4 Instagram Affiliate Marketing Strategies

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Instagram (IG) is many things. It has over 800 million users, and Instagrammers have deep pockets. For example, among adult users, 31 percent make over $75,000 annually. IG users “like” over 4.2 billion and share 95 million posts per day. Zuckerberg and company got the IG acquisition right along with WhatsApp (the jury is still out on Oculus VR). IG is moving in the right direction and stomping on their competitors like Snap. Storylines like this make affiliate marketers drool except for one problem, IG is link-unfriendly.

To succeed in affiliate marketing, a publisher needs to deploy thousands of links in multiple places to increase the number of clicks and conversions. On IG, the only place to put a hyperlink is in one’s bio. Links anywhere else are not clickable, for example, links in posts. Many affiliates include links in the hopes that people will copy and paste them into their browsers, but that’s a terrible strategy. So, what is an affiliate marketer to do?

Instagram_altFirst, you must recognize that there are much better social media networks than Instagram for affiliate marketing, for example, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Therefore, you might abandon IG altogether. Secondly, if you want to play on IG, you must accept its limitations and focus on what is available (the bio section). Four strategies accompany the all-important bio link.

Instagram Affiliate Marketing Strategies
  1. Link to an affiliate product or service
  2. Link to a website or blog
  3. Link to a landing page
  4. Link to a page containing multiple links to direct traffic
  • Link to an affiliate product or service

I promote many products and services, so I wouldn’t want to use my link to market only one. On the other hand, you might be focused and very passionate about promoting one item. You could add your affiliate link—shortened, cloaked or branded—to your profile or create an account specifically for that item. For instance, you’re passionate about writing and want to promote Grammarly, a free grammar checker, and vocabulary enhancement app. You create an account called @awesomewriter and posts writing tips and motivational quotes. Your bio reads, “Improve your writing with this free software app. Click below to learn more. #Ad.”

  • Link to a website or blog

A practical way to generate affiliate commissions through IG is to add a link to your website or blog. Many affiliate marketers use IG as a traffic source. As traffic flows to your site, visitors will discover your content and stumble upon affiliate links. You might even create a unique URL and welcome page for your IG traffic. For example, chadtennant.com/instagram. Your welcome page could acknowledge your presence on IG and provide a brief intro about you and your offerings. For example,

Thanks for visiting my IG profile. I’m an online marketer, author, and advisor. Check out my content for marketing, self-publishing, money, WordPress, and working online tips.

Cheers,

Chad, Instagram Fanatic

  • Link to a landing page

Many affiliate marketers direct traffic to a landing page, i.e., a one-page website for e-commerce, event/webinar registration, and list building. I discuss landing page builders in this post. I use a landing page to grow my email list. I offer a list of top and profitable WordPress affiliate programs. When someone subscribes, he or she enters my marketing funnel. A marketing funnel is a process of turning leads into buyers, customers, and clients as illustrated below. Search for “marketing funnel” to explore variations.

Many marketers use automated email and drip sequences to introduce affiliate products and services to their subscribers. I use an auto-response sequence through MailerLite, a top-rated email marketing service and a fantastic alternative to MailChimp. You could send new subscribers three to five automated emails over a period of months and add affiliate links where applicable.

  • Link to a page containing multiple links to direct traffic

A landing page is often used to collect email addresses and sell products, but you could create a landing page containing numerous links to direct your IG traffic. Alternatively, you can use IG-centric apps that provide templates to feature various links, for example, LinkTree and Lnk.Bio. Their goals are to solve the one-link Insta dilemma. LinkTree states, “You only get one chance to link in Instagram. Make it do more.” Lnk.Bio reads, “Multiple links for your Instagram bio, the new way to improve your Instagram experience.” Both tools are easy to set up. You just connect your IG account, pick a template, add links, and you’re ready. LinkTree has a free and pro plan. Lnk.Bio has four plans including free, monthly, and lifetime. Both platforms provide basic analytics.

LinkTree Chad Tennant

Other Considerations

URL Shorteners

The link that you add to your bio should convey trust and safety. If it doesn’t, you’ll decrease your click-through rate (CTR). For example, chadtennant.com conveys trust because it’s ordinary and matches my Insta profile address. Alternatively, using bit.ly/sf3h2 could look suspicious.

Many Instagrammers use shortened link services such as Hootsuite (Ow.ly) and Bitly (Bit.ly). While shortened links are practical to use in posts and on other networks, I don’t recommend using one in your bio unless it’s consistent with everything else. Also, it helps if the link is customized or branded. For instance, an account about women’s shoes uses bit.ly/sixinchheels, which would be acceptable.

hootsuite-custom-banner

Followers, Views, and Clicks

Like any social media platform, increasing followers, views, engagement, and CTRs are a function of user activity. Posting at least once daily should be your goal. Using hashtags makes your content more discoverable. You should add ten to twenty hashtags to every post without appearing spammy. I have my hashtags ready to copy and paste in a memo on my phone. Check out your competition to understand what hashtags they use and discover the most popular hashtags with a tool like RiteTag. You might also like to read Hootsuite’s The Do’s and Don’ts of How to Use Hashtags and The Complete Instagram Hashtag Guide. Lastly, you might want to buy followers or use marketing automation and bots to attract people to your profile. For differing opinions on these topics, search for “buying IG followers, “IG bots,” and “IG automation.”

Results and Analytics

Earnings are what matter to most affiliates. Our commissions indicate how we are performing, which is why affiliate marketing is also called performance and commissioned-based marketing. You might want to monitor traffic to your website in which case Google Analytics will do the trick. To learn more about your audience, measure reach, and track engagement, check out Instagram Insights (for business profiles), Hootsuite Analytics, and Iconosquare.

 

About this Post

I use affiliate links on my website, but my opinion isn’t for sale. I may earn a commission if you click on an affiliate link, but it won’t cost you extra. I only recommend what I use, have used, or have vetted in the best interest of my readers.

 
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