Many people look to become an Instagram influencer and create brand partnerships in order to monetize Instagram, but did you know that’s not the only option?
You can use affiliate links on Instagram to make money on Instagram without having to deal directly with brand partnerships. There are many strategies to use affiliate links to generate passive income on Instagram.
You may be thinking: wait. Instagram doesn’t even allow you to use clickable links, so how could that work?
Well, you’re forgetting about one powerful tool: the link in your Instagram bio! Instagram only allows you to place one link in your Instagram bio, but don’t let that deter you from learning how to monetize Instagram with affiliate marketing.
In this article, we’re going to give you all the hacks to help you use affiliate links on Instagram and generate some income from your affiliate partner programs.
Let’s do it!
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing on Instagram
There’s no doubt that many people engage in affiliate marketing; while there are a lot of people involved in this field, Instagram affiliate marketing still has plenty of benefits. There are two main reasons why Instagram users might want to get started with affiliate marketing.
Instagram is no stranger to PR and marketing campaigns for all sorts of brands and businesses, so it’s not surprising that both small and large endeavors are involved in some type of affiliate program.
Instagrammers who are looking to earn some extra cash can promote affiliate products to their followers, generating interest and income from their efforts. When your follower or viewer makes a purchase using your affiliate link, the brand you’re promoting will benefit, and they’ll share a portion of that profit with you.
This marketing technique is excellent if you’re looking to make some money, but it can also benefit you if you’re an influencer. Influencers and brands look to Instagram affiliate marketing tools so that they can increase brand awareness as well as engagement on their platform.
You don’t have to be an influencer to partake in affiliate links on Instagram, but if you are an influencer, you may not want to ignore this additional source of income and engagement booster.
When you promote an affiliate product or service on Instagram, you can tag the brand and mention them in your post. Through this engagement, the brand will get more incoming traffic, thus increasing more brand awareness and leading to more partnerships for you as well.
You’ll not only be strengthening your relationship with your brand partner, but you’ll also be gaining some income from the affiliate link and any related purchases.
Networking and New Relationships
Another benefit, as you may be able to infer from above, is that using affiliate links on Instagram will help you to build and strengthen connections on the platform. You can enjoy the opportunity of monetizing your Instagram while building lasting and mutually beneficial partnerships.
When you use affiliate links on Instagram, you fortify your relationships with not only the brands, but your followers as well. They both will begin to trust you more and look to you when they need a recommendation.
That, in turn, will generate more opportunities for future marketing partnerships and sales. When you have a strong relationship with your Instagram followers, you’ll have a higher likelihood of making sales as well as being considered for brand campaigns and business collabs.
What are Affiliate Links on Instagram
If you’re new to affiliate links on Instagram, let’s take a brief moment to examine how it works. You will have created an affiliate relationship with a brand or business and you’ll have a unique link that you’ll share with people so that they can purchase the product or service.
On Instagram, you’ll put this link into your Instagram bio and your followers will then have a funnel to check out the product(s) and/or service(s) and make a purchase.
This link is your gateway to monetizing Instagram and your main goal with affiliate links on Instagram is to get your followers to click on that link.
The first step in getting off the ground with Instagram affiliate marketing is to optimize your Instagram bio as well as the link in your Instagram bio. Your bio has to be clear, creative, and concise enough to entice users to click on the link.
You only have 150 characters to use in your bio, so you have to be particularly crafty in creating something worthwhile; sharing something about yourself, relevant keywords, and hashtags are all good elements.
The affiliate link that you place in your Instagram bio will then be the gateway between your follower and the product or service that you’re promoting; that’s how you make your commission.
Affiliate links on Instagram exist with the purpose of driving user traffic to the associated product with the expectation of converting the visitor into a client. Affiliate marketers want you to place the link in your bio, because it benefits them to get the exposure from your platform.
How Affiliate Links on Instagram Work
Each affiliate program is different, but the main goal of Instagram affiliate marketing is to gage the success of each affiliate partner through these unique links.
All affiliate programs follow this basic process: you’ll sign up to become an affiliate of a product or service, post your unique link, and when someone signs up or purchases through your link, you’ll get a share of the profit.
The payouts may be different, so take a look at how often you’ll get your commission payments (more on that later).
Affiliate links on Instagram provide marketers the ability to track transactions so that you can receive your payout based on how many sales you helped generate for the business.
How do they determine who sold what?
