Instagram offers a lot of opportunities. Its ability to connect you to millions of people globally gives you a powerful method of putting yourself out there and making good money through affiliate marketing on Instagram.
If you’ve researched affiliate marketing before, you might’ve been led to think that it’s primarily for blogs.
In that regard, you’d have to write several long-form articles and continuously optimize for SEO. It can be advantageous, but it just isn’t for everyone.
Besides, with the huge potential that your Instagram page has, it is an equally great idea to explore Instagram affiliate marketing.
So, in this guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about promoting affiliate links on Instagram.
We’ll touch on all the important stuff, from how to start affiliate marketing on Instagram to how to make money through using Instagram for affiliate marketing.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Before going into how to get started as an Instagram affiliate marketer and how to make money on Instagram through affiliate marketing, you must have basic information about affiliate marketing itself.
William J. Tobin is the man who initially conceived and patented affiliate marketing as we know and practice today. It began officially in the late 1980s.
However, the concept of revenue-sharing based on referrals had commenced even before the existence of the internet.
Affiliate marketing is a mutually beneficial arrangement between a business and a person or group of people (affiliate marketer(s)).
In that arrangement, the person/group of people will market the business’ products and/or services.
Whenever they, the affiliate marketer(s), sell the product or service to a customer, the business will reward them with a percentage of the sale they just made.
Disclosure: I’m an affiliate and this post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my link. Thank you.
My Ultimate Stepwise Guide to Affiliate Marketing on Instagram
Having walked through the basics of affiliate marketing, it’s time to learn how to go about this business model on Instagram.
I’ve broken everything you need to know into a few small and actionable steps. So, here’s how to get started as an affiliate marketer on Instagram.
Research and Choose a Niche
The first thing you need to do is to pick a niche you will be working with. A niche is a specific area of focus or industry that you’ll tailor your marketing efforts towards.
It could be video games, clothing, or even mobile phones, among many other options.
Some (amateur) affiliate marketers believe it might be a better idea to simply market whatever product comes their way, regardless of the niche or industry.
This might give the appearance of a diverse page to you. However, in reality, it will likely seem messy and disorganized to your audience/target market.
Your audience won’t know you for anything. Potential customers will leave, tired of scrolling through your feed looking for something they saw last week in an ocean of entirely new and unrelated products.
As an Instagram user, the chances are that you already have a niche or something that you enjoy posting about. But, your niche might not be as profitable as you think.
So, it might be a good idea to pivot to the next best thing. Here are three handy tips to help you in picking the best niche for affiliate marketing on Instagram:
- Pick something you’re familiar with: You cannot go about promoting products you have zero knowledge about. Instagram has a diverse user base that will sense something is amiss, and they’ll likely not buy from you. Now, you clearly won’t be familiar with every niche. But, if it seems promising and interesting to you, you should spend ample time researching it before delving into it.
- Choose a niche that’ll thrive on Instagram: Despite its monthly user base of about a billion people, certain markets aren’t doing great on Instagram. For example, in the middle of 2020, about 2/3 of all Instagram users were less than 35 years old. With that being the case, it might not be the best idea to pick a niche specifically for aged citizens. There simply aren’t enough of them to help your business thrive on Instagram.
- Pick a fairly diverse niche: You want something that’ll be profitable to you. So, even if you love the niche, ensure that it has many products under different categories. That way, you’ll always have products to promote to your audience, and your income-earning chances will be higher.
Some of the best niches to work with on Instagram include; weight loss, fashion, dating & relationships, make money online, DIY projects, numerology, e.t.c.
Pick Instagram Affiliate Programs to Work With for Your Chosen Niche
After deciding the niche you’d like to promote, the next thing to do is to pick affiliate programs to work with.
Your preferred affiliate programs will act as an intermediary between you and the company(ies) whose products or services you’ll be promoting.
There are several Instagram affiliate programs you can sign up for if you want to use Instagram for affiliate marketing. A few of them are:
Clickbank is a marketplace that offers digital and information products across several affiliate marketing niches.
