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A Guide to Affiliate Links on Instagram

Using affiliate links is a great way to monetize your Instagram account. If you’re curious about affiliate links but aren’t familiar with them, you’ve come to the right place.

What Are Affiliate Links?

Before we can get into affiliate links, first we need to talk about the affiliate program. An affiliate program is hosted by a company that wants to use marketers who are not employed by the company to promote their product or service. These marketers, and their social media accounts, are often related to the product or niche in some way. For example, a health blogger might sign up for an affiliate program promoting vitamins. Once someone is enrolled on an affiliate program, they’ll use affiliate links to promote the product or service. These links ensure the marketer earns a commission on each sale. Every time someone clicks the affiliate link or purchases the product or service through that link, the marketer earns a percentage of the money from the sale. Here’s an example of an affiliate link post on Instagram (@mrswhite8907): There are different types of affiliate programs for different companies. Not all of them are designed to sell a product, either. Some programs pay per click. Others pay per lead, and many pay per sale. It all depends on what the company is trying to achieve – generating more site traffic or selling more products.

How to Use Affiliate Links

Affiliate marketing is an art, and perfecting it will take some time. Here are some steps you should take to ensure your affiliate marketing reaches the most people, and earns you the most money.

Build your following

You don’t have to have a huge following on Instagram, but you know how the saying goes – the more, the merrier. Work on getting as many Instagram followers as you can before you start affiliate marketing. But don’t worry if you haven’t met your goal by the time you sign up for the affiliate program. Building your following will take some time.

Use hashtags related to the product niche

On Instagram, hashtags are your best friend. They’ll put your post in front of thousands more people. That will earn you more followers, and, hopefully, more sales. Make sure you add relevant hashtags to all posts promoting the product or service. Going back to our health food blogger example, she might add hashtags like #healthyliving and #cleaneating to her affiliate posts.

Sign up for an affiliate program

We can’t recommend any specific affiliate programs to you – you’ll need to do your research. Find an affiliate program that pays the rates you want, and is related to the theme of your Instagram account in some way. For instance, if you’re a personal trainer, you may choose an affiliate program promoting your favorite sports drink or equipment.

Add the affiliate link to your bio

Your Instagram bio is the only place you can add a link, unless you’ve got an Instagram for business account. (We’ll cover that later.) If you don’t add the link to your bio, you won’t get commission from sales.

Promote your affiliate product in your posts

Ideally, you should take photos of yourself holding the product. You may also want to create posts that show the effect of the product. If you’re an affiliate marketer for makeup, you might post a before and after photo of what you look like before and after you put on the makeup. There are a ton of ways to do this – how you choose to market the product or service is completely up to you.

Point your followers back to that link in your Instagram posts

When you market the product in your individual Instagram posts, don’t forget to direct your followers back to the link in your bio. If you forget to do this, chances are your followers aren’t going to go to the link in your bio, so be sure to prompt them. Here’s a good example from @luckytobeinfirst:

Use your affiliate links on other accounts

You can add your affiliate links to posts on other social networks, not just Instagram. Cross-promoting the affiliate link in this way will ensure you get more exposure, and hopefully more commission.

Do’s and Don’ts for Affiliate Marketers

There’s a right and a wrong way to go about affiliate marketing. Do…
  • Show how the product or service has impacted your own life. To convince people to buy the product or service, you need to prove that it’s worth buying. That’s where your own experience comes in. If you’re promoting a weight loss product, show before and after photos of your own progress. The key is to be genuine.
 Here’s an example from AllThingsVlog:
  • Choose something you believe in. If you’ve never used the product or service you’re promoting, then why on earth would you promote it? Choose an affiliate program that promotes a product you’ve used before, or you believe in.
  • Create sponsored posts. Sponsored posts, exclusively available for Instagram for Business accounts, allow you to add a clickable link to your posts. Sponsored posts are also promoted across Instagram, which will enhance your post reach and gain you some new followers in the process.
  • Keep your day job. Don’t abandon your current career for your affiliate program until you’ve established yourself as an affiliate marketer. Some people do make serious cash through affiliate marketing – and some have even turned it into a career. However, chances are you won’t make the big bucks when you’re just starting out.
  • Hard-sell. Your followers shouldn’t feel pressured into purchasing a product. If you pressure your followers, you won’t earn very much. Research effective affiliate marketing techniques, and be sure to incorporate them into your own affiliate marketing strategy.
  • Promote the product or service in every single post. Your followers will feel overwhelmed and pressured if you try to sell them something every time you post. Be sure to continue with your normal posting, and show your followers that you’re not just an advertiser – you’re a real person.
Affiliate marketing is a great opportunity for anyone looking to make a little extra cash on the side and promote a good product or service. Although it will take some time to build a good following on Instagram and develop a solid marketing strategy, the payout is certainly worth it.