How to Maximize Revenue via Instagram Affiliate Marketing
Instagram first launched in 2010. Since then, the platform has attracted a whopping number of users—over 1.4 billion—becoming one of the fastest-growing social media platforms. That quickly made Instagram synonymous with influencer marketing. Many users spend hours scrolling through the media platform daily, and even the people who don’t use it have at least heard of it.
However, Instagram is not just for influencers. With time it became a great environment for affiliate marketing as well, maybe even better than it is for influencer marketing. One of the biggest advantages of Instagram affiliate marketing is the fact that you don’t need hundreds of thousands of followers to succeed as an affiliate marketer. In fact, there are accounts with less than 5,000 followers that manage to create a community around relevant content.
Instagram is a perfect platform for affiliates, not only because half of all Instagram users shop on the platform each week but also because of Instagram’s content formats—images, videos, stories, and live streams. They showcase the 360-degree view most people need prior to purchasing.
In this post, we will go over why you should use Instagram for affiliate marketing in more detail. We will also provide the know-how on creating the ideal Instagram account along with the top strategies for successful affiliate marketing on the platform. Let’s begin!
Table of Contents:
Why Do Affiliate Marketing with Instagram?
Instagram affiliate marketing has opened up the doors for brands and influencers to work creatively together. By utilizing the power of word-of-mouth marketing, consumers are more likely to buy products and services via social media.
Instagram is the number 1 social media platform when it comes to usage by brands for their influencer campaigns. With 29% of Instagram’s top posts coming from influencers or affiliates, they are dominating the game when it comes to user-generated content.
Mark Fidelman, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Fanatics Media, wrote:
Instagram is the No.1 influencer marketing platform. And social stars are moving from Snapchat and Twitter to Instagram. Why? Because influencers follow the money and where is the money? Instagram. Why? Because they make it easiest for digital marketers to succeed.
That is a fact that should not be ignored, especially for brands looking at Instagram affiliate marketing strategies. So how can a brand, affiliate marketer, or influencer get started?
How Does Affiliate Marketing on Instagram Work?
Affiliate Marketing on Instagram is done by establishing partnerships between an affiliate marketer and placement of some sort of introduction or advertisement of a company’s products or services on the marketer’s website, social media post, or anywhere.
The affiliate marketer depicts the product or service in their postings and earns a commission on each sale that can be attributed to their post, such as through a URL link that has been customized with a unique affiliate code added to the end of it in the description of the post. When these affiliate promotions are being done on Instagram, we call it Instagram affiliate marketing. However, affiliate marketing is clearly not limited to Instagram as a platform — you can also use YouTube, Pinterest, and even TikTok.
The service or product being promoted gains inherent customer interest, and the influencer profile working as the affiliate is used to engage its audiences towards the product being advertised. The influencer earns some cut of the sale made by the product being advertised. So, it is mutually beneficial for both the brand and influencers to work together.
How Can Affiliates Promote Links on Instagram When You Can’t Link on Instagram?
You are probably wondering how Instagram is good for affiliates compared to blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., when it does not allow you to place a link every time you post an image. How can affiliate marketers on Instagram get people to enter a link with their affiliate code into their browser and buy products? There are actually a few ways, once you get creative and think outside of the box.
Permanent Link in Bio
The most obvious way is to use the link in your bio to forward people to the website. This works well if you are always promoting the same brand, product, or link. So, if you are a FastComet affiliate, you can use this and not worry about having to change it. You then tell people to click on the link in your bio. Ideal when you are an affiliate exclusively for one brand.
Semi-Permanent Link in Bio
In case you want to promote a different product with each post, you can still use the link in your bio. However, you will have to update that link to the latest affiliate URL each time you publish a new post. You can still tell people to click the link in your bio. Still, if someone should discover an older post promoting a different product, they will land at a different landing page. Thus it’s not the most efficient way to do Instagram affiliate marketing.
Affiliate Link via Instagram Reels
Like regular Instagram posts, Instagram reels don’t allow live hyperlinks to be included in the accompanying text. Sure, you can add a text-based URL in the caption, but it will not be clickable. Someone will need to copy the text from Instagram and then paste it into their web browser to get to your affiliate offer.
The easiest workaround to this is to set up a free Smart.bio through Tailwind, which will allow you to create a branded landing page with clickable links that you can then use as your bio link.
Once this is set up, simply add your affiliate links to your Smart.bio and include CTA text in your posts that say things like:
- Click the link in my bio to learn more!
- Check out my bio for details!
Use emoticons with fingers pointing up, towards your bio, for additional effect.
Include the Affiliate Link as Swipe-Up in Instagram Stories
If you happen to have a business account and a follower count above 10,000, you should see the option to add a swipe-up link to your Instagram Story to make it easy for your followers to visit the website on the other side of your affiliate link. This is a killer reason to upgrade to a Business account, but keep in mind that there is potential for getting less engagement because of how the pay-to-play social network algorithms.
