Your Complete Guide to Instagram Affiliate Marketing

Andre Oentoro

When it comes to affiliate marketing, Instagram could be one of the most valuable tools available to those looking to monetize their posts and content.

Since Instagram officially launched in 2010, the social platform has emerged as one of the most popular environments for online interaction. There are currently more than 1.21 billion active users on Instagram, and these individuals use the channel not just to connect with friends and relatives, but also to research new products, and search for purchasing inspiration.

Around 130 million people use Instagram shopping regularly, and many also leverage the platform as a way to learn more about the brands and companies they want to buy from.

As a result, certain marketing methods have become extremely popular on Instagram, such as influencer and affiliate advertising. Affiliates can earn a hefty income through their Instagram profile, by posting links, reviews, and posts related to partnership products.

The question is, how do you start earning cash with an affiliate marketing strategy?

How To Start Earning Through Instagram Affiliate Marketing

As the fourth-largest social media platform in the world, Instagram is an excellent place for affiliates to find potential buyers for a range of different products. Around 70% of shoppers rely on their Instagram newsfeed when searching for their next purchase, meaning affiliates with the right level of impact and influence can easily find new earning opportunities.

Similar to influencers, affiliates on Instagram make their money by partnering with brands. When you start a partnership with a company, they’ll provide you with a unique link to share with your followers. Every time someone uses this link to make a purchase, you’ll earn a commission.

Anyone can get started with affiliate marketing on Instagram, but it does take some work to ensure you’re optimizing your campaigns and generating the right results.

Here’s how you can get started.

1. Pick A Niche

One of the biggest mistakes affiliate marketers and influencers make on Instagram, is failing to choose a specific niche or “target audience.” While attempting to reach as many different groups as possible with your affiliate campaigns might seem like a good way to boost sales, it leads to the creation of a less trustworthy, and confusing profile.

Choosing a specific niche narrows your focus, and makes it easier to choose which brands you want to work with, and which products you should promote. For instance, you might decide to focus exclusively on pet owners with small dogs, or people interested in gluten-free baking.

If you don’t already have a specific niche, it might be worth looking at some of the most attractive hashtags and topics on Instagram. Health and fitness is one of the top niches, followed by Beauty, Fashion, and Lifestyle products. It’s also worth considering what you’re genuinely passionate about.

If you already have a knowledge of the industry you want to get involved with, you’ll be able to create more engaging content for your followers. Imjennim frequently posts content related to the travel and fashion industries:

2. Grow Your Instagram Followers

To make money with affiliate marketing, Instagram users need to build a vast community of engaged followers. The more people you have viewing your posts and interacting with your content, the more likely you are to end up influencing purchases.

There are a few ways you can start growing your follower base, but one of the easiest ways to rapidly find new, organic Instagram followers, is with a growth service.

These are tools which help you to target relevant accounts connected to your niche, and reach out to the people following those profiles with likes, comments, and other forms of engagement.

Engaging with existing Instagram users will help to drive them back to your profile, where they can see all of the amazing content you produce. You can also consider using things like Instagram ads to boost your reach when you have a particularly useful piece of content to share.

3. Start Making Quality Content

The most important thing you can have when you’re trying to monetize an Instagram affiliate strategy, is amazing content. Simply posting links to interesting products is unlikely to capture the attention of your audience. With this in mind, try to create content which delivers entertainment, information, and genuine value.

You could create IGTV videos which highlight the most popular features of a new product you’ve tested, or use Instagram Stories for impromptu reviews, unboxing videos, and showcases. You can also take pictures of you using the products you’re reviewing, to help your customers visualize their purchases, and understand exactly what they’re going to get.

New tools on Instagram like Reels are excellent for showing off products in fun and engaging ways, to reach a younger audience. Alternatively, you can use solutions like Instagram Guides to provide customers with reviews, comparisons, and how-to guides showcasing your partner products. Experiment with a range of different types of content to see what styles resonate with your audience best. You can use your Instagram Insights to track engagement.

Anna Everywhere posts affiliate content in the form of Reels, videos, newsfeed posts with in-depth captions to help inspire her followers:

4. Post Consistently

To generate constant engagement and inspire your audience to act, you need to be active on Instagram. This means regularly posting relevant content according to a specific schedule. While most affiliates will post something new on Instagram every day, the exact cadence you choose for your posts will depend on a number of factors.

