**Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. In addition, I may be compensated for purchases made via my Amazon Influencer page.
A few weeks ago I was invited to become an “Amazon Influencer” as a part of the new Amazon Influencer Program.
Like many of you, I had no idea what being an “Amazon Influencer” entailed or how it differed from being an Amazon Associate.
Amazon claims that the influencer program is an “extension to the existing online Amazon Associates program for social media influencers.” As an Amazon Associate and social media influencer myself, I was interested in learning more about the Amazon Influencer Program.
After some research, I learned that Amazon launched the influencer program to allow social media personalities with large internet followings to set up their own Amazon vanity URLs and pages on which to feature their favorite products — and continue to earn commissions!
What Differentiates the Amazon Associates (Affiliate) Program from the Amazon Infuencer Program?
Basically, the Amazon Influencer Program caters to social media influencers wanting to share affiliate links, gift guides and recommendations on social media.
The Amazon Associates program caters to affiliates wanting to share affiliate links, gift guides and recommendations on blogs and websites.
However, there is one big difference between the two programs — exclusivity. Anyone can sign up to be an Amazon Associate, but not all Amazon Associates are Amazon Influencers.
As of right now, Amazon Associates wanting to be a part of the Amazon Influencer Program must:
- Apply to become an Amazon Influencer (or)
- Be invited by Amazon to become an Amazon Influencer
What Does Becoming an Amazon Influencer Mean for Current Amazon Associates?
With the Amazon Influencer Program, you can receive a customizable page on Amazon.com and an exclusive vanity URL to showcase products that you love and recommend!
If you are a Facebook influencer, Amazon will also allow you to use the “handshake tool” when sharing your vanity URL. Here is an example.
This is a game-changer when it comes to making money as an Amazon Associate. Becoming an Amazon Influencer can help you maximize earnings and reach a larger audience.
Your Amazon Influencer landing page also includes links to your social media accounts and website — driving even more traffic back to you!
Why Do You Want a Vanity URL?
Having a vanity URL is helpful because:
1. It is easy to remember.
2. It gives you an additional way of directing traffic to Amazon when hyperlinking is not possible — like in Instagram captions, video overlays, or “stories” content.
This is what my vanity URL looks like: http://www.amazon.com/shop/socialparenting
Amazon Influencer Program vanity URLs make shopping easier for your followers by allowing them to search, find and shop for all of your recommended products in one easy-to-remember page.
Being an Amazon Influencer allows you to earn money (referral fees) from qualifying purchases when your followers shop through your page.
At the present time, referral fees earned as part of the Amazon Influencer Program are the same as those earned as an Amazon Associate.
How do you Qualify as an Amazon Influencer?
You must have a YouTube, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook account to qualify as an Amazon Influencer.
Amazon says they look at the number of followers and other engagement metrics of your social media presence, but also at the type of content you post and its relevancy for current and potential Amazon customers. Amazon has not released a specific amount of “followers” or engagement needed to qualify.
If you don’t qualify right away, you are encouraged to return at a later time as the eligibility requirements may change over time.
I was immediately accepted into the program after receiving my invitation to apply and was able to begin curating my Influencer page right away!
How Do You Apply to Become an Amazon Influencer?
In order to apply to become an Amazon Influencer you must visit this link: Amazon Influencer Program Sign Up.
Once you visit the sign-up link and sign in to the account associated to your Amazon Associates profile, you will be prompted to select which social media platform you wish to use in order to qualify as an Amazon Influencer (YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook).
It is recommended that you choose the account in which you have, or will have, the largest influence on your followers.
How Do you Share your Vanity URL?
Amazon has created a handy marketing “guide” with ideas and examples for sharing your vanity URL on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and your blog.
As always, you are reminded to comply with all applicable disclosure laws and regulations, per the FTC.
You can find the current FTC Endorsement Guide here: The FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking.
A few reminders:
- Associates may use Facebook’s Branded Content tool (handshake tool).
- If posting on Facebook or Twitter, please remember to specify that you are using affiliate links. Using Facebook’s Branded Content took is compliant with Facebook, but not with the FTC. Please follow the FTC’s guidelines when linking your vanity URL. Be sure to clearly spell out that you may receive a commission/affiliate fees if purchases are made from your page.
- You may link your vanity URL to the “shop now” button on Facebook. You can access the “shop now” button by creating a call-to-action.
- On YouTube, you can mention your vanity URL in videos and include a banner ad (pop up) to link to your influencer page. As always, please remember to follow the FTC’s guidelines on endorsements and disclosures in the description portion of your video.
- You may include your vanity URL on your blog or website’s homepage or ‘shop’ page.
What is your Vanity URL?
According to Amazon, your vanity URL is auto-generated based on the social media handle that qualified you for the program. For example, I qualified via Twitter (@SPMia), so my vanity URL ends in /SPMia. (It now ends in SocialParenting — see why below.)
The Amazon Influencer page states that your vanity URL cannot be changed unless:
- Your YouTube channel name changes (or)
- You have an account on another social media platform where you have a higher following than the one you used to qualify.
Some Amazon Influencer Program users have had issues locating their vanity URLs. Others have had their vanity URLs show a long string of numbers and/or letters instead of their social media handles. If this is the case, you are advised to contact Amazon directly via this contact form to submit a request to change or correct your vanity URL.
You should choose ‘Amazon Influencer Program’ in the drop-down and include information on your requested handle as well as the reason why your vanity URL needs to be changed in the ‘Comments’ area of the form.
Note: There have been reports of influencers requesting to change their vanity URLs to match their official blog/website names and having their requests approved.
UPDATE 1/4/18: I can confirm the reports of influencers being allowed to change their vanity URLs to better match their blogs or be more cohesive with their overall “brand”, as I changed my vanity URL from /SPMia (my Twitter name) to /SocialPareting (my brand name).
What Changes are Coming to the Amazon Influencer Program?
I spoke directly to someone that is part of the Amazon Influencer Program team and was able to voice a couple of my questions and concerns. One of my biggest concerns, and one that I know many fellow Amazon Influencers have, is
“Will I be able to categorize products on my Amazon Influencer Page?”
…and the answer is YES! Amazon is currently working on allowing influencers to categorize products on their Amazon Influencer Program pages.
This is a feature that I am eagerly anticipating! At the present time, it is only possible to add items to your influencer “list”, and these items are then displayed – with no rhyme or reason – on your influencer landing page.
In other words, all items (regardless of category) are displayed on the same page. It makes it difficult for followers to find specific items, and it requires them to scroll through your entire “list” every time they want to find a product.
I can’t wait to be able to link consumers to specific lists such as ‘favorite kids toys’, ‘favorite kitchen gadgets’, ‘blogging gear’, etc.!
Amazon is also working on incentivizing influencers by offering them special offers and promotions. For example, Amazon recently incentivized me to share my vanity URL by offering me a $100 gift card for one social media share.
I look forward to seeing the Amazon Influencer Program grow and evolve. I hope that Amazon continues to find ways to motivate influencers to use the program and that followers can find the value in shopping through their favorite influencer’s pages.