Welcome to the world of Instagram affiliate marketing—a dynamic blend of two multibillion-dollar industries that has the potential to become your lucrative side hustle. Picture getting paid while recommending products to your followers on Instagram.
As the platform boasts over half a billion weekly shoppers and showcases content formats that empower buyers with a 360-degree view, it’s no wonder why affiliate marketers are flocking to this social media giant. If you’re eager to seize this opportunity and earn passive income through Instagram, this comprehensive guide is your ticket to success.
From setting up a Creator account to maximizing your commission, we’ll walk you through the essential steps and tips to thrive as an affiliate marketer on Instagram. Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
Start Affiliate Marketing on Instagram in 3 Steps
Step 1: Switch to a Creator Account
The first step in starting your affiliate marketing journey on Instagram is to switch your account to a Creator account. This type of account is designed for content creators, influencers, and bloggers, providing them with tools and insights to grow their presence on the platform.
To switch to a Creator account, follow these simple steps:
Open Your Instagram Account: Log in to your Instagram app and go to your profile page.
Select Settings: On your profile page, click on the three horizontal lines at the top right corner to open the menu. Then, tap on “Settings” at the bottom of the menu.
Go to Account: In the settings menu, click on “Account” to access your account settings.
Tap Switch to a Professional Account and Choose Creator: Under the “Account” settings, you will find an option called “Switch to a Professional Account.” Select this option and then choose “Creator” as your account type.
Choose the Category: After selecting Creator, Instagram will prompt you to choose a category that best describes your affiliate niche. This will help Instagram understand your content and suggest relevant features.
Enter Your Contact Information: Finally, you’ll need to provide your contact information. This is important as it allows your audience and potential brand partners to get in touch with you.
By switching to a Creator account, you gain access to valuable features such as advanced insights and simplified messaging. These insights will help you track your follower growth, understand your audience demographics, and manage questions and interactions from people interested in the products you promote as an affiliate marketer.
Step 2: Choose the Right Affiliate Partners
Once your Creator account is set up, the next crucial step is to find the right affiliate partners to work with. These are the brands and companies that will pay you a commission for promoting their products on your Instagram account.
There are two primary avenues to explore when looking for affiliate partners:
Affiliate Marketing Programs: Many brands across various niches have affiliate marketing programs. These programs encourage customers and influencers to promote their products in exchange for a commission on sales. Some popular affiliate programs include Shopify, Amazon Associates, and the eBay Partner Network.
Affiliate Networks: Affiliate networks act as intermediaries between affiliates (you) and brands. Platforms like ShareASale, Rakuten, Awin, and CJ Affiliate provide a convenient way to discover multiple affiliate programs and manage them from a single dashboard. They offer various brands and products to choose from, each with different commission rates.
As a beginner, starting with affiliate marketing programs and networks is a great way to get your feet wet. It has a lower barrier to entry, and you can find a wide range of products to promote. Once you gain experience and build your influence, you can approach brands directly to secure affiliate partnerships.
To increase your chances of getting accepted into affiliate programs, show that you are already a loyal customer of the brands you love. Share your genuine experiences and recommendations for their products on your Instagram account. This approach demonstrates your authenticity and trustworthiness, making brands more likely to collaborate with you.
- Learn more about how to make money with affiliate marketing.
Step 3: Build Your Influence
Building influence on Instagram is a crucial step in becoming a successful affiliate marketer. Your influence is what will attract and engage your audience, making them more likely to trust your recommendations and purchase products through your affiliate links. While the number of followers is important, it’s the quality of your audience and the trust you’ve earned that truly matters.
Here are some effective tips to build your influence on Instagram:
1. Post When Your Audience is Active: To maximize engagement, it’s essential to post content when your followers are most active on the platform. Use Instagram Insights, available with a Creator account, to determine your optimal posting times. Consistency in posting at these times will keep your audience engaged and increase your visibility.
2. Be Consistent: Creating a consistent posting schedule and maintaining a cohesive aesthetic for your content will help your followers know what to expect from your account. Consistency builds trust and helps you establish a recognizable brand identity.
3. Share Mostly Non-Promotional Content: While affiliate marketing is about promoting products, bombarding your audience with constant promotional content can backfire. Instead, focus on providing value through non-promotional content, such as informative posts, entertaining videos, or inspiring images. Strive for the “one-in-20” principle, where only about 5% of your posts are affiliate-related, while the rest are authentic and engaging.
4. Pick a Niche: To be seen as a credible authority in your field, choose a niche for your affiliate products. Whether it’s fashion, fitness, beauty, travel, or any other interest, specializing in a particular area helps you attract a targeted and engaged audience. For instance, if you’re promoting pet products, share content related to pets and build a community around pet lovers.
5. Engage With Your Audience: Interacting with your followers is essential for fostering a loyal community. Respond to comments, answer questions, and acknowledge your audience’s contributions. Showing genuine interest in your followers will strengthen your relationship with them and encourage them to trust your recommendations.
