In less than 10 years, Instagram has moved from just a photo-sharing platform with friends and family to a full-fledged marketing hub.
Today, It’s where sales, engagement, and conversion happens.
With over 2 billion monthly active users, 4 times better engagement than Snapchat, Twitter, and even Facebook, and 80% of users relying on it to make buying decisions, there may not be a better place to run your affiliate business than Instagram.
There are many Instagram monetization strategies. Affiliate marketing is one of the best.
The platform offers many opportunities for content creators who want to actively promote brands and products and earn sustainable, recurring passive income.
But how does Instagram affiliate marketing work, and more importantly, how do you get started? That’s what this guide is all about.
- Instagram Affiliate Marketing: The Basics
- How Do You Become an Affiliate on Instagram?
- How to Use Instagram Affiliate Marketing Properly
- How to Track Your Instagram Affiliate Marketing Progress
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping Up
Instagram Affiliate Marketing: The Basics
Before it was stopped in August 2022, Instagram used to have a native affiliate program where creators could select from a pool of verified brands, pick products to promote and earn from the sales.
But stopping that doesn’t stop affiliate marketing from thriving on the platform. People are making more money than ever before. You, too, can.
So how does Instagram affiliate marketing work?
How Does Instagram Affiliate Marketing Work?
Like other affiliate models, Instagram affiliate marketing is an online business model of promoting other people’s products or services and earning from the sales.
As a content creator or influencer, you recommend a brand’s products and services to your Instagram audience and earn a commission from every click or purchase generated from your promotion.
There are four major players in the Instagram affiliate game, the seller, the affiliate networks, you- the creator (also referred to as the affiliate marketers), and the consumer.
Sometimes, there are 3 players, with affiliate networks excluded. That’s because some brands manage their own affiliates program.
Creators typically get unique, trackable links from the brands or affiliate network for each product or service they want to promote. These links are to track the exact customer actions, clicks, and sales.
Some affiliate programs are run on unique discount codes. A marketer or creator shares a trackable code that their audience can use to purchase products or services from a brand’s website and get a discount on their purchases.
Why Should You Consider Instagram Affiliate Marketing?
Instagram is the most engaging social media network at the moment. There are over 500 million daily active users worldwide.
Users spend an average of 30 minutes each day on the app. With these numbers, affiliate marketing can be successful on Instagram.
80% of Instagram users use the platform when making buying decisions, and 71% are likely to buy a product if it’s recommended by an influencer or creator they trust.
So if you can also grow your Instagram influence, there’s a market waiting for you to catch.
More than websites, people trust brands and businesses more on Instagram. Their presence on the platform is considered a sign of authenticity and credibility.
How Do You Become an Affiliate on Instagram?
Switch to a Creator Account
To start affiliate marketing on Instagram, you need a creator account specially designed for bloggers, content creators, influencers, etc.
Having a creator account gives you access to some native in-app tools that are essential for your affiliate business growth. You get access to advanced Instagram analytics and simplified direct messaging.
Instagram analytics gives you insight into how your content performs, the engagement rate, followers’ growth rate, and audience demographic.
With the simplified messaging feature, you can manage your inbox more efficiently by separating your DMs according to your audience.
The good part is that you don’t need a separate account to start enjoying these features. You can easily switch your existing Instagram account to a creator account.
Simply log in to your Instagram account. Go to your Profile, click the menu icon at the top right, and select Settings from the pop-up options.
Next, go to Account and tap to open it.
On the next screen, scroll down the page until you see the Switch account type.
Select Switch to a creator account and tap the switch button on the pop-up dialogue to confirm.
After that, choose a Category that best describes your affiliate niche. Input your contact information and save your settings.
It’s that simple. You’ve successfully switched to a creator account.
Grow Your Instagram Influence
While growing your instagram audience is a noble pursuit for your affiliate marketing business, remember that quality beats quantity anytime.
So instead of just adding impressive figures to your follower count, you must focus on building your influence.