This e-commerce platform connects affiliate marketers to upwards of six million digital content creators. It has more than four thousand products that you can promote to your audience as an affiliate marketer.
It’s worth knowing that this platform allows you to sell your own digital products. Becoming a product owner and seller on the platform requires a sign-up fee.
However, the same doesn’t apply if you simply want to be a digital marketer. All you need to do is go through a quick sign-up process and you don’t need to own a website or have any marketing experience to sign up.
Once you’ve completed your profile and integrated your payment method, you can start promoting affiliate products from Clickbank on Instagram.
Many of its digital products offer as much as 75% commission. But, it’s still up to you to confirm that you want to work with these product owners.
You can do a background check on the product owner’s website to confirm if they’re credible. Once you’re sure they check all the requirements, you can begin working with them.
Here’s a Clickbank affiliate marketing on Instagram guide that shows you how to choose credible and profitable affiliate products from Clickbank to promote on Instagram.
This is another large name among affiliate marketing networks. This platform has more than four thousand merchants across different niches.
This gives you a full range of options to choose from when you finally decide on the niche you’d like to specialize in.
Their merchants offer various commission rates. It’s entirely up to you to decide which ones work best for your business. One of their unique qualities is their purpose-built metrics.
These help you to select the most rewarding offers on their platform.
ShareASale pays its affiliates on the 20th of each month. They have various features and custom tools that ease your affiliate marketing struggles.
- Influencer activation: This is perfect if you’re using Instagram influencers for affiliate marketing. This feature helps you to track their activities/sales and stay on top of your metrics.
- Custom short links: This helps you to create short links that will take users to specific product pages.
- Compliant: With this, you can rest assured that you’re not running foul of any affiliate agreement terms.
- Product Discovery Bookmarklet: This helps you to generate links on the fly.
- Make-A-Page: This helps you to create pages for your products easily.
Their sign-up process is fast and can be completed in five simple steps. What’s even more exciting is that they have a fast and responsive customer support team.
This is an advantage because you can easily contact them when you run into any trouble using their platform to meet your affiliate marketing needs.
But ShareAsale requires you own a functional website before applying. Your application request will be turned down in the absence of this.
3. CJ Affiliate
This platform tilts significantly in the direction of blogs. However, it is still incredibly useful for you if you’re practicing affiliate marketing on Instagram.
CJ Affiliate has been around for upwards of 20 years. Now, it seamlessly connects up to four million affiliate marketers and advertisers each year for business purposes.
The platform has several innovative and useful features. One of them is cookieless tracking. It is a privacy-friendly feature that helps you to track your customers without necessarily putting cookies on their devices.
That is, you can see whether or not they’ve bought your product to get your commission. But, they don’t need to feel like they’re constantly getting watched. This could be a great marketing point for you.
Apart from that, it also has very useful analytics and insights. These help you to take a deep dive into your performance and see how well you’ve been doing with sales.
The platform goes as far as giving a full-program analysis to help you see where you’re doing great and where you could use some work.
Above all this, they have excellent customer support whenever you need to get a problem solved. This is besides their large archive of useful articles and FAQs to keep you in the know.
One of the easiest things to notice about this company is its huge collection of social proof.
Right on its website’s front page, you can see that it has gotten more than forty-three thousand reviews. It also has upwards of three million active users.
It functions quite similarly to Amazon Associates. You have to sign up with them first.
However, immediately you do, you will have access to several thousand products from their database. You can market these products to your audience after finding the ones with the best deals in your niche.
It is perfect for you if you have a lot of followers and engagement on your page.
Finally, Rakuten has intuitive insights and analytics tools that help you measure and effectively track your performances.
Shopify is a large company that can pay you up to $58 whenever you sell their products successfully.
Shopify specifically allows you to use social media like Instagram to promote your products. They update their banners and links often. This ensures that you constantly have a fresh stream of material/content to give your audience.