Include the Affiliate Link in Your Photo, Image Description, or Instagram Story
This is by far the least effective, but if you use a URL shortener like Bl.ink and create a branded URL that is easy to remember and short enough to type, some of your avid followers just might take a screenshot of your photo or description and then input the URL manually into their browser.
How to Create the Perfect Instagram Profile
Whether you’re a brand, influencer, or affiliate marketer, creating a good Instagram profile isn’t as easy as it sounds. In principle, it’s simple – take a good photo, upload it, add a filter and upload it.
However, some of the most successful accounts have taken steps to make sure their Instagram stands out from the crowd so that they can gain more followers. And if they are an influencer, it paves the way for big brands to want to work with them to reach a wider audience.
Choose a Good Username
First things first — choose a good, memorable username so when people are tagging you in their photos on Instagram, they don’t have to search hard to find you.
It’s best not to have any strange characters in your username as it can make it more difficult for people to find you.
For example, if you have a Twitter account, keeping the same username as your Instagram account can help when people are looking for you. Brands should use an Instagram handle that is the same as the brand name.
Pick a Relevant Profile Picture
Next, make sure your profile picture reflects you. If you are a business, it should include your logo and not a photo of yourself. If you’re an individual, generally speaking, a headshot will do the trick. As a FastComet affiliate, you can use a screenshot of our home page with the current promo codes on it.
Make Your Instagram Account Public
Check to see that your Instagram is accessible to everyone. If you set your Instagram account to private, you must approve each person who wants to follow you.
Also, they won’t be able to see any of your images until they have been approved. This will slow down the whole process of gaining followers, and some users may even not follow you in the first place because of that.
Create an Informative Bio
Make sure your bio includes some good information about you or your company. You have 150 characters to show off what you’re about — make them count.
Be sure to include your website link and a way of contacting you as well. This is important for influencers, affiliates, and brands. Currently, it isn’t possible to search bios for keywords and hashtags. So don’t worry about using those in your bio.
Pick Brands That Fit Your Niche
If you are an influencer, generally speaking, it is good to work with brands that fit your audience. Otherwise, a post will look like it’s out of place in your Instagram feed. It could make you lose followers or cause people to write negative comments on your post.
Use Captions and Geo-tagging
Include relevant information about the photograph and ask a question of your followers. This is important to drive engagement to your posts, and it gives people the information they are searching for.
Geo-tagging can help when customers want to find out where something is located. A blogger utilizing geo-tagging might include where they are in the photograph. Brands should geo-tag store locations to make them easier for people to find.
Use Niche-relevant Tags and Hashtags
When you are posting a photo, make sure you use relevant tags. To choose the best tags for your content, you need to research your audience to find out what hashtags they are using on their posts. Posting the most popular tags won’t necessarily help you in the long run.
For example, a web hosting blogger and affiliate should use hosting-related tags. If they were to include a hashtag about puppies, it wouldn’t fit with their content.
If you include a hashtag that doesn’t fit with your niche, people will be less likely to engage with you.
However, The Instagram Engagement Report 2020 highlights that tagging other users in posts increases engagement rates but claims that using hashtags does not.
Be Responsive to Comments
If people comment on your picture, make sure that you like their comments and reply to them, especially if they ask a question so you can start a conversation.
Some of the best brands on Instagram engage with their users on a day-to-day basis.
Include your URL in the Comments
When people follow you, they will usually find your images on their news feed instead of going directly to your page. This is why it’s important to include your affiliate links below the picture so that you can drive more traffic to your page or a specific product page.
Instagram has gone out of its way to make it seamless for its users to be online shoppers. It is easy to make your organic posts shoppable. To get started, you can check out the Instagram Shopping Guide. They reveal that 70% of shopping enthusiasts turn to Instagram for product discovery.
Their focus on shopping is why Instagram is the most popular social media platform brands use influencers on.
Another new feature test is the ability for followers to set reminders to buy products on their launch date directly on Instagram. Wise brands can line up influential affiliates to generate buzz before their product even launches, knowing fans can set reminders to buy as soon as a product drops.
Make Sure you Tag Your Products/Services
Tagging your products or services on Instagram makes them shoppable to your followers. It allows you to include up to 5 products in one image, and the pricing will be displayed for your visitors.
When they click on the product or affiliate link, it will take them through to the product page, leading to a purchase. It’s a great way to boost sales.
Key Strategies for Affiliates on Instagram
OK, so now you know that you might be asking yourself, how do I start affiliate marketing on Instagram? Here are 15 strategies to maximize your affiliate marketing strategy.
