How to Start with Affiliate Marketing as a Micro-Influencer on Instagram
As an Instagram micro-influencer with a follower count between 1,000 and 10,000, getting lucrative brand deals consistently may not be a walk in the park. Regardless of your niche, you need to explore different revenue opportunities.
Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to earn a steady passive income for micro-influencers. It is a marketing model where you can promote a brand’s products in exchange for a commission. The commission is based on the percentage of sales you drive. Here’s everything you need to know about how to start your journey as an affiliate marketer when you are a micro-influencer on Instagram.
How does affiliate marketing work for a micro-influencer?
Once a brand enlists you as an affiliate, you receive a unique affiliate link for each product. You can put up your affiliate posts anywhere on Instagram where you can add links like IGTV descriptions, Instagram Stories, your YouTube vlogging channel description, and your social media bios. Every time someone uses the link, you earn a commission. Brands can either work on a pay per click model where you earn a small amount for every click or on a cost per acquisition model where you get paid only when the final sale is made.
As you already have access to a custom-made audience willing to make purchases based on your recommendation, it is easier for you to convert them and get them to click on the link. Moreover, affiliate marketing is a low-risk venture as you can become an affiliate without making any upfront investment. You can keep sharing affiliate codes for new products and scale your earnings. You also don’t have to worry about fulfilling the order to receive a paycheck -- all you need to do is educate a customer about a new product through your content and urge them to purchase the product using your link.
What opportunities are there for micro-influencers to become affiliates?
Getting started as an affiliate marketer is easier than you think. You can either do it through an affiliate network or approach brands that have an in-house affiliate program.
Affiliate networks have their entry requirements and commission structures. You can sign up on an affiliate network, choose the products or services you want to promote, and receive custom links to add your IG content. Usually, most of these networks pay a small commission (around 5-10%) for each sale through your affiliate link. Some affiliate networks also provide incentives to make the deal more lucrative. So the more you sell, the better commission you receive.
There are several such networks to choose from. Amazon Associates is one of the most popular ones which provides access to a large variety of products. The signup process is easy, and you can get set up in just a few minutes. You can choose the products depending on your niche, generate the affiliate link, and get started.
Brands with in-house affiliate marketing programs usually work with larger affiliate networks. The percentage of commission varies depending on the type of product. For example, jewelry line Mejuri collaborates with thousands of micro-influencers and has created a huge network of affiliates on Instagram. The brand works with ShareASale, an affiliate network. ShareASale reviews the credentials of the micro-influencer before they can become an affiliate. A 5 % commission is paid on all sales made by affiliates.
And in case there’s a product you like, but the brand doesn’t have an affiliate marketing program, you can directly reach out to them to check if they’ll be willing to set up an arrangement.
How to maintain your relationship with affiliate companies and land better opportunities
Pick products in your niche
Before you decide to become an affiliate for any business, ask yourself if you are a good fit. The product you share affiliate codes of should directly appeal to your audience. For example, if you are a food blogger, promoting beauty products will not drive home any results. However, sharing codes of a range of other products connected to food such as cookware, gourmet ingredients, meal kits, or even serveware, will be more aligned to your audience.
Bear in mind that businesses are also looking for influencers who match their niche because when the audience comes across the recommendation about the product from someone they trust, they’ll be more likely to buy it.
Publish the right type of content
Content is king is not just a buzzword. It is everything if you are looking to make your mark as an affiliate marketer. Your content should help you stand out as a trustworthy and reliable micro-influencer who can actually convince the audience to shop using the affiliate link.
If you like a particular product and want to become an affiliate for the company, start by creating posts about the product and tag the brand in your post. For example, Tzibirita, a travel influencer, posted an image on Instagram of herself wearing a Paul Hewitt watch and tagged the brand in the description.
Even though this is not a sponsored post, tagging the brand can help you to get noticed by the brand and showcase you as a suitable affiliate partner.
However, to get on the radar of the right brands or affiliate networks, you need to improve the organic reach of your content. Including more video content into your content strategy is a surefire way to skyrocket your reach as the IG algorithm tends to boost video content over static images. Simply use your smartphone camera to record a short clip, edit it using an online video editor, and share the clip on your feed.
Engage with your audience
The audience is the MVP for both you and the affiliate companies you are targeting for better deals.
Even if you have a million followers but don’t engage with them, brands are unlikely to pick you as a suitable sales partner. So, make sure to regularly engage with your community through your IG content. For example, you are a beauty influencer and want to become an affiliate for a company that has just introduced a cruelty-free line of cosmetics. Create posts to share with your audience how you came across these products, what prompted you to use them, and what are your favorite ways of using them. And when you receive comments such as “What’s the price of this lipstick?” or “How can I order one for myself?”, make sure to respond to them so that affiliate companies see you as someone keen to add more value to a customer’s life.
Ready to start your journey as an affiliate marketer?
The bottom line is simple--you don’t have to be a celebrity influencer to earn more from Instagram. Once you establish your credibility as a micro-influencer, you can help brands penetrate more markets, drive leads their way, and make a solid income by becoming an affiliate marketer.