Finally, they have a statistics tracking system. As you can imagine, this helps you to measure your performance. With this, you can see where your performance is up to standard and improve on areas where you’re not up to par.
Amazon is one of the biggest e-commerce stores in the world. This puts its affiliate marketers at a great advantage as that fact alone leaves room for the promotion of hundreds of thousands of products.
Working with Amazon as an affiliate marketer requires only three simple steps. The first is that you’ll sign up with them.
This takes no time at all and is optimized such that you can complete the process yourself quite easily. If, however, you run into any troubles, you can always contact their customer support team.
The second step involves sharing millions of products with your audience on Instagram. It isn’t easy to run out of products to promote on Amazon, given its sheer size.
The third and final step is to start earning after your audience has bought with your link. Amazon offers up to 10% commission on every product sold.
Much like Amazon, eBay offers hundreds of thousands of products that you can promote to your audience. It has its fair share where numbers are concerned with 183m buyers across several markets. Many of its products are new.
One of its most useful features is the link generator. This helps you to create links to products on your terms.
You can then go ahead to share these links with customers. The platform also integrates well with the Bookmarklet tool that allows you to promote any eBay page.
Finally, eBay can generate deep insights into your performance as an affiliate marketer. This will help you acquire all the details you need to improve or strengthen your business.
Optimize Your IG Profile for Affiliate Marketing
When you’ve decided on the affiliate network you’ll work with, you need to optimize your Instagram profile. There are two major things you need to do in this regard.
1. Upgrade to a Business Account
The advantages of this action are numerous. But, one of the biggest is that you get deep insights into your Instagram users’ behavior.
With an Instagram business page, you can see who your users are regarding their age and gender. You can see where they’re coming from, and you can see what time they’re most active.
All these will help you determine the best times to upload your content and the best type of content to upload for maximum engagement.
2. Optimize Your Instagram Bio for Affiliate Marketing
To create a great Instagram bio for affiliate marketing, you want to ensure that your bio communicates the most important information.
Your username becomes part of your Instagram page URL, so it will be cool to choose a name related to your niche. This is useful for Instagram SEO and as well as branding.
In your bio description, mention what your page is about and make sure that it is explanatory and concise enough for visitors to get started on your page.
Beyond this, however, you need to optimize your bio for affiliate linking.
This is because although you can add affiliate links to Instagram stories and pictures, these links won’t be clickable. Except you have more than 10,000 followers, the only place you can add clickable affiliate links is the website section of your Instagram bio.
Alongside that, every Instagram account is limited to one link per bio.
Neither of these features works well for you in promoting several affiliate products if you are an Instagram affiliate marketing beginner.
Two such tools that I recommend for Instagram affiliate marketing are:
This tool helps you to create well-optimized micro-landing pages seamlessly. There, you can organize your affiliate links as well as links to other social media accounts.
Once the landing page is created and well-optimized, you can then link to it in your bio and update the links there any time.
Beyond helping you create landing pages, Shorby also helps with various Instagram marketing functions. One of the most useful to your business is that it links to your messengers.
This includes Facebook, Telegram, Viber, WhatsApp, etc. The advantage of this is that your potential customers can contact you very easily. Another function of Shorby is that it helps create short Instagram bio links.
Some affiliate links are long & unsightly and Instagram has a serious problem with long and suspicious links.
If you choose to use this type of link in your bio, you may wake up one morning to find out that your link is no longer working. Shorby can help you avoid such an ill fate.
Creating smart pages with Shorby is super easy, as the process basically involves you add your links in the appropriate spaces made available on the page template.
This is another tool that provides a valid solution to how to post affiliate links on Instagram. Much like its counterpart, it allows you to create a landing page that you can link to in your bio.
This landing page enables you to promote multiple affiliate links at once easily.
However, what’s even more exciting is that it helps you to build an email list in the process.
With this email list, you can market your products even better outside Instagram via email marketing and keep customers coming back every time.
Building an email list for affiliate marketing is super important. With this list, you can build a 7 figure automated affiliate marketing business outside Instagram.