Utilize Coupon Codes
Coupon codes have always been an effective way to get people to buy something. Include a screenshot of the coupon code in your image gallery. If it is an exclusive coupon code, then it has more draw because the discount is better than a normal coupon code.
Don’t Always Make Selling Products a Focus Point
Even when you are a web hosting affiliate, don’t hesitate to include your pictures or videos. If people feel that they know you and like you, they will be more likely to click on your affiliate links.
Use Instagram Stories to Highlight the Company You’re Working With
Since the introduction of Instagram stories was released in October 2016, it has become incredibly popular as a peek into the day-to-day lives of some of the most popular Instagrammers out there. If you have a considerable amount of followers, it’s likely that they want updates from you. Use stories to increase engagement. And do use the “Join Chat” feature in Instagram Stories to get even more traction.
Work on a Niche
Focusing on a niche is crucial. If you create a network between social media, your website, and your blog, promoting products or services from the same niche will ultimately lead to success when it’s done correctly.
Create Blog Posts that Work with Your Instagram Posts
To make the most of your followers and increase the likelihood of someone going on to buy, a blog post can help bolster it. You can include it in an Instagram story or as part of the post advertising the product or service.
Run Sponsored Posts to Boost Sales
Sponsored posts on Instagram can be a great tool to increase followers and engagements on specific posts. If you have a coupon code, this can be a good way to increase sales. You can target your audience to specific demographics, including location, interests, behaviors, and purchase intent which makes it easy to find the people you are looking for.
Run Paid Search
If you want to get more followers or more clicks on a specific post, it is possible to run a paid search on your Instagram page via Google Adwords. To do this, you need to make sure that you keep your conversion rate and budget in mind and that you do your keyword research properly.
If all of this has convinced you that you want to get started as an affiliate influencer on Instagram, or if you’re a brand and you want to recruit some influencers on an affiliate marketing basis, remember some of the key points – make sure that your Instagram profile stands out from the rest, work on developing good relationships with the people you want to work with and make sure you have a strategy and clear expectations that work for you both. This way, neither of you will be disappointed, and you should be on your way to creating more revenue.
Video and Instagram TV (IGTV)
No Instagram post would be complete without discussing the growing importance of video. Enter IGTV, “an app for watching long-form, vertical video from your favorite Instagram creator.”
Internet users are spending more time watching videos, and Instagram is all about mobile. Serious influencers and brands need to move into video if they haven’t already.
Use IGTV to tell stories, record videos, share tutorials, review products and services, interview exciting personalities, and increase your connection with your followers. IGTV videos can be up to an hour-long.
Always use #ad or #spon per Legal Requirements
Stay out of legal difficulties by remembering to always meet the disclosure requirements relevant in your country. We have a great resource on what is considered appropriate affiliate disclosure that can save you a lot of headaches.
Fines can be very steep on both brands and influencers. You don’t want to take the chance of being prosecuted. Bear in mind that you are reasonable for the accuracy of what you post. If you exaggerate or fail to be truthful in your posts, you can be sued.
Measure Your Results
Serious influencers use tools to schedule their shares at the best time to post on Instagram. Тhey use analytics to measure what is working so they can increase their conversion rates.
Get familiar with Instagram Insights in your Instagram business account. A handy tool to measure your success is the free Kicksta Instagram Engagement Calculator.
Brands choose influencers based on how much engagement their posts get.
Influencers and affiliates interested in getting more brand-sponsored work need to focus on increasing their engagement numbers. One way to do that is to limit how much you post. Put more time and effort into crafting the perfect post and give it more time to be featured before you post anything else.
What NOT to Do on Instagram
- Don’t spam. Do not use inaccurate tags on your posts, hoping that popular tags will get you more visibility. And don’t leave generic or irrelevant comments. These may make you memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.
- Never buy followers or likes. Yes, many are offering to sell them, but fake followers really hurt your engagement statistics. Even if they paid you to take them – you don’t want them! Earn real followers with what you share instead.
- Don’t be boring. No one wants to see anything but advertising or “all about me” posts or continual product pushing. Create the most interesting posts you can so they get shared and your following grows.
- Remember that everything shared online lives forever somewhere. Anyone can screen capture it, and it will be saved in databases – even if you delete it later.
- Don’t choose offensive usernames.
- Be social. Try to be consistently engaging and interactive.
If all of this has convinced you that you want to start (or expand) as an affiliate influencer on Instagram, remember to make sure that your Instagram profile stands out from the rest, work on developing good relationships with influencers and brands in your niche, have a strategy and clear expectations.
Also, don’t forget that algorithms constantly change, so focus on an Instagram strategy that works in 2022 (and update as needed).
This way, neither you nor the company you’re promoting will be disappointed, and you should be well on your way to creating more revenue.
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