Affiliate marketing is a popular marketing avenue that allows online users to monetize their influence. In simple terms, a marketer promotes a brand’s products or services through different strategies to drive sales and earns a commission for each sale made through the links.
Why should you use Instagram affiliate marketing?
Statista’s projections say the spending on affiliate marketing is bound to hit $8.2 billion by 2022—this shows how much potential and power affiliate marketing holds today.
If you’re thinking of tapping into this billion-dollar industry, there is no better place than Instagram to start, and we’re going to show you how.
More than just a social media platform, Instagram is an influencer’s and marketer’s best friend. With its array of unique features and more than a billion active users, creating a brand, building an audience, and engaging with your followers has never been easier.
That’s how Erica Ligenza has built a following close to 100,000 and a thriving affiliate career.
Wondering how you can do this too?
Read this post to find some tried and tested tips to make money on Instagram with affiliate marketing.
1. Create an impressive Instagram business account in a profitable niche
The very first step on your affiliate marketing journey should be deciding your niche.
Choosing a niche is crucial for focusing your efforts in the right direction. You cannot appeal to just anyone and everyone. So, narrow down your audience to a single niche, preferably one that you’re passionate about.
This will allow you to build an authentic following and audience who is interested in that niche through which you can start promoting your affiliate products. People are more likely to buy if you have a niche-specific profile.
Once you have finalized a profitable niche, start optimizing your Instagram profile. It should include...
- Unique Username: A creative and catchy username is a great way to set yourself apart. Keep it alphabetical and avoid unusual characters or numbers. Adding keywords to your profile that your audience is likely to search for is also a great way to enhance visibility.
- Profile Picture: Another key element of your profile is the display picture. Choose an image that best reflects your Instagram account’s theme or add a logo.
- Concise Instagram Bio: Tell people what your Instagram page is about through a crisp and clear bio. Use the 150 characters to summarize what you do, add a link, and make it memorable.
Gunja keeps it simple and neat with details about her niche, her start-up, and all the links. Her account name is also a unique one!
2. Sign up for an affiliate program
Are you ready to rock your affiliate journey with a solid profile? Then join an affiliate marketing program—an arrangement between the merchant and affiliate where opportunities and links are discussed for marketing.
Joining a network of affiliates is the easiest way for beginners to start monetizing their profiles. It’s a great alternative to sponsored posts. A network will not only allow you to connect with more established influencers and marketers but also offer the tools and analytics you need to improve.
If you’re a beginner, affiliate networks will help you figure out the commission structure. This can give you a clear understanding of how to set your commission rates and make better profits.
Here’s a list of some of the most popular affiliate marketing networks to join:
- Amazon Associates: A favorite among affiliate marketers, Amazon Associates offers you a massive range of ecommerce products to advertise. With just 500 organic followers, you are all set to join this network.
- ShareASale: Another popular program among Instagram influencers, Share a Sale, allows you to sell a huge collection of products. You will need a website to become a part of this program. ShareASale has a sister company called Awin where you will find more programs.
- LikeToKnowIt: This is one of the most popular fashion and lifestyle affiliate programs, powered by influencers.
- ClickBank: This is a very well known affiliate network.
Other great affiliate networks: CJ affiliate, Rakuten, and Avangate.
Almost all these networks will payout monthly.
At the beginning of your Instagram affiliate marketing journey, you will be a micro-influencer with a small following and finding programs that accept will be tougher. But after you grow your following, and gain some digital marketing and influencer marketing experience you will get invited to the best programs.
3. Start creating educational content in different formats
With features like reels, stories, highlights, guides, and more, Instagram is nothing short of a content creator’s paradise.
There is no better way to grow your Instagram followers than by creating meaningful content. It allows you to build authority in your niche and establish yourself as a trusted name, acting as a great advantage while advancing affiliate products.
For this, you need to create content in multiple formats to educate and engage with your audience. Share your knowledge in your chosen niche to add value to your followers.
Educational content includes actionable tips, anecdotal lessons, tried and tested best practices, and useful tutorials.
Make the best use of popular Instagram formats—stories, live, reels, IGTVs, and highlights. Look how Sophie Alice creates posts in multiple formats to inform and entertain her audience.
