When marketers think of affiliate marketing, most think of bloggers and other types of content publishers. While that is certainly an accurate depiction, it’s not a complete one.
Today, most affiliate influencers go beyond their blogs and websites and leverage their social media channels to share their likes, dislikes, interests, ambitions, philosophies and other idiosyncrasies.
Unfortunately, some channels, such as Instagram, don’t allow affiliates to include clickable links within their social posts. This makes it difficult for social influencers to work with affiliate programs because there’s no way to easily monetize their Instagram channel.
Fortunately, savvy affiliate influencers have found a few ways around this – at least via Instagram.
Solution 1 – Link Service
While Instagram doesn’t allow links within a post, it does allow one link within a user’s Instagram profile.
In this example, our client, Book of the Month, uses their one link option to direct people to their website.
However, affiliates can also use their one profile link to direct followers to their LinkinProfile.com or Linkmy.photos page. These tools allow influencers to link their Instagram posts anywhere they want, including using affiliate links to link to an advertiser site/product page.
While these tools aren’t free, they aren’t expensive. With Linkmy.photos, users can link three photos to their Instagram account for free or they can pay $4.99/month and link unlimited photos.
With a Linkinprofile.com, users can try it out for free for 30 days or pay $9.99/month and link unlimited photos to their Instagram account.
For example, one Book of the Month affiliate, Modern Mrs Darcy (Anne Bogel), uses her Instagram profile link to visitors to her Linkin Profile.
When they go to her Instagram page, they see the link to her Linkin profile (linkinprofile.com/annebogel). When they click on it, they’ll see a page that looks similar to her Instagram page; however, the images are clickable and can be linked to her Book of the Month affiliate page or her personal blog.
Instagrammers can also use language in their post to promote their link-friendly Linkin profile, such as “Check out my #linkinprofile.”
Solution 2 – Use Redirects/URL Shorteners
Although not clickable, affiliates can type out a link within their post. They can also use redirects or link shorteners and tell their followers to copy/paste the link into their browser.
If the blogger has a website, they can set-up an automatic redirect. In the example shown above, http://www.modernmrsdarcy.com/bookofthemonth redirects through an affiliate link and lands on the Book of the Month site. If someone makes a purchase through that link, she’ll get paid a commission.
An influencer can also choose to shorten the non-linkable URL that they include in their Instagram post by using bit.ly. If we “bit.ly” this link to AP’s blog, www.accelerationpartners.com/blog, it would look like http://bit.ly/1SwgojI. The affiliate simply inputs their affiliate link into a link shortener tool to get the shortened link. The Instagram follower would then copy/paste this link into their browser which would redirect them through an affiliate link to the merchants site.
Solution 3 – Coupon Code Conversions
You can provide your affiliate influencers with an exclusive coupon code to share on their Instagram page.
For example, if Acceleration Partners was an affiliate, their exclusive code might be AP20OFF, or something along those lines.
If you’re open to providing your top affiliate influencers their own coupon code, keep in mind that you’ll need to provide your affiliate manager with the coupon code conversion details so that the sales can be manually uploaded to the affiliate network.
Alternatively, a few affiliate networks, such as ShareASale, have coupon code locking technology that will automatically track a conversion if a specific coupon code was used.
Until Instagram decides to follow Pinterest’s lead and allow links within posts, these three aforementioned tactics are workaround solutions for your affiliate influencers. Sharing these strategies with them will help them grow their affiliate business and you grow revenue for your brand.
For additional ideas and strategies on how to elevate and accelerate your affiliate program, reach out to our Affiliate Marketing team.