Each affiliate link is unique because it contains your affiliate ID, differentiating it from other affiliate partners or the general website. The structure of the link is the same, including the vendor’s URL and the affiliate partner’s unique affiliate ID.
Be sure you always use your affiliate link and not the general purchase link to the vendor’s website. If you don’t use your affiliate link, your sales won’t be tracked and even if users purchased after clicking the link you provided, you won’t get any of the profit.
How to Use Affiliate links on Instagram Properly
Affiliate marketing follows the same basic premise no matter who you work with, but not all affiliate marketing is created equal— there are certainly some best practices in determining which brands to affiliate with and how to best use affiliate links on Instagram to drive conversion.
The first main thing to keep in mind is that you need to have a solid follower base if you want to guarantee that you’ll get sales from your affiliate links on Instagram. Your relationship with your followers should be strong and your engagement rate thriving so that you can be sure they’ll interact with your affiliate link.
Thus, you should turn your energy first into building up your Instagram follower base so that you can start your affiliate marketing on Instagram with confidence and results. Of course, you can start without a follower base, but it’s not likely that you’ll see a lot of movement.
If you are struggling to increase your Instagram followers or don’t have time to engage with a lot of new users, consider using an Instagram growth service like Growthoid.
Your Growthoid account manager will use your specific targeting instructions to interact with accounts that are likely to be interested in your content; they’ll check out your profile and start following you, giving you more followers for your affiliate links on Instagram.
You can use that saved time to focus on content creation and captioning.
Growing your followers is job one, but you should also ensure that your Instagram posts and profile utilize relevant hashtags so that they can be seen by more users on Instagram. When you use targeted hashtags, you will be able to appear in the right hashtag feeds and get attention from new users who haven’t checked you out before.
Hashtags are an essential tool in bringing people to your affiliate links on Instagram through extended content reach.
Getting Started with an Affiliate Program
The first step in getting started with IG affiliate marketing is to find an affiliate program that you feel comfortable with and confident in. Sales aren’t guaranteed with affiliate links on Instagram, but if you choose the right programs and partners, you can definitely make some serious cash.
There are typically two different approaches to most affiliate marketing programs: a company creates an affiliate program for others to join, or you sign up for another company’s already-created affiliate program.
If you have a company, you may want to consider starting an affiliate program, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll assume that you want to sign up for another company’s affiliate program.
There are 5 factors that you should consider when you are looking to get involved with an affiliate marketing program and we will discuss them below.
What is the Affiliate Product/Service?
One of the most important keys to affiliate marketing is remaining authentic and transparent with your followers. If you don’t have these two qualities, it’s unlikely that your followers will buy into your affiliate marketing program, not trusting you or caring enough to see what you’re recommending.
That said, the best types of affiliate marketing programs are the ones that you already use and like, or that you’re passionate about. If you can create an honest review about something you already know and love, why not make some money off of it?
You don’t want to come off too salesy and pushy, so choosing products that you actually believe in is a great starting point to ensure that you are able to monetize your Instagram and actually help your followers buy cool stuff in the proces.
Does this Product/Service Align with My Brand?
After you’ve identified some products or services that you are confident about recommending, think about the nature of that product/service. Does it contribute something positive to your personal brand and does it fit in with your general image?
If you promote a product that goes against your ethics or image is something that ultimately hurts your brand’s reputation and the level of trust that you have between you and your followers.
It could even lose you followers if it’s serious enough!
Good affiliate partners and Instagram influencers are diligent in ensuring that each affiliate partnership they make aligns with their brand’s vision. The more connected the program is to your niche or style, the better it will flow within your content strategy and the more likely your followers are to go with it.
What’s more, if a product seems out of place or doesn’t align with your brand, it will come off as salesy and disingenuous, also giving your credibility a hit.
Does the Company Have a Good Reputation?
In line with making sure the affiliate marketing program fits with your brand, you also have to decide whether or not the company you’re recommending has a good reputation.
If the product or service is good that’s one thing, but if the company behind it has a shady or problematic history, it can affect how people view your brand as well, damaging your reputation in the end.
Don’t subject yourself to this— make sure you know what the company is all about and that they don’t have any skeletons in their closet before moving forward with the affiliate links on Instagram.
How Does the Commission Work?
Affiliate marketing is all based on partial commissions; any affiliate partners that work with a company will get a portion, or commission, based on the sales they generate. All programs are a bit different, so make sure you have a full understanding of how you’re going to be compensated.
