So you’ve grown your audience, built a meaningful connection with them and have loads of inspirational ideas for them that you know they’ll love. It’s time to start monetising your influence by using affiliate links!
Using affiliate links is a great way to monetise your audience and the recommendations you provide them. It’s risk free, with the worst that can happen is not generating any sales and commission. It offers a huge amount of flexibility and product choice – no waiting around for that brand collaboration to finally come through, just get going yourself! Read more about the positives of affiliate marketing in our post 7 Perks of Affiliate Campaigns for Bloggers and Influencers.
It also lets you stay in control and be the boss. Work in your own way, create your own content however you want and have your own timeline and schedule. There’s no deadlines or creative direction being forced upon you for your work. You’re in charge and can put in as much or little effort to each campaign as you like.
The other key benefit of sharing affiliate links as an influencer is of course the authenticity. You’re not being directly paid to share something, which Instagram users are increasingly becoming numb to and perceiving as insincere. Sharing products with affiliate links protects your credibility as you’re more likely to be sharing a product recommendation that you actually personally endorse. You share it because you like it, not because a brand has paid you to do so.
Instagram is a great place to start (and grow) your affiliate journey. The platform provides a range of ways to share content and different tools to measure your success, allowing you to hone in on the most effective ways to boost your affiliate sales.
Whether you’re an experienced affiliate influencer or you’re here for the first time to find out where to start and implement your affiliate efforts, it’s great to get some guidance to help you get going. We’re going to take a look at 10 useful tips for affiliate marketing on Instagram, what they offer and how they’re important to your affiliate success.
For an in depth look at at the affiliate marketing world, check out our post Affiliate Marketing: The Ultimate Guide.
1. Choose Your Products Carefully
This one really goes without saying, but we see influencers falling into the same trap time and time again. It’s tempting to find a good quality product to promote with a high commission and just throw your affiliate link at your audience, but if it’s of no interest to them, they’re not going to buy it. Beyond that, it’s going to damage your reputation with your audience and decrease the value of your trustworthiness, opinions and recommendations.
Focus on why your audience follow you and what brings them back to your content. What do they respond to most? What do they engage with in a positive way? If you’re a lifestyle influencer, recommending clothes, travel and beauty products makes sense. However, promoting a software product might not be relevant.
Similarly if you’re a vegan content creator, recommending plant-based alternatives is great! Even promoting synergistic products such as reusable water bottles would also be a good fit and sit inline with your audience’s taste.
You’ve built a community around your own areas of expertise and interest; be sure to provide valuable recommendations to your followers.
Obviously, when it comes to affiliate marketing, sharing your unique link is the key to tracking your success and ensuring you get paid your commissions. With Instagram, you can’t share a link on an image post as the platform aims to keep users on their app as much as possible.
You can, however, share a link in your bio, which is great if at the time you’re mainly promoting one product of a single brand. You may have your own website or want to link to your YouTube or TikTok account in your bio of course, in which case using a service like Linktree is a great way to share multiple links in one place. You can list several promotional links as well as cross-promotion for yourself by linking to your other channels, all in one handy, easy to use and slick interface.
You can also share your links more directly. If some of your followers message you about your content and featured products, you can send them the link to buy along with any other information.
3. Create Your Own Content
Creating your own content is key. It’s the best way to build a more meaningful connection between yourself and your audience as well as the brand you’re collaborating with. Applying for gifting campaigns is great for this, as you can create content with the product and brand you want to promote, giving your audience a real-life taste of what they might want to buy.
By working your own style of images and content into your promotions, you’ll offer more authenticity to your followers. They’re much more likely to respond to your original content than images that are obviously from the brand.
Your followers come to you for inspiration, they’ll want to imagine products they might want through your own style.
4. Share Links Sparsely
Everyone hates spam. If you’re trying to sell products in every single post then you’ll lose the attention of your followers and essentially become a social media feed of adverts.
Genuine and personal content is likely what brought your audience to you in the first place, so make sure you continue to give them what they came for. Plan ahead your content and where you’ll fit promotions into the timeline to ensure your affiliate efforts can be effective.
It’s also worth working a rotation of different products into your promotion activities. For example, you could share some fashion items, then switch in some beauty items, then even some travel offers (pandemic permitting)!
5. Review Results
Understanding what works for you will help you narrow down which methods work best and what type of brands and products your audience has a demand for.