Moreso, without a mailing list, your business will always be at the mercy of Instagram.
Grow Your IG Account for Affiliate Marketing
It is very difficult to practice affiliate marketing on Instagram with a poor following. You can either grow with paid ads or organically.
If you choose the former, remember always to drive traffic to your IG business page. If, however, you choose to go organic, here are four main strategies to help you:
1. Grow your Instagram Audience
The amount of following you have is important while trying to make affiliate sales on social media platforms like Instagram. This is because the higher the amount of audience you have, the higher your potential customers.
You can grow your audience manually by yourself or use the help of an Instagram growth service. There are a bunch of these services out there but most of them simply do not get the job done. Worse still, they can get your account suspended.
I’ve tried a bunch of them and Stellation Media is the only one I’ve found to do the job well and give awesome results. If you like to have a significant monthly increase in the number of your target audience, you can give them a try.
2. Build Audience Engagement
Building an audience is not enough to get you a good amount of affiliate sales, you need to engage with your audience in order to increase your conversions.
When your audience engages your content right after upload, it sends a message to Instagram’s algorithm that your content is useful enough to be seen.
This forces the algorithm to display it on other people’s screens. If you get enough, you might even make it to the explore page. More and more people will see it and then follow you.
Besides Instagram’s algorithm, when people engage your content by sharing with their friends, they’ll be directly encouraging others to follow you.
Stellation Media helps you bring an audience that is engaged to your niche. But to keep the momentum going, you need to create valuable content.
To do so, you can use tools like Canva. This helps you to create high-quality graphics that are Instagram-worthy.
Once created, you can then use a tool called ShortStack to organize contests and giveaways. This is an incredibly effective way to get more engagement because who doesn’t like free stuff?
3. Do Hashtag Research
Hashtags are important for helping you reach an audience that isn’t even following you. Luckily, Instagram gives you a lot of hashtag allowance per post. But, you still need to put in the work and do appropriate research.
One Instagram tool that will help in that regard is a free tool called All-Hashtag. It helps you to generate hashtags relating to your niche based on keywords you put in. You can also use it to see which hashtag is ranking at the top of your niche.
4. Be consistent
You would lose your audience very quickly if you are unable to maintain posting consistency.
So, ensure that you create a calendar for yourself and stick to it. Granted, this can be a bit overwhelming, especially since you’re no longer using Instagram for fun alone. But, in reality, there are several innovative tools you can use.
An example is PromoRepublic. This Instagram marketing tool helps you to create a content calendar and schedule the post to go live at the right time. It also helps you create drafts on the go. That way, you’ll never lose out on a great idea.
Four Don’ts of Affiliate Marketing on Instagram
- Do not spam your audience. In the best-case scenario, they’ll simply exit your page and stop working with you altogether. In the worst-case scenario, they’ll report you to Instagram and have your account suspended or blocked.
- Do not buy fake followers or likes.
- Do not be boring by posting only advertisements all day, every day.
- Do not post anything that can come back to haunt you.
How do I become an affiliate on Instagram?
You can become an affiliate on Instagram by choosing a niche you’d like to specialize in. Then, set up an account with an affiliate marketing network. Afterward, promote your products and constantly grow your audience for more sales.
How many Instagram followers do you need for affiliate marketing?
There is no lower or upper limit to the number of followers you need for affiliate marketing. You can literally promote affiliate products on Instagram with zero followers by using Instagram ads. But, if you are going through the organic route, the general rule of thumb is, the more followers you have, the better.
Can I do Amazon affiliate marketing on Instagram?
Yes, you can do Amazon affiliate marketing on Instagram. All you need to do is sign-up with Amazon, create links to products you’d like to market, and then promote them on your Instagram page.
Affiliate marketing on Instagram requires careful planning, despite the general fun nature of the platform.
However, it isn’t impossible to wrap your head around. In this piece, I’ve helped you to break down the entire process into bite-sized bits. All that’s left now is for you to get started!