There are usually a few methods to affiliate marketing, including unique discount codes, unique affiliate links, and others. While the methods are typically the same across affiliate programs, the compensation is not.
Both the method of payment and rate of commission that each affiliate partner earns varies by program. The typical affiliate marketing commission rates range from 5%-30%.
That’s a pretty large range, so it’s also important that you evaluate the commission before signing up for the program; is it worth your time and effort? Consider how viable it is for you to sell the product.
If you can sell many units at 5% commission, that’s great. If you can only sell a few, make sure the commission is higher, otherwise it might not bring in much profit for the effort you’re investing.
How is the Commission Paid?
In addition to understanding how much money you’ll be making, you should also know how and when that payment will happen. That can also help you decide which affiliate marketing program best suits your needs and wants.
Roughly 41% of affiliate partners experience payment issues with their companies, so you want to ensure that this isn’t something that will happen to you. If you’re worried, talk to someone who’s worked with that company before.
If an influencer or an Instagram user has had a negative experience with an affiliate company, it’s likely they’ve shared something about it on Instagram or will be happy to tell you about it so that you can avoid them.
Check to make sure the affiliate program provides payment using a safe and secure payment method like PayPal, FirstChoice, Bitcoin, Western Union, Zelle, Venmo, Paxum, Payza, ePayments, WebMoney, Neteller, Skrill, and others.
As you review the different affiliate marketing programs available to you, be sure to look for one that uses a payment method that you’re comfortable with. Don’t forget to review how frequently they pay you as well.
The most common payment cycle is monthly, but some affiliate programs may pay quarterly, and some won’t pay out at all until you reach a certain dollar amount in commission.
Once you’ve evaluated all of these technical aspects and chosen the one(s) that work best for you, it’s time to get working on promoting.
How to Use Instagram for Affiliate Marketing
Instagram boasts over 1 billion monthly active users, making it one of the top ways to reach as many people as you can in your target audience. This is especially true if you’ve established your Instagram presence and have a healthy following.
You can use the following methods to get your followers’ attention and direct them to your affiliate links on Instagram.
Post to Your Feed
Although you don’t have to be an Instagram influencer to use affiliate marketing on Instagram, it’s frequently used by them. Even stil, 60% of users learn about new products via Instagram and a third have purchased by way of the platform.
Don’t be discouraged by how many people are using affiliate links— you only need to focus on yourself and funnel traffic to your link!
One of the best ways to do so is to post Instagram content related to the product, ideally a picture or video of you or someone else using the product/service. Instagram content that includes a person gets more engagement, so for best results, don’t simply post a photo of the product alone.
Since your followers trust you, they’ll probably want to check out the product/service and see what it’s all about. You can also share your Instagram posts to other social networks and include your affiliate link to generate even more traffic.
Don’t forget to direct followers to your link in bio, since any links posted as a part of Instagram captions won’t be clickable. More info on captioning in the next section.
Use Descriptive Captions
You will need to create an effective caption when you create an Instagram feed post; that means you should describe the product/service, engage your audience, and use a CTA to prompt your followers to do something.
Good Instagram captions should be relatable, authentic, informational, and get your followers to your affiliate links. Sharing a personal story, entertaining your followers, or getting down to the facts are all great ways to create captions.
Remind your followers to check out your link in bio and also give them a CTA like tag a friend, share, etc. The important thing here is to be conversational and not salesly.
Promote Via Instagram Stories
Instagram stories is one of the most popular features on Instagram, so definitely use it to promote your products/services. Because stories are only available for 24 hours, they can be a great, intimate way to give your followers a closer look at the product/service.
Use polls, GIFs, and other engaging media to catch your followers’ attention in your IG story. Also, instruct them to either visit the link in your bio or DM you if they want more information. You can use different strategies each time.
You can tag the brand in your Instagram stories and also create a variety of connected stories that showcase the product/service. Check out @wokeuplikedez for some inspiration. If you can, also include your affiliate link in your Instagram story.
If your profile is set to business or creator and you have 10k+ followers, you’ll unlock the swipe up feature, allowing you to add a link to your Instagram story.
If you don’t have the feature, you can still use the link in your story to generate interest, but it won’t be clickable.
Instagram videos are only able to be posted if they are 1 minute or less; using IGTV allows you to record up to 15 minutes of video and post it. Giving your followers a deeper understanding or BTS look at the product will make them more likely to purchase it.
