Guide to Affiliate Marketing on Instagram

Affiliate marketing on Instagram can be an effective strategy for both brands and influencers. Read on to find out how affiliate marketing works and how to make the most out of your affiliate marketing strategies on instagram. 

Table of contents:

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is where brands pay someone commission for attracting people to buy their product or service. The amount of commission they receive is tracked through either a unique code or URL. One of the best ways to attract people to a product or service is through social media content, on platforms like Instagram. Brands can use affiliate marketing to collaborate with influencers who will promote their products or services. The commission can be paid for each successful sale, click or other action depending on the defined objective.

How does affiliate marketing work on Instagram?

Affiliate marketing on Instagram is an easy and effective way to make money from an Instagram account, whether you’re a content creator or a business. Instagram affiliate marketing works similarly to other channels where brands collaborate with content creators or influencers to promote their brands or products, and in exchange, these influencers earn a cut from the sales that roll in from their followers. Influencers use a unique coupon code or affiliate link in their content to track the sales amount. So when customers buy stuff, they can use these codes or links to get a special offer or benefit, which is how everyone keeps track of sales. 

How to start affiliate marketing on Instagram?

If you’re looking to grow your presence on Instagram with affiliate marketing, below is a step-by-step guide for brands and influencers to start a successful affiliate marketing campaign.

1. Create or switch to a professional account

First, you need to have a creator or business account on Instagram. You can either switch your current Instagram account or make a new one. Professional accounts are specialised for businesses, brands, influencers, and public figures; they can get additional features and tools to help them manage their online presence, connect with their audience, and analyse their performance.

Here are the steps to switch your personal Instagram account to a professional account:

2. Choose the right affiliate partners

If you’re a business looking to kickstart affiliate marketing on Instagram, your first move is to collaborate with the right influencers. It’s important to choose influencers whose followers are similar to your target market—this way, you’re reaching out to people who could really be interested in what you’re offering. If you’re currently searching for the right influencer to work with, explore how Room Unlocked can help you connect with a perfect match and book a platform demo today

As an influencer, you will need to find brands that run affiliate programs and are willing to pay commission on the sales you make from your content. You can find the perfect match affiliate partners in a few different ways, including:

1. Affiliate programs:

Many companies run affiliate programs on social media platforms. As an influencer, you can join these programs, then promote the brand’s products and earn commissions on the sales you drive. To get started, you can find more details about the affiliate program and sign up through the company’s official website. Some examples of affiliate programs are Charlotte Tilbury, Amazon Associates, Shopify.

2. Affiliate networks:

You can also become part of an affiliate marketing network or platform that helps connect influencers with suitable brands, such as Room Unlocked. At Room Unlocked, we streamline the process, provide a variety of brands to choose from, and offer tracking tools for your campaign performance.

3. Reach out to businesses directly

Another option is to approach brands directly through email or social media. Introduce yourself, explain your niche and audience, and let them know how your profile relates to what they offer. You should also highlight your reach, engagement metrics, and the value you can bring to the table. 

If you’re an influencer looking for a successful collaboration with a brand, apply and see how Room Unlocked can give you the opportunities to collaborate with top brands around the world. 

3. Create compelling content

Brands and influencers should work together to create appealing content that aligns with both parties' needs and requirements. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when creating content:

4. Use affiliate links

After partnering with a brand, influencers will receive a unique affiliate link or special promo code that is specific to them. These affiliate links are an essential part of tracking sales and conversions generated through influencers’ content. 

The benefits of affiliate marketing on Instagram

Instagram is a great place for affiliate marketing because over 2 billion people use it routinely and around half of them shop through the platform almost every week. It also offers various types of content, like posts, stories, carousels, videos, reels, and live streams.

Affiliate marketing benefits for brands

1. Boost sales

Affiliate marketing allows brands to showcase their products or services to a niche customer segment through influencers. Nowadays, people come to Instagram for inspiration, information, reviews, and shopping, making it a great platform for boosting sales. People trust the influencers they follow, so their followers will be more likely to shop with you if they give your brand a good review. Plus, they can easily purchase your products through those affiliate links in the influencer’s posts. 

2. Convert new customers

Affiliate marketing on Instagram is a smart move for brands to win over new customers because it allows brands to reach wider audiences who haven’t yet heard about their  brand through influencers' content. When the products match audiences’ preferences, they will be interested to know more about their  product, connect with their  brand, make a purchase and eventually become loyal customers. 

3. Track sales and campaign performance effectively

By utilising affiliate links or special coupon codes, brands can easily track the sales generated by the influencers. Instagram also provides insights into  the posts to see which content or products performed best. 

4. Build relationships

A successful collaboration with Instagram influencers could turn into a long-term partnership which can yield mutual benefits for both the  brand and the influencer. These relationships can help to build trust and establish credibility, which paves the way to further opportunities for more collaboration and growth, including regularly created creatives and promotional content.  