You don’t need a million followers to turn your affiliate business into a reliable revenue stream. What you need is the right set of audience who are ever ready to dance to the music you play.
By that, you must become more than a content creator in your audience’s eyes. You must become an influencer, a trusted voice, and a dependable advisor. It’s only then you can influence their purchase decisions.
A study by Statista discovered that Instagram influencers with fewer than 10,000 followers make an average of $200 per sponsored post. That’s proof again that you don’t need hundreds of thousands of followers to start earning.
Building your influence on Instagram is not an overnight mission. You need to understand how the Instagram algorithm works. Posting at the right time and consistently is part of the game.
Let’s look at what you can do to grow your Instagram Influence;
Pick a Niche
Your number one priority as a content creator who’s eyeing Instagram monetization via affiliate marketing is to position yourself as a subject matter expert in a specific Instagram niche.
Talking about health today, fashion tomorrow, and diet the next will drag your growth. People are looking for reliable information on the topics that interest them.
They’ll not take you seriously if you pretend you know it all. No one does. Your audience knows that.
So pick a niche you are interested in and passionate about. Your priorities should be to become a trusted voice and the go-to source of information, news, and advice for people in your affiliate niche.
Share Quality Non-promotional Content Often
Once you pick a niche, the next thing is to start producing valuable content around its central theme. That’s the only and most effective way to build your influence and attract new relevant audiences quickly.
Your end goal might be to make affiliate sales. But you shouldn’t come across to your audience as a creator whose priority is the monetary exchange.
To build a strong community of loyal followers and remain credible with your audience, you must be ready to give more than you want to take.
To achieve this, you can follow the 80-20 rule, i.e., make 80% of your content value-adding and non-promotional.
Consistency is key. Posting once in a blue moon won’t get you anywhere. Your audience only needs a few taps to find another creator to quench their knowledge thirst.
Create a content calendar and schedule to let people know when to expect your content. Consistent publishing opens the door for better engagement and underlines your credibility in the eyes of your audience.
Not only that, the Instagram algorithm is designed to favor consistency. The more you post to schedule, the higher the chance your content appears in people’s feeds.
Post at The Right Time
Consistent Posting is one thing. Posting at the right time is a different ballgame entirely. There’s no point in pushing out new content if your followers won’t see it.
The best time to post on Instagram is when your followers are most active online. You don’t need to stress over this.
The Instagram Insights tool lets you find your followers’ peak activity time. This tool is available once you switch to a creator account. To find your followers’ most active time, use these steps;
Open the Instagram app and go to your Profile. Click the menu icon at the top right and tap Insights. Click on Total followers. The insight page will open.
There, you’ll see data about your followers’ online behavior. Scroll down until you see the most active times section.
On this page, you’ll find your followers’ most active times. Go through this data to find the peak. And that’s when to post on Instagram.
Choose the Right Affiliate Partners
The next step is to find brands in your niche that pay commissions on the sales of their products. There are 3 ways to go about this,
Join an Affiliate Program
All major merchants worldwide have an affiliate program you can join and find products to promote to your Instagram audience.
Some well-established affiliate programs include the eBay partner, Shopify affiliate, and Amazon Associates programs. Regardless of your niche, you can promote millions of products on these platforms.
Use Affiliate Networks
Another route to finding affiliate offers is to join affiliate networks. Most companies can’t manage affiliate programs themselves. So they partner with affiliate networks.
Affiliate networks simplify the process by putting everything together in a unified dashboard.
Even if you promote a hundred products, you can generate your unique affiliate links, track your sales and commissions, and receive your payout from that single dashboard.
Some of these platforms include ShareASale, Rakuten, Awin, and CJ Affiliate.
Partner with Brands
You can also get affiliate offers by pitching to work with brands in your niche. This should come easy if you have the perfect audience they want to reach.
Roughly 80% of brands work with affiliates. This may require some research, but It’s definitely worth it.
A quick tip you can use to find brands is to spy on other creators in your niche. What brands are they promoting? Dig well and approach the brands.