IGTV is especially popular for tutorials or Q&A sessions. You can take questions that you’ve collected from followers, created yourself, or even do an interview with an expert or rep from the affiliate company.
Talking about the product with someone from the affiliate company is a great way to boost your credibility and also help your followers understand what exactly they’re buying and who from.
Use IGTV to give a detailed look at the product or service, something you wouldn’t be able to do in a video post or on IG stories. When your followers believe in the products/services you promote, they’re more open to trying them out.
Instagram Live is also a viable option for doing product tutorials and Q&A sessions because you can engage with your audience right there and they can see the product or service happening in real time. You can also do story takeovers to give insight into other people who are using or loving the product/service you’re promoting.
Affiliate links on Instagram aren’t isolated; there are probably many other competing products out there that you may have to combat. When you do a product comparison, you can generate interest in your product/service and tell your followers why it’s superior to others out there.
In a comparison post, make sure you:
- List the reasons why you use the brand/product/service you’re marketing
- Why your followers should take your advice
- Easy-to-follow instructions
- Key features and comparison points
- Clear winner
- Final takeaways
This will probably take you more than a minute, so you should look to do this either via IGTV, Instagram Live, or Instagram stories.
You want to vary the type of content you create to promote your products/services, so implementing reviews, guides, comparisons, and all IG features is a best practice. When you create a review, you should always remember to give your honest opinion and keep things conversational.
Imagine that you were talking to a family member, or a good friend. Don’t be too salesy or spammy, and really provide value to your followers. This is a surefire way to get them intrigued and increase the chances of them visiting your affiliate links on Instagram.
If a holiday is coming up or you want to promote gifts for graduation, birthdays, etc., you can create a gift guide with your favorite products, including the products you’re an affiliate for. If you’re an affiliate for multiple products/services, you may be able to include all of them.
Christmas isn’t the only holiday— Mother’s/Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and others are all great opportunities to promote gifts or special occasion uses.
Setting up Affiliate Links on Instagram
So, we know all there is to know about selecting and promoting our affiliate programs. How do we get those affiliate links on Instagram?
As we’ve mentioned, you can’t put clickable links in your posts; your link will show up, but no one will be able to click directly on it. They’d have to type it into their browser.
That’s kind of a hassle, so the main thing you’re going to rely on is the one allotted link in your Instagram bio (and also IG story swipe up feature if that’s available to you).
You can technically only post one link in your Instagram bio, but don’t worry— there’s an easy solution for that.
If you’re only going to focus on one affiliate product at a time, you may be able to get away with just using one link in your Instagram bio without issue. You can simply keep your link there all the time. If you post about a new product, you can just switch it out.
The same goes for promoting products for different companies; you can promote the products in blocks and then switch out the link when you move to the next product/service. This isn’t a terrible option, but it can cause problems later down the road.
Let’s say that you promoted a product last week and are promoting a new one this week. One of your followers comes across an old promotional post of yours and is interested; they visit your bio, click the link, and the product’s not there!?
Confusing and inconsistent. In order to avoid mix ups like these, there’s a better option, and that’s an Instagram Link-in-Bio tool.
Instagram Link-in-Bio Tools
With so many people working on so many different projects and social networks, having only one link in an Instagram bio simply wasn’t cutting it. If you want to place multiple affiliate links on Instagram, just use a link-in-bio directory tool.
These tools basically create one single link that will take users to a directory, where they can then click on the link that they’re looking for. This allows you to link to multiple external websites, affiliate links, other social networks, and more.
The most popular Instagram link-in-bio tools are Linkin.bio and Linktr.ee, although there are others. They’re really easy to set up and once you finish adding all of your relevant links, you can take the one directory link and place it in your Instagram bio. Awesome.
Make sure you clearly label what each directory option is, though, so that when your followers click your link they won’t be confused about where each link will take them. You want them to easily be able to find what they’re looking for.
Wrap-Up: Affiliate Marketing on Instagram
Affiliate links on Instagram are definitely worth your while, especially when you find the right programs. Successful affiliate marketing is all about promoting your products/services through Instagram posts, captions, and stories, as well as having your link in working order and accessible in your bio.
It’s also important that you continue to build your Instagram follower count and fortify your relationship through authentic content and real, truthful reviews. Choosing affiliate programs that align with your brand image is the best way to do that.
Follow the tips in this article to make your Instagram affiliate marketing goals a reality!
What are your favorite affiliate programs? Have you tried Instagram affiliate marketing? Let us know in the comments!