4. Decide your link placement
Your affiliate marketing efforts are only as good as the number of clicks and conversions you get on your links. This makes it crucial to place your links cautiously on Instagram.
There are two main avenues for link placement— Instagram stories and your bio.
Most beginners with a following of less than 10,000 don’t have the option to put links on their stories.
So, the best option is to bring all your audience to the bio and place your links on a single dashboard. Tools like split.link offer the perfect solution to keep all links on one platform.
For influencers with a bigger following, stories are the best option. Convenient and easy, followers can access your links with a simple swipe up on your stories like in the below carousel Instagram post.
5. Create a solid hashtag strategy
Hashtags are for Instagram what keywords are to search engines. Consider hashtags as your free resource for building an audience for your affiliate brand and getting more visibility on the platform.
But using hashtags is not as easy as it sounds.
Studies show that without the strategic use of hashtags, you might end up attracting the wrong crowd, and we don’t want that.
So, here’s a quick checklist to help you create a bulletproof hashtag strategy for your affiliate profile:
- Use a minimum of 7 and a maximum of 30 hashtags
- Include the most relevant hashtags in the caption itself
- Carefully curate a list of hashtags after searching each one
- Create niche hashtags and merge them with popular ones
- Keep tweaking your hashtags based on post insights
You can include hashtags by simply leaving space in your main caption. If you have a bulk of hashtags to add, the best way would be to take inspiration from Fender to hide it in the first comment.
You can automate this with some good Instagram scheduling tools.
6. Organize contests and giveaways
Giveaways are the ultimate tool for boosting engagement rates on Instagram.
It’s a great way to offer something valuable to the community while asking them to return the favor through more activity on your page.
If you’re starting out as an influencer or affiliate marketer and can’t seem to increase the number of followers, then organize a contest with the desired prize.
Make the contest, specific to your niche and set the rules to encourage users to amplify your page.
Some simple tips to keep in mind when planning a giveaway are choosing a prize your audience wants, creating fairly simple and short rules, and declaring the results on the promised date.
That’s how TheGoldenRavi did it. They asked Instagrammers to follow the page, engage with the post, and spread the word on their stories. The prize? Dog accessories!
Through this, you can get a more niche-specific audience to your page and convert them with your affiliate links.
7. Do cross-promotional marketing
If you are marketing one product, then adding another complementary product in the post can help unlock massive profits for your affiliate marketing efforts. This is possible through cross-promotional marketing.
Cross-promotional marketing is essentially about promoting more than one product from different non-competing brands. So, if you’re talking about workout pants, then you can also promote a good protein powder!
This practice is bound to increase your affiliate profits since you are driving the audience’s purchase decisions for two or more products.
When you start a cross-promotional campaign, you should aim to build an alliance with the brand you are promoting. This amplifies your credibility while ensuring higher sales numbers.
Fabletics does it brilliantly with its association with Blissworld. In advertising its own pants, it offered skincare products from Blissworld as well.
8. Run ads on Instagram and other social media
Paid marketing is a proven way to fetch results for your Instagram affiliate marketing efforts.
Running ads on Instagram can multiply your outreach and significantly add to your follower count. Create some catchy ads to convey the details of your affiliate page and reach a larger audience.
Here is a helpful checklist to create the perfect ad campaign on Instagram.
- Choose a goal for the campaign
- A detailed understanding of the target audience for accurate targeting
- Informative yet attractive creatives
- Persuasive copywriting that hook Instagram users’ attention
ID Sarrieri does it perfectly with a minimal design and an appealing caption. Right under the main ad lies a link to their website with a clear CTA button as well.
When running ads don’t just rely on Instagram alone. You should combine it with other social channels. You need to device a strong marketing strategy where the different networks complement each other and boost revenue.
Affiliate marketing is a profitable side hustle, and if done right, you can even convert it into a full-time business for yourself. Social media influencers, bloggers, and established marketers have become successful affiliates because of their massive follower count. But you can do it too!
Leverage the power of Instagram to build your career as an affiliate marketer using the steps discussed in this blog. Remember, it’s as important to plan your actions as it is to implement them.
Seek inspiration from those who are successful and use your efforts in the right direction. Start with choosing your niche, optimize your profile, create a content planner, engage with your audience, and watch your network grow!