The best time to post on Instagram can vary according to where your audience is located, and what kind of customers you’re trying to reach. Consider using your Instagram Insights and other social media analytics to get an idea of when your followers are most likely to be online.

If you’re struggling to stick to a regular schedule, you might find it helpful to create a content calendar, so you can plan what you’re going to post each day in advance. This can be particularly useful if you’re using a social media analytics tool to automate and monitor your posts.

5. Place Your Links On Instagram

As mentioned above, to master affiliate marketing, Instagram users need to be able to share their custom links with their audience, and gain clicks. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to figure out where you should place your links on your account. You only get an option for one link on your Instagram bio, which is why so many people prefer to use “Link in Bio” tools, so they can list multiple links in one location for their followers to access.

Fortunately, there are some other options for placing your links too, such as:

· Post captions: Customers will be able to copy/paste the links in the captions of your content. Although this isn’t as convenient as having a clickable link, it can be a good idea if you want to connect a link to a specific post for a certain product.

· Swipe-up links: You can add live links to your Instagram Stories if you have a certain number of followers. This is great for encouraging action from your customers when they’re viewing the products you’re promoting in your fast-paced content.

· Link stickers: The link sticker or button can be added to Instagram Stories by any user, regardless of their follower account, so it’s ideal for generating attention for promoted products and partnerships.

· Story highlights: Since Stories don’t last for long on Instagram, it’s helpful to create highlights so your customers can find links to your affiliate products for longer. These highlights will appear just underneath your Instagram bio.

You can also send links directly to customers who show interest in specific products through direct messaging, but this does require a lot more manual effort than some other linking methods.

6. Be Strategic In Hashtags

The more people you can reach with your Instagram content, the more likely you are to convince users to click on your affiliate links. With this in mind, it’s worth optimizing your posts with the right hashtags. Specifically, affiliate marketers on Instagram should be focused heavily on using niche hashtags, which specifically connect to their intended target audience.

For instance, if you promote products related to the organic beauty industry, you might use the hashtag #NaturalBeauty. You can also reach out to specific local groups using geo or location tags, and create branded hashtags if you’re mentioning a product from a specific brand.

Try using a combination of different hashtags in every post, including a handful of trending hashtags where relevant to make your pieces stand out. Using your Instagram Insights, you should be able to see which posts and tags generated the most clicks.

7. Track Affiliate Performance

Gathering insights from your posts and content is one of the best ways to make sure you’re optimizing each of your campaigns to get the best results. Most companies working with affiliates will have their own dashboards and technology you can use to track your sales and successful clicks.

At the same time, Instagram also has its own Affiliate marketing program, which provides direct access to useful insights. You can use the marketing reports from Instagram to get a deeper understanding of your audience’s preferences, and see what kind of products they’re tapping on.

The Affiliate program from Instagram is only accessible to a handful of creators, but it does come with a range of bonus features to explore, such as the option to “highlight” products in Instagram shops, and tag specific products in your posts. If you can’t sign up for the affiliate program, you may need to consider using a different social media tracking tool.

8. Be Transparent & Authentic

Finally, remember that while people on Instagram might like using the tool to find products and services, they don’t want to feel as though they’re being “tricked” into making a purchase. Genuine and authentic profiles are more likely to gain more followers. The key success for an affiliate marketer is to build a relationship of trust and credibility with your community.

Always let your customers know when you’re going to be receiving a payment in exchange for sharing a link, so they can decide themselves whether they want to support you. It’s also worth thinking carefully about which products you choose to promote. If you build a persona for yourself as a specific kind of content creator, the companies you partner with should share your values.

For instance, an affiliate marketer known for prioritizing organic and sustainable products could end up losing their followers if they start connecting with brands who don’t have a green policy. Always ask yourself if your posts match your values before you jump in.

Finishing Thoughts

When it comes to affiliate marketing, Instagram has a lot of potential to offer. It’s a fantastic platform for engaging with potential customers, generating sales, and even finding new businesses to partner with. However, like any affiliate marketing strategy, selling on Instagram requires careful planning and consideration.

Using the tips above, you’ll be able to set up your own affiliate marketing strategy in no time, and start generating bonus income from your product recommendations.

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Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).

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