How to Use Instagram Affiliate Marketing Properly
Using affiliate marketing properly on Instagram is about putting your affiliate links where people will find them.
Unfortunately, you can’t place a link just anywhere on Instagram. Instagram doesn’t allow that. But there are a few workarounds. You only need to get creative.
Below we look at 5 places you can put affiliate links on Instagram.
Add Your Affiliate Link to Instagram Bio
When adding clickable links on Instagram, the first point that comes to mind is Link in Bio. This is okay if you are an exclusive affiliate for one brand. Meaning you always promote one brand or product.
Once you create your content, you only need to tell your audience to click the link in your bio. The problem, however, is that only a few affiliates can bag this exclusive offer. You want to promote as many products as possible to maximize your earnings.
You need other ways to add links. Else, you’ll have to update your bio link to the latest affiliate URL every time you publish a new post.
But what happens when people see an old post and click on the link? They land on a different page. This is inefficient and could also red-flag your audience and hit badly on your engagement rate.
Then what other options are available? Let’s see.
Add Affiliate Links to Link Stickers in Instagram Stories.
In the past, only creators with 10,000 followers could use this feature. But in late 2021, instagram made clickable sticker links in Stories available for all users.
When creating your Instagram story, simply add a sticker, and add your affiliate link.
Add Affiliate Links to Your Photo, Image Description, or Instagram Story
Once you shorten your link to a few memorable characters, it’s easy for your audience to type in their browser. Some might even make screenshots for use later.
Use Affiliate Promo Codes in Your Posts
Some affiliate programs use unique promo and coupon codes instead of affiliate links. When people visit the brand and purchase using your promo code, they’ll get a discount, and you’ll get your commission.
Add Multiple Links to Link-in-bio
How to Track Your Instagram Affiliate Marketing Progress
It is essential to track the progress of your affiliate marketing campaigns on Instagram. That way, you’ll identify areas for improvement and make amends to achieve better results. Below are 3 key metrics you should always measure;
- Measure the Number of Affiliate Links
- Measure the Number of Clicks
- Measure Total Sales
Measure the Number of Affiliate Links
This helps you understand how much effort you are putting into your campaigns for people to click on your links and make a purchase.
Measure the Number of Clicks
Tracking the number of clicks on your affiliate link helps you identify which content generates the most interest and clicks. You can use a link tracking tool to measure the number of clicks your affiliate links receive.
Measure Total Sales
Most affiliate networks and programs have a dashboard showing the total sales generated via your affiliate links. You need to keep track of this number for each product you promote and compare it to the number of clicks each link receives. That way, you can calculate your conversion rate and see which campaign drives the most results.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Followers Do I Need to Become an Affiliate on Instagram?
There is no set limit on the number of followers you need to become an affiliate on Instagram.
With brands now trusting micro-influencers for better engagement, you can run a thriving affiliate business with less than 2,000 followers.
However, having around 10,000 followers will make your income more sustainable.
How Do I Get Paid As an Instagram Affiliate?
It depends on the affiliate platform you are using. If you work directly with a brand, you can get paid directly into your bank account.
Besides that, most affiliate networks pay their partners via PayPal or Payoneer.
How Much Can I Earn From Instagram Affiliate Marketing?
The amount you earn as an affiliate marketer on Instagram depends on many factors, including your follower count, engagement rate, and commission rate.
While some affiliates make less than $100 per month, there are reports of content creators who make over $5,000 monthly.
Today’s internet is gradually dominated by visual content, with videos the most engaging content on all social platforms.
Instagram is designed precisely to help you showcase your product features and information with images and videos.
Using Instagram for affiliate marketing is free, and It’s easier to drive traffic and convert followers into buyers than the traditional affiliate model.
You don’t need to write a long blog post nor worry about ranking on page #1 of Google. Once you grow your audience and produce quality content consistently, you’ll be well on your way to affiliate sales.
We hope this guide answers your questions. If you have further questions about affiliate marketing, Instagram, or other topics, drop us a line in the comment below.