Affiliate marketing provides an incredible opportunity for you to review data and performance of campaigns. With your links, you’ll be able to see what’s generating the most traffic and clicks, and ultimately what’s leading to the most sales and commission.
On Instagram, using your account insights will also reveal what type of content is getting the best reach and driving the most engagements. An often overlooked metric to keep an eye on is the “saved” insights for a post, which often result in sales with your audience saving your post to revisit later.
Serious influencers use tools to schedule their shares at the best time to post on Instagram. And they use analytics to measure what is working so they can increase their conversion rates.
Another handy tool to measure your success is an 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 being featured before you post anything else.
6. Use Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts on Instagram can be a great tool to increase your followers, and engagements on specific posts. If you have a coupon code, or working on a collaboration this can be a good way to increase sales. Making it a great way to boost your affiliate campaign performance, while at the same time growing your own platform and influence.
You can target your audience to specific demographics including location, interests, behaviours and purchase intent which makes it easy to find the people you are looking for.
If you want to get more followers, or more clicks on a specific post, it is possible to run paid search to your Instagram page via Google Adwords. In order 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.
Investing in yourself can be a key to success but not everyone wants to spend money to advertise their own advertisements. Start off slow with small budgets and see how effective it can be, using results from small promotions to see what works and how to grow in an efficient way.
7. Create a Blog Post
To make the most of your followers and to increase the likelihood of someone going on to buy, a blog post can help bolster it – this works particularly well with beauty posts, or travel and lifestyle posts. You can include it in an Instagram story, or as part of the post advertising the product.
A blog is a great way to go in-depth with products, offering more information about them and why you’re recommending them. It’s also a good way to share multiple products in the post – perfect if you’re recommending an outfit or style or comparing several similar products together.
Creating a blog post gives you the platform and space to provide more thoughtful, lasting long-form content that has longevity, with your followers able to come back and find your posts on your site. Embedding products tiles and attaching affiliate links is a great way to make sure your audience can buy products you recommend if they find them appealing.
8. Use Stories
Stories are one of your most vital assets and tools as an influencer. It’s perfect for sharing quick content that doesn’t have to be permanent. It’s also great for insights, you can see which of your followers has seen it and get a clear idea of how well they perform with click-through rates.
Gain, you can create useful collections of stories and stick feature them on your profile. It’s a great way to separate out your recommendations into different product types and styles to offer relevant inspiration.
If you’re a verified Instagram influencer or have over 10,000 followers, then you’ll have unlocked the “swipe up” story featured where you can insert a link into your story posts. This is another great way to share an affiliate link, attaching it straight into your content.
9. Follow The Rules
As the industry has rapidly grown, regulations are constantly shifting to keep up, so it’s important to be aware of the legal requirements for sharing affiliate links at the time of posting them.
Stay out of legal difficulties by remembering to always meet the disclosure requirements in your region. Typically, this will just require a #ad added to your content and could include #gifted where product gifting has been offered too.
Fines can be very steep on both brands and influencers. So even if you are not likely to be prosecuted, do you really want to take that chance?
Also, bear in mind that you are responsible for the accuracy of what you post. If you exaggerate or fail to be truthful in your posts, you can end up in hot water.
Contests are popular, but make sure you know your country’s legal requirements. Many contests seen online today are borderline or outright illegal. That may catch up with them someday.
10. Video Content
No Instagram post would be complete without discussing the growing importance of video. It’s a super engaging form of content and offers the chance to add a personal and genuine touch to your product recommendations.
It’s easy to just share an image of a product, and in turn, it’s easy for your followers to just scroll past that. However if you share video content, they’ll be able to sense your enthusiastic endorsement of a product and thus be more likely to want it.
Internet users are spending ever-more time watching video and Instagram is all about mobile. Serious influencers and brands need to move into video if they haven’t already.
Use IG TV to tell brand stories, record behind-the-scenes videos, share tutorials, review products, interview interesting personalities and increase your connection with your followers. IG TV videos can be up to an hour long, providing you with the chance to take your time, go into the details and share a lasting message.
There is a competitive advantage to being an early adopter of new features. If you want to be more influential and grow your following, jump on board now.
When executed thoughtfully, Instagram can be a fantastic place for you to promote your affiliate campaigns. Hopefully these 10 tips are helpful for you to find success and boost your potential earnings!
To make sure your affiliate efforts are as successful as possible, be sure to avoid the common mistakes we often see. Read more about some of these in our post 10 Reasons Why Affiliate Campaigns Fail: The Common Mistakes.