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Raise funds with Twitter by promoting Amazon items

Howard Lake | 5 November 2009 | Blogs

Here’s a practical way to raise funds using Twitter. Why not promote books (or CDs, DVDs, toys, kitchenware etc) available on Amazon via Twitter and earn a percentage of any of the sales that are generated?

It’s very simple. You need two tools – a Twitter account and an Amazon Associates account. (Both of these are free to create and use, of course).

As a charity, you do have an Amazon Associates account, don’t you? For the past 12 years it has been possible to list, promote, mention or otherwise feature a product on Amazon and, using unique code that Amazon provides, earn usually a single figure percentage of any sales generated at Amazon as a result.


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.

You could have posted one of these links via Twitter at any point. Now, however, Amazon makes it much easier.

In your Amazon Associates account, select the ‘Site Stripe’ option and turn it on. As you move round the Amazon site, you’ll see these toolbar sit above the site.

One of the options it offers is ‘Share on Twitter’. Find a book or other product you want to feature, click on the ‘Share on Twitter’ button, and Amazon will create a tweet on your account featuring the product’s name, author (if applicable), plus a shortened URL link to that page which includes your unique Associates ID to help track sales.

The default message is prefixed with the unattractive if succinct “Check out”. You can of course edit the message before you send it out. Just don’t change the short URL.

Amazon uses the bit.ly URL shortening service. Sign up for a bit.ly account (it’s free) and then you will see how many times the link in your promotional message has been clicked on and/or retweeted.

Of course you’ll have to check your Amazon Associates account to see if these clickthroughs have actually resulted in sales and therefore commission for your organisation.

I suspect this approach should not be overdone, so I would suggest you don’t turn your Twitter feed into an endless series of ads for items on Amazon.

On the other hand, you could do just that – start listing and tweeting products that are directly relevant to your audience of supporters, perhaps in a separate Twitter account, or as part of your organisation’s main account.

Let me know how you get on with this approach.