The affiliate marketing industry, along with many areas of digital marketing, is starting to recognize the role of social media as a growth driver for the channel. A staggering 3.3 billion people worldwide (43% penetration) are active social media users. In the U.S, 71% of internet users use social networks for an average of one hour and fifteen minutes a day.

As social media infiltrates more of our waking hours and becomes increasingly commerce-driven, the lines between affiliate marketing and social media marketing are blurring. Channel partners are embracing this convergence in a big way.

Affiliate programs and marketing campaigns now include not only coupon and cashback sites, but Instagram and YouTube influencers and other social components.

The desire for deeper relationships with their customers is another factor pushing brands to leverage social media in their partner marketing efforts. Social media savvy partners facilitate this through the sharing of recommendations, reviews, and tips with their loyal followers. Tracking and technology enable affiliate marketing partners to broaden their purview to include social, so it makes sense for a marketing program to capitalize on this source of potential revenue.

Affiliate marketers can find a wealth of new opportunities for engaging with potential customers via social. And as consumers grow more comfortable using social media for brand and product discovery, and even shopping, the options balloon further.

So, if you’re looking to identify new partners that can move the needle for your brand, along with increased ROI, look no further than adding social media to your affiliate strategy. Get started on making strong use of social opportunities with this simple 5-step planning process.