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Best Instagram affiliate marketing strategies in 2020

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If you want to promote links on Instagram, it is important to understand which Instagram affiliate marketing strategies are efficient. In this blog post, you’ll learn how and where to place affiliate links, what types of ads to use and how to increase your audience’s engagement with a few simple techniques.

Benefits of promoting on Instagram

With 1 billion active monthly users, Instagram offers incredible prospects for advertisers to reach out to a wide audience. It is the main platform for influencers, who can help you introduce your product to their audience. Here are some more numbers:

  • 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day
  • Instagram users will spend an average of 28 minutes per day on the platform
  • 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile a day
  • Potential advertising outreach is 849.3M users
  • ⅓ of the most-viewed Stories are from businesses
  • 75.3% of U.S. businesses will use Instagram in 2020
  • Brands post an average of 2.5 Stories per week

Not only does Instagram attract a large audience, but it also features a high engagement level of users. People leave 4.2B likes per day there comparatively with Facebook’s 96M likes (4M likes per minute according to @WeRSM).

Will Instagram affiliate advertising be as efficient as with other platforms? Truth be told, it is rather difficult to place links on Instagram, and the old techniques might not work. On the flip side, with the special methods that we provide in this blog post, you’ll be able to bring real value and convert viewers into customers.

How to choose a brand to partner with

The main thing to do is find advertisers. Here are some suggestions that can help you choose the right product to promote.

Bring value to the community

When choosing an Instagram affiliate program, think of how valuable and credible their product is. Look through the reviews to understand the advertiser’s reputation and assess their usefulness for the target audience. It’s rational to opt for long-established vendors with a good reputation and high traffic. You don’t need to lose followers due to useless promotions.

For example, if you are sharing posts about traveling, choose the travel affiliate program, and if your Instagram account is about kids, join the kid-related programs and so on.

Build a solid following

To make money on Instagram, you’ll need to work with your audience. First, you’ll need to increase the number of dedicated followers by delivering valuable content, consistent posting, using relevant hashtags and filters, running giveaways, etc. A good range to start with is between 5,000 and 15,000 fans.

If you consider the number of likes, a good rating for one image would be 100 likes. However, the number itself is not a guarantee of future success, because you’ll need an engaged community and not just bots.

Find relevance

People follow influencers in order to learn something interesting and useful from them. To keep building a following and not lose the current fans, select Instagram affiliate programs that are relevant to your audience’s interests. For example, if you mostly post about backpacking, a good start might be to promote backpacking gear, as your followers might have the same hobbies as you.

How to place links on Instagram

First, note that there are two types of accounts on Instagram: personal and business. Business accounts are advantageous in many ways: they provide statistics on the audience and its engagement level, allow you to add a few useful buttons such as “Call” and “How to get there,” and are better for advertising. Also, you can place links directly to your advertiser’s website.

On the flip side, business accounts are always tied to your Facebook page, and there might be minor malfunctions from time to time.

Affiliate link in your bio

The Instagram Bio is a section under your username where you can tell more about the brand and place the permanent link to redirect people to the website. It works if you’re promoting one product from the same company. It’s also possible to place the semi-permanent Instagram affiliate links, if promoting several products. But, you’ll need to update the link each time there is a new post.

Some tools allow you to place more than one link at once, for example, Linktree. It generates a link that you place in your bio, and when users click on it, they’ll see all your links in a new window.

Affiliate link in your bio

Linkable Instagram gallery app

Photos are not clickable on Instagram, but you can always use special tools to lead users to the advertiser’s website or your blog. Apps such as Link My Photo or Metricool help increase traffic to the website and sales, as well as measure the performance of your Instagram strategy.

Swipe-Up in Stories

Business accounts with over 10K followers are eligible for the “Swipe Up” option for placing affiliate links on Instagram Stories. Thus, when checking your Stories, users will be able to swipe up and open the website that you promote. Here is an example:

How can you do it? Choose a picture or a video for your Stories, click on the chain icon at the top of the screen and type in the URL there. If you succeed, the chain icon will be highlighted.

Photo, photo description or text overlay

You can make Instagram captions more powerful by providing images with descriptions. Another option is to make a text overlay with one of the relevant tools. Mobile users can resort to applications such as WordSwag, Phonto or Over (iOS). To work on your laptop, try one of the following programs: Canva, PicMonkey, BeHappy, Stencil, etc.