6. Collaborate With Others: Partnering with other influencers or creators in your niche can help expand your reach and gain exposure to new audiences. Collaborative efforts, such as guest posts or joint giveaways, can introduce you to potential followers who share similar interests.
7. Leverage Instagram Stories and Reels: Instagram Stories and Reels are powerful tools to showcase your personality and creativity. These formats allow you to engage with your audience on a more personal level, building a stronger connection with them. Share behind-the-scenes glimpses, product reviews, or quick tips through Stories and Reels to captivate your audience.
8. Utilize IGTV and Live Videos: IGTV and Live videos offer opportunities to create longer-form content and interact with your audience in real-time. Host Q&A sessions, product demonstrations, or tutorials to provide added value to your followers and establish yourself as an expert in your niche.
Building influence on Instagram takes time and effort, but it’s a crucial investment in your long-term success as an affiliate marketer. As you consistently provide value, engage with your audience, and demonstrate authenticity, your influence will grow, and your followers will be more inclined to trust and act on your affiliate recommendations. Remember, building a loyal and engaged audience is the foundation for a thriving affiliate marketing business on Instagram.
- Learn more about Instagram marketing strategies.
How to Get More Affiliate Sales on Instagram: 7 Tips
1. Build an Instagram Affiliate Storefront
Instagram recently introduced an exciting feature for content creators: the ability to create an affiliate storefront within the app. Similar to Instagram Shops, this storefront allows you to showcase the products you’re affiliated with directly on your profile. It streamlines the buying process for your followers and increases the chances of converting them into customers.
While this feature may still be in beta testing at the time of writing, it’s essential to prepare for its eventual launch. Here’s how you can make the most of it:
Test Affiliate Products: Before the storefront feature is widely available, experiment with different affiliate products. Identify the ones that resonate the most with your audience and generate higher engagement.
Monitor Product Performance: Keep track of how well each product performs in terms of clicks, conversions, and sales. This data will help you understand which products should take priority in your storefront.
Optimize Product Descriptions: Craft compelling and informative product descriptions. Highlight the unique selling points and benefits of each product to entice your audience to make a purchase.
Tag Products in Posts: As the feature rolls out, make use of product tags to link your affiliate products directly from your posts. This seamless integration will lead your followers to your affiliate storefront, where they can explore and purchase the products.
Creating an Instagram affiliate storefront not only enhances the shopping experience for your followers but also consolidates your affiliate marketing efforts. It provides a centralized hub for your recommended products, making it easier for your audience to discover and engage with the items you promote.
2. Label Affiliate Products as a Paid Partnership
As an affiliate marketer on Instagram, it’s vital to be transparent with your audience about your affiliate partnerships. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires clear disclosure of your relationship with the brand when promoting affiliate products. Failing to do so may lead to legal issues and, more importantly, erode trust with your followers.
To comply with the FTC guidelines and ensure transparency, Instagram has introduced a feature called “paid partnerships.” This label appears on your posts when you’re promoting affiliate products, indicating that you’re incentivized to share the brand’s content.
To use the paid partnership label:
Create Your Post: Craft your post, whether it’s an image, video, or carousel.
Add a Partner Tag: Tag the brand’s Instagram handle in your post.
Select “Paid Partnership”: After tagging the brand, you’ll see an option to tag it as a paid partnership. Choose this option, and the label will appear on your post.
By being upfront about your affiliate partnerships, you not only comply with legal requirements but also build trust and credibility with your audience. Lattice Hudson, founder of Lattice & Co, advises against obscuring the fact that it’s affiliate marketing, as being truthful and fair with your audience fosters authentic relationships.
3. Add Affiliate Links to Your Instagram Bio
One limitation of Instagram is the ability to include only one link in your bio. As an affiliate marketer, you’ll want to direct your followers to multiple affiliate products and offers. To overcome this challenge, you can use link aggregator tools like Linktree or Tap Bio. These tools allow you to create a landing page that contains multiple affiliate links, effectively directing your Instagram traffic to various products.
When setting up your link aggregator page, keep the following tips in mind:
Organize Your Links: Arrange your affiliate links in a clear and organized manner on the landing page. Categorize them if necessary, making it easy for your audience to find the products they’re interested in.
Use Call-to-Action (CTA) Buttons: Create compelling CTA buttons for each link, encouraging your followers to click and explore the affiliate products. Clear and engaging CTAs can significantly improve click-through rates.
Track Link Performance: Most link aggregator tools offer analytics to track the performance of each link. Monitor which affiliate products receive the most clicks and conversions, allowing you to optimize your strategy accordingly.