5. High ROI

Instagram affiliate marketing is a strategy that can make your investment grow rapidly at relatively lower costs. Starting an affiliate marketing program on Instagram doesn’t require a ton of cash upfront—you only spend when you see the results. Your spend will also depend on how many sales are generated from the affiliates' campaign, meaning you only pay based on results. 

If you want to know more about the power of influencers' collaborations on your marketing campaigns, download our Love Trust Barometer for free!

Affiliate marketing benefits for influencers

As an influencer,  there are a number of benefits of Instagram affiliate marketing, these include:

1. Monetise your Instagram account

You can earn money from commissions on sales when customers use your affiliate link or apply your special coupon code to purchase a product or service. 

2. High engagement rate

Collaborating with a brand to create content about products or services that your audience enjoys can drive higher engagement because followers will be willing to interact with your content—comments, like, share, or repost. This also helps build relationships with your followers. 

3. Collaboration opportunities

Successful affiliate marketing can strengthen your personal branding and lead to more collaboration opportunities with well-known brands, which will then increase your profile popularity and followers. 

4. Niche expertise

By leveraging your niche expertise, you can curate and recommend products that genuinely benefit their followers

5. Performance insights

Instagram’s insights provide valuable data about your profile and content performance that can be leveraged to optimise your affiliate strategies. On Instagram, you can dive into Content Insights to see how each of your posts is doing in terms of engagement and discovery, this helps you to see the top-performing content and which products resonate the most with your audience. You also can easily track your profile growth by checking out recent highlights, reach, engagement, and more.

Are you an Influencer looking for help with managing and tracking your brand partnership campaign? Room Unlocked can help with that, apply now and explore how we can support your growth. 

Affiliate marketing strategies on Instagram

There are several ways to do affiliate marketing on Instagram, depending on your campaign objectives and budget. Below are the most effective affiliate marketing strategies on Instagram:

Links in Instagram Bio

Lots of influencers like to put a brand’s website or affiliate links into their Instagram bio. Then, these influencers will simply ask their followers to tap that link in their bio whenever they share some relevant content in their posts—for example on their Instagram feed, stories, or reels.  This is one of the simplest ways to generate sales from their traffic. Some influencers also use Linktree to feature multiple affiliate links, coupon codes, or brands they work with. 

Coupon codes

Using a coupon code is everyone’s favourite affiliate marketing strategy whereby brands share an exclusive coupon code with influencers to promote their products. Commonly, an influencer’s special coupon code is a sweeter discount than any other, making it a win-win for everyone. Brands can get more products sold, customers will get a product at a lower price, and influencers get a higher engagement rate. Influencers usually share the coupon code through their Instagram posts, whether in the Instagram story, feeds, reels, or bio.  

Swipe-up link in Instagram stories

Business or creator accounts are able to use the swipe-up links in Instagram stories. Affiliates usually utilise this feature when showcasing a product or service through their Instagram stories, then encourage the viewers to swipe-up and visit the brand’s website. This is also one of the most effective ways to increase traffic and attract new potential customers since 70% of Instagram users watch Instagram stories daily!

Giveaways or Contests

Hosting digital activity like a Giveaway or Contest is a fun and engaging way to do affiliate marketing on Instagram. Brands collaborate with influencers to inspire users with creative challenges related to the affiliate products. For example, brands can get user-generated content from influencers who encourage people to post content using the brand’s affiliate product. The best content will be crowned the winner and receive a prize. This will help to create buzz around the brand, increase engagement, reach a broader market, and potentially drive more product sales. Another example of simple digital activity is encouraging users to follow an Instagram account or comment on posts in order to be in for a chance to win. This not only benefits the participants but also can improve both influencers' and brands’ organic reach and engagement. 

Shopping tags on Instagram posts

Tagging products on Instagram posts is also one of the most effective affiliate marketing strategies on Instagram. Brands often collaborate with influencers to create creative content featuring their products on influencers’ Instagram posts and tag the product with a checkout-enabled Instagram shop link or checkout on another website. By doing this, users can easily see how the products are used by the influencers, see the products' details, and  purchase the products easily. 

Affiliate marketing tips

Affiliate Marketing can be a great success when done right. Here are a few top tips for affiliate marketing on Instagram:

  1. Choose a niche 
  2. Understand your target audience
  3. Disclose affiliate links
  4. Use KPIs to track your progress
  5. Design a mobile-friendly campaign
  6. Offer discount codes

Affiliate marketing on Instagram FAQs

Can I do affiliate marketing on Instagram?

Yes, you can definitely do affiliate marketing on Instagram! Instagram is a popular platform for affiliate marketing, and many individuals, influencers, and businesses use it to promote products and earn commissions. Instagram also has many content formats, allowing you to explore and test various content formats creatively. 

Is affiliate marketing worth it?

Yes! As a brand affiliate marketing is a great way to reach new audiences, boost your sales and build lasting influencer relationships, all at a relatively low cost.

What are the benefits of having an Instagram Business Account?

You’ll need an Instagram Business or Creator account to start affiliate marketing on Instagram. Instagram business accounts provide additional features and tools beyond what personal accounts offer.  Here’s what you can get with Instagram Business Account: