an eye on affiliate marketing trends, and best practices as things on TikTok are evolving quickly. Following the trends and best practices ensures that your feed and your content are always competitive and maybe even one step ahead of the rest.
3 (+ Bonus) Ways To Add Your Affiliate Links into TikTok
In affiliate marketing, an affiliate link is an essential piece of the puzzle. These external URLs direct your viewers to explore the products you recommend and allow the process to be tracked. In a tool like TikTok, knowing where to actually place those links can be a major hurdle, at least initially.
Here’s how you use these links in TikTok videos:
1. Add an Affiliate Link to Your Bio
TikTok, like Instagram, typically only allows a single link to be shared, and that link is part of a person’s profile. The kicker here is that your TikTok profile must be a business account to unlock the bio link.
Because of the limited use of links on TikTok, your audience is most likely to search for a link in your bio thus, you should always add one there.
This link in your profile allows viewers who may not have seen any (or all!) of your videos promoting the product to understand what you are promoting. For example, you can add a hashtag for a link in the bio in your caption or the TikTok feed. It alerts the users to peep into your profile for further information.
There is a provision for only one link in your business profile. If you are only promoting a single product across multiple videos and for an extended period, then you could use a single link on the bio, but with more products, you’ll have to change it frequently, which might not give every product the marketing it deserves or confuse your audience.
Image source: TikTok
As a result, a “link-in-bio” tool (our favorites include LinkTr.ee and Beacons) might be a good solution. These tools will also allow you to promote other key pieces of your online presence but be sure not to overwhelm your audience, as you’ll find that clicks/conversions on your affiliate links will decrease.
To switch to a business profile:
- In your settings, select “Manage account.”
- Select “Switch to Business Account.”
- Confirm your account is a Business account, then “Next.”
To add a link to your TikTok business profile:
- Go to your profile, then to ‘Edit Profile.
- Add your link under the Website (Add your Website).
- Submit your changes and recheck your profile for confirmation.
When using this technique, remember to remind your viewers, both audibly and visually when possible, that the link they need is in your bio. You need to direct them to the right place!
Here’s an example of what this kind of post would look like:
Image source: TikTok
2. Place A Link Into Your Videos
While it may sound obvious, adding affiliate links to your videos should help capture the awareness you’ve helped generate for the product and create an easy path forward for someone to buy the product.
But here is where the confusion often begins!
You’ve probably noticed an option to “Add link” in the Post options after you’ve created a video. This option gives you a list of destinations you can create a clickable link to. The problem is that you can’t add just any link you’d like.
Instead, you are limited to just this (growing) list of places. If, by chance, this list does include the destination you were planning to link to, it’s likely that your affiliate tracking parameters aren’t getting passed along, and you won’t receive credit for any sales you are able to recommend.
As a result, at this time, we DO NOT recommend using a clickable link created from the “Add link” option for your videos to promote products via affiliate links.
Instead, it’s best to recommend the product via a link (technically a URL as it’s not clickable) shown as text on the screen during your video.
Because this isn’t a clickable link, it’s important to make sure you use a short and memorable URL and then present it in a way that makes it memorable. Maybe you should spell it out or create a mnemonic (memory hack) for it to help boost conversions.
Further, when giving the URL at the end of the video, try to make it interesting and exciting to avoid losing the audience before you mention it. Of course, you should also include the URL in the video description.
A quick note on shortened links
A shorter affiliate link is easy for people to remember and looks much more appealing compared to a long and complicated URL (which most affiliate links tend to be!). It is all about making it simple for the viewer to key in the link, which could be quite challenging if it’s complex.
How do you shorten links?
Funny, you ask!
A tool like Geniuslink is a full-featured link management tool and a common solution for creators who share affiliate links on social media. Geniuslink allows you to shorten and customize your affiliate links so that they are recognizable and appear more trustworthy to those who click them. Plus, when using Geniuslink with Amazon Associates your links can work worldwide to further maximize commissions.
However, with any link management tool, it’s important to understand that in many cases a link with uppercase letters is different than lower case letters so be sure to be consistent with the links you make and call our uppercase letters if/when you use them. Or you may want to create multiple affiliate links.
For example, one is all uppercase, one is lowercase, and the third is a combination of upper and lowercase. Of course, you’d only post one but having the backups created means that if someone uses the wrong case, they’d still end up using your affiliate link.
A similar practice can be done for common misspellings but you can avoid this but using the shortest and simplest links possible.
3. Add an Affiliate Link To Your Caption
Again, the word “link” might be causing some confusion here as that implies that it is clickable (like in a YouTube description). Unfortunately, a link shared in a TikTok Caption is not clickable (and thus is technically a URL). However, sharing it here can still be helpful in directing shoppers forward to buy the product and you still get credit!
The same URL that you shared in the text of your video (see #2 above!) should be used in the caption. Just make sure the affiliate link is added to the first part of the caption so that it’s what the viewer sees early on and they don’t need to scroll to find it (as odds are many won’t!).
While you are working on our caption don’t forget to include different hashtags to help capture some of TikTok’s craze and trendiness.
However, above all else, be sure your caption is interesting, informative, and accurate. Don’t lose that trust you worked so hard to build!
Bonus: Link to Your Other Social Media Profiles
While sending your viewers directly to the store where you sell the product you are promoting is often the most common use of an affiliate link, you may find that you can boost your sales by building more trust or helping the viewer learn more about the product (or you) first.
You may also find that other platforms (like YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest) are much more friendly to affiliate links.
As a result, the fourth strategy we recommend is linking your TikTok videos to your other social media accounts.
The gist is that you are building a “conversion funnel” where TikTok in its crazy ability to quickly build audiences and views might be best used for building an audience group that more effectively can be monetized via a different social media network (eg. a longer form YouTube video where multiple affiliate links can be placed in the description and comments).
The idea is that you could do short-form introductory videos on TikTok which quickly capture attention and then your call to action sends people to YouTube for a longer-form video. That video can do more education (and selling) and also present an easier path forward via an easily found, and clickable(!), affiliate link right in the video description.
In this case, it may take multiple clicks/actions from your audience before a purchase happens but each step is simpler and more people would likely be willing to follow along.
Best Practices For Affiliate Marketing On TikTok
Avoid making rookie mistakes and get your videos noticed with the following tips:
- Use TikTok Business to enable you to embed product, affiliate, or social media links.
- Incorporate the product in your videos naturally (don’t force it, your viewers will notice!).
- Build your TikTok audience organically (never buy followers).
- Do your research to understand the current trends in business and TikTok.
- Learn about your target audience for better understanding and engagement
- Have a link in your bio that links to the product(s).
- Use a bridge page/ landing page/link-in-bio for multiple links.
- Use catchy and engaging captions, songs, and sounds.
- Mind the length of your videos (don’t go over 1 minute) and ensure the start is informative and interesting.
- When possible, use promo or discount codes in your videos to encourage purchasing.
- Be consistent and have a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your video.
- Use duets and collaborate with other TikTok users to increase your reach.