4. Offer Discount Codes
Everybody loves a good discount! Offering discount codes to your followers can be a powerful way to drive affiliate sales. Instagram Stories present an excellent opportunity for sharing discount codes, especially since the platform’s “Swipe Up” feature is reserved for accounts with over 10,000 followers. However, you can still leverage the link sticker in Stories to direct your audience to the product pages with your unique discount code.
Here’s how you can create a discount code Story highlight:
Create a Story with the Discount Code: Design an eye-catching and engaging Story that showcases the product and emphasizes the discount code. Encourage your followers to use the code to enjoy exclusive savings.
Add the Affiliate Link with the Discount Code: Use the link sticker to attach the affiliate link of the product along with the discount code. This will lead your audience directly to the product page with the reduced price.
Save the Story to a Highlight: After 24 hours, your Story disappears, but you can save it to a dedicated Story highlight on your profile. This way, the discount code remains accessible to your followers for an extended period, giving them more time to make a purchase.
Highlighting your discount codes in a Story highlight not only increases their visibility but also creates a sense of urgency for your followers to take advantage of the limited-time offer.
5. Make Product Demo Videos
Affiliate marketing on Instagram is more than just promoting products through images and captions. To effectively showcase the value of the products you’re promoting, consider creating product demonstrations using various formats:
Instagram Stories: Use Stories to create vlog-style videos where you personally demonstrate how the product works or share your experience with it. This personal touch helps build a connection with your audience and increases their trust in your recommendations.
Instagram Reels: Capitalize on the popularity of short, engaging videos with Reels. You can create quick and snappy product demos, showing off the product’s features in a fun and entertaining way.
Instagram Live: Host live streaming sessions where you interact with your audience in real-time while demonstrating the affiliate products. Live product tutorials allow your followers to ask questions and get instant feedback, increasing their confidence in making a purchase.
By providing valuable and informative product demonstrations, you give your audience a better understanding of the products you promote and how they can benefit from them. This helps create a strong connection with your followers and boosts the chances of them clicking on your affiliate links and making a purchase.
6: Use Hashtags to Increase Your Reach
Hashtags play a crucial role in increasing the visibility of your content on Instagram. They allow you to reach a broader audience beyond your followers, making them an essential tool for attracting potential customers to your affiliate products. By using relevant and popular hashtags, you increase the chances of your posts appearing in the Explore page and in hashtag feeds, thus exposing your content to a larger and more diverse audience.
Here are some tips for using hashtags effectively:
Research Relevant Hashtags: Identify popular hashtags in your niche by researching what your competitors and other influencers in your industry are using. Tools like SparkToro, SISTRIX, and Inflact can also help you discover trending hashtags.
Use a Mix of Hashtag Sizes: Incorporate a mix of broad and specific hashtags in your posts. While popular hashtags may have high competition, niche-specific hashtags can attract a more engaged audience. Strike a balance to maximize your reach and visibility.
Create Branded Hashtags: Consider creating a unique branded hashtag for your affiliate marketing campaigns. This can help you track the performance of your posts and engage with users who use your hashtag.
Stay Relevant: Ensure the hashtags you use are relevant to your content and the products you’re promoting. Avoid using irrelevant or spammy hashtags, as this can negatively impact your credibility.
7. Track Affiliate Performance
Measuring the performance of your affiliate marketing efforts is crucial for optimizing your strategies and maximizing your sales. Both Instagram Insights and the data from your affiliate marketing dashboard provide valuable information to help you understand what’s working and what needs improvement.
Here are some key metrics to track:
Brand Awareness: Use Instagram Insights to analyze how people are finding your content, whether it’s through the Explore page, your followers’ feeds, or directly from your profile.
Profile Activity: If you’re directing followers to your link aggregator or storefront in your bio, monitor how many people click on the links. This will give you insights into the effectiveness of your bio link and the products that attract the most interest.
Engagement Rate: Measure the engagement rate for different affiliate products and types of content. Identify which posts generate the most clicks and conversions to optimize your future promotions.
Affiliate Conversion Rate: Keep track of the conversion rate for each promoted affiliate product. This will help you identify high-performing products and fine-tune your marketing efforts.
Affiliate Conversion Spikes: Look for patterns in your affiliate sales to identify any trends or specific times when your promotions are particularly successful. Use this information to plan strategic marketing campaigns around those periods.
By regularly analyzing these metrics, you can identify successful strategies, capitalize on popular products, and refine your approach to affiliate marketing on Instagram.
Is Instagram Affiliate Marketing Worth It?
For a beginner, Instagram affiliate marketing can be worth it when approached with the right strategy and commitment. While it offers potential for a lucrative side hustle and passive income, success doesn’t happen overnight. Building a loyal and engaged audience takes time and effort.
However, with dedication to creating valuable content, authentic recommendations, and building trust with followers, it can lead to fruitful partnerships with brands and substantial affiliate commissions. The key is to focus on providing value, staying consistent, and adapting to Instagram’s evolving features. If you find it too challenging, you might explore other ways to make money online.