An affiliate is someone who gets paid a commission whenever they refer a sale to another business or website. Most affiliate programs will pay you a percentage of every sale you refer + those commissions can really add up!
By sharing your affiliate links on Instagram, you can drastically increase the amount of money you make through these programs. However, simply dropping an affiliate link into a post isn’t going to cut it.
If you’re ready to start using Instagram to make more money through affiliate marketing, check out the suggestions below to learn 3 ways to use Instagram to increase your commissions!
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “don’t you have to be an influencer or have tens of thousands of followers to benefit from sharing affiliate offers on Instagram?” And the answer is… nope.
All you really need is an engaged audience (as in, they need to be paying attention to you) + the right products or affiliate offers to put in front of them (as in, things they’d actually want or need).
Think about it-- I’m sure there are products or services that you’ve casually recommended to friends, family members, and even random strangers over the years-- wouldn’t it be nice to make a bit of extra cash for sending a sale someone’s way?
I learned a lot about affiliate programs + how to make more affiliate income by taking this course. (And yes, this is an affiliate link, so if you sign up-- I will make a commission.) However, if you’re serious about making money by recommending products, this course will be your affiliate marketing roadmap!
Some of the more popular programs for affiliates like Amazon + Target have a pretty low barrier to entry. You simply sign up, wait for your approval, then start sharing links. Others, like Liketoknow.it are a bit more exclusive, requiring their partners to meet certain criteria.
Personally, I like to join affiliate programs for products, services + brands that I’m actually passionate about, or use myself. This way my recommendations come honestly + I can speak to my own experience about it in an authentic way.
Note: you will need to add a disclaimer into your Instagram posts if you’re going to make a commission.
Now, let’s get back to the reason you’re here-- to learn how to use Instagram strategically to make more affiliate commissions...
1. Use a Linking Service to Increase Traffic from Your Instagram Bio to Affiliate Offers
One big drawback to promoting anything on Instagram is that you only have one live link that followers can click through-- the link in your Instagram bio.
Of course, you could continuously change that link every time you post about a new affiliate product, but how annoying + time-consuming is that?! Plus, changing the link in your bio to a new affiliate link every time you post won’t allow you to drive traffic to any previously posted links, so this method isn’t super effective at increasing commissions.
Luckily for all of us, there are 3rd party platforms out there that make the process of sharing multiple URLs from the single link in your Instagram bio so much easier.
Some of our faves are:
By using these types of services you can add an endless amount of affiliate links into your bio versus just one at a time!
These platforms enable you to attach specific URLs into your individual posts by creating a landing page of images. Each image on your page can direct users to a different URL whenever they click on it.
For example, by using Later’s Linkinbio, I can add the specific URLs that I want to direct my audience to right within my posts when I’m scheduling. Once my image + caption are in, I simply drop the affiliate link into the Linkin.bio area. (P.S. this link won’t be visible to my audience when I post.)
You can see the link in my profile here (linkin.bio/stephjgilbert)
When you click through the link, you’re taken to a landing page that looks similar to my feed. If you were to click on any one of these images, you’d be redirected to a specific URL (the one that I added when I originally scheduled the post through Later).
All of my affiliate links can live simultaneously on this page-- meaning that my followers can continue to click through previous offers even after I add new ones! Not only does this save me the headache of constantly changing the link in my profile, but it also means increased opportunities for commissions!
Affiliate Pro Tip: Each time you mention an affiliate product in an Instagram post, make sure you add a CTA (call to action) to click through the link in your bio to learn more, shop, get more information, etc.
2.Share Affiliate Links in Your Instagram Stories
If you have over ten thousand followers + you’ve converted to an Instagram Business profile, you can easily add affiliate links into your Instagram Stories for viewers to swipe up to.
It’s important that these suggestions feel authentic + make sense for your audience, in order to keep your account from feeling too sales-y or spammy.
For example, we used the hashtag holiday #NationalReadABookDay to share a roundup of 10 books that the Small Talk Social team recommends for creative business owners. This made sense for both our target audience + the day we posted the story.
To do this we created a few simple slides on Canva.
When we posted the story to Instagram, we added each book’s Amazon affiliate link into the coordinating story slide. Now, if a viewer swipes up + makes a purchase, we get credit for the sale!
So now, I bet you’re wondering how you can do this if you don’t have over ten thousand followers and access to the swipe up feature, right?
While the process requires a few extra steps if you have less than ten thousand followers, it can certainly be done!
First, you could turn your affiliate links into short, easy to remember bit.ly links + add them into your story. This method will require that your followers leave Instagram on their own, remember your URL (which is why customizing on bit.ly will be important) and then type it into their browser.
If you think your followers might be too lazy to do that (you might be right) you can also use a platform like Linktree to set up your affiliate links ahead of time. Then, you can add a call to action within your Instagram Story, asking your viewers to click on the link in your profile to find the recommendations on your Linktree landing page.
Affiliate Pro Tip: If you upgrade to the paid plan on Linktree, you can schedule your affiliate links to show up at a specific time. This way, you can sync certain links to appear when you post a related Instagram Story!
3.Add Your Affiliate Instagram Stories into Your Instagram Story Highlights
Once you’ve created Instagram Story content to share your affiliate offers, it would be a shame to let them disappear after only 24 hours.
Instead of only sharing the story once, you can use that content to create Instagram Story Highlights.
Instagram Story Highlights allow you to pin story content directly to your profile. Having highlights for all of your affiliates will enable you to share those offers over + over with each new profile visitor.
Of course, this will be a bit easier if you have over ten thousand followers, as followers will be able to simply swipe up to your affiliate links. However, by following the methods outlined above, you can increase the amount of traffic you’re directing to your offers with permanent highlights.
Affiliate Pro Tip: Use new posts in your Instagram feed to remind followers about your Instagram Story Highlights! If you share an affiliate related image, make sure you add a CTA into your caption that asks followers to check out your story highlight for more information! This way you’re continuously directing traffic back to your affiliate offers.
We hope that these ideas help you to make even more money through affiliate marketing on Instagram!
Remember, if you’re trying to break into affiliate marketing, or you just want to learn how to elevate your current strategies, make sure you check out the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course!
Have you tried using Instagram to share your affiliate offers?
Let us know about your experience in the comments…