Direct messages

This option lets you send direct messages (DMs) to your followers (up to 15 people) from the desktop device in the format of a pop-up. Try it to test the product out on loyal customers and receive feedback. Besides, this way, you can reward followers with exclusive offers, connect with both merchants and influencers, and more.

Best practices for affiliates on Instagram

The following recommendations help succeed in Instagram affiliate marketing, balance between staying authentic and running promotions and convert clicks into real money.

Have a standalone project

Since Instagram is not very convenient for placing links, it would be great to have one more web resource where you can leverage all the potential of affiliate marketing. You can send targeted visitors to your home page or landing page through your link in bio and use the links in posts to drive visitors to the relevant posts, webinars, etc.

Use hashtags

Hashtags categorize content and help navigate on Instagram. By leaving hashtags under your posts, you’ll allow your content to be discovered by more people. To identify which tags you should use, explore similar posts in the niche and check your competitors. But, remember to stay relevant, otherwise users can report your post and it will be shown less often.

As for the numbers, nine hashtags per post produce the highest engagement:

Use hashtags

To check the effectiveness of your hashtag, tap on the “View Insights” button and you’ll see the number of impressions from hashtags and other statistics. This option is available for business accounts only.

Contests and giveaways

It might be a good solution to increase your followers’ engagement and brand awareness by running a contest or giveaway. Contests imply performing an action in return for a chance to win the prize. For example, you can ask users to follow your page, share a post, tag a friend, leave a comment and more.

Giveaways are usually launched to award winners with a prize or prizes from your partners. Using contests and giveaways can make your audience grow 70% faster.

Sponsored posts

To cover a wider audience, you can also resort to sponsored posts, which are aimed at promoting the existing content. They look just like typical Instagram ads. You can add the action button and a URL of your choice. This is what a sponsored post looks like:

Sponsored posts

Sponsored posts have great targeting capabilities, so you’ll be able to determine what kind of users will see your posts. And, they are easy to set up.

Leverage other social networks

Every social media platform has its own audience, and you can reach more people by using a few networks. For example, create a channel on YouTube and drive traffic from Instagram to your video, or vice versa.

To come up with a successful strategy, take advantage of the networks with relevance to your brand audience. While Pinterest is mostly used by women, LinkedIn is more popular with men, so you’ll need to carefully explore each network’s potential to choose the best ones for you.

Include coupons

The coupon (promo code) giveaway is as efficient as any other discount. With the right strategy, it can look like a profitable deal. Many advertisers offer promo codes and vouchers to help affiliates boost their profits. Some promotions are tied to a specific date, such as Christmas, while others can be used at any given moment. Here is an example of a coupon in a post:

Make it more genuine

The most efficient and genuine photos on Instagram are those where you or customers hold a product, wear it or demonstrate how to use it. Your individual style, openness and the sincerity of your posts help attract more followers which might result in more sales. For example, National Geographic uses storytelling to enhance engagement and the number of shares.

Use Instagram TV

Instagram TV (IGTV) allows you to stream from different channels and upload videos of up to an hour. It is available both as a separate app and with traditional Instagram. The video is shown in a full-screen vertical format.

Brands use IGTV for a wide range of purposes. For example, Netflix seeks to attract younger followers. Sephora increases brand recognition and strengthens authority by streaming tutorials on how to take care of the skin in the morning, for example. The interior design blogger Emily Henderson uploads virtual tours of apartments and houses she has designed for more exposure.

Comply with IG advertising policy

Whatever strategy you choose, remember to check with the Instagram advertising policy. For example, one of the rules is to disclose sponsored posts and ads when using the #spon and #ad hashtags respectively. If the follower tags you in a post and you confirm the relationship, the ad will be marked with a “paid partnership” label.

It’s possible to replace those hashtags with any other ones with the same meaning. For example, Airbnb uses the hashtag #Airbnb_partner to disclose their sponsored posts.

Best Instagram affiliate marketing strategies

Even the best affiliate programs for Instagram won’t bring you a high income with a poor marketing strategy. Explore all the opportunities for promotion that the platform offers you and try to leverage as much as possible to find the ones that work best for you. To begin with, consider switching to a business account to unveil more features and be able to check statistics.

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