6 Clever Ways to Use Instagram for Affiliate Marketing

Social media can be a great source of traffic for your affiliate website.  When understood and mastered, it is possible to bring targeted visitors likely to convert at ease. Throughout this article, I will discuss 6 ways to bring visitors to your website using Instagram. 

Why Instagram?

Instagram is the hottest social media platform right now and could well be the number one social media platform in the near future according to how many active users it has.

Instagram revealed this week that it now has 1 billion monthly active users, up from the 800 million reported in September 2017. This increase in monthly users makes Instagram the fastest growing social network at the moment — by a considerable margin. While Facebook has more overall users, its growth in monthly users has stalled to just 3.14 percent. Snapchat is growing even slower, at a rate of 2.13 percent. Instagram, on the other hand, is growing nearly 5 percent from quarter to quarter.Search Engine Journal

Instagram is the social media platform with the most engaged users.

In a survey of more than 2,500 micro-influencers (mid-sized social media users with a large following of daily engaged users), 60 percent thought Instagram was the best overall platform for engagement. The runner-up, Facebook, only gathered the support of 18 percent.Forbes

Due to the high engagement, posts are more likely to go viral which is what anybody advertising on social media looks for.

Through its ever-growing audience and high engagement, Instagram is definitely a place where you want to be if you want to bring traffic to your website or offers.

If you read, until the end of the article, I will share with you growth hack that will greatly help you go viral.

Problems with Instagram

Despite being an awesome platform to advertise on, there are not that many marketers taking advantage of this goldmine partly because Instagram has some drawback that makes it more difficult to advertise on compared to other social media websites such as Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn or Twitter. It is also a mobile app based social networking platform which is not ideal, even though some solutions exist to be able to use Instagram from a desktop.

The main issue is the lack of ability to insert a link in a post.

Anytime you post a picture or a video on your profile on Instagram, you do not have the ability to post a clickable link.

You might be thinking: “Can’t I just write the website URL in my post?”

The answer is: Yes! You can post non-clickable links in your posts.

However, this technique is not very good because people need to manually enter the link in their browsers. As you should know, people tend to be lazy in real life or on the internet. Therefore, when you try to promote something and it has not a clickable link, there are fewer chances for them to visit your page if they have to go out of their way to write your website name in their internet browser.

To learn about better ways to promote on Instagram, make sure to keep on reading my article.

Where to post clickable links on Instagram

The only two locations where you can have a clickable link are in your bio or in a story. You may be thinking that 2 locations sound cool but both locations come with some restrictions.

You can only post one link per profile in your bio. This is far from ideal if you plan on promoting multiple products. The best way to approach this problem is to either use a special link service such as Linktree or create a landing page where you can provide multiple links.

The CTR for bio links is not very high therefore, you will need to have a clear marketing strategy to bring lots of people back to your profile.

If your bio link is not enough, you can also use Instagram stories and their famous “swipe up”.

When you post a story on Instagram, you have the ability to add the link to the video or the image you are showing. In order to click the link, the visitor will have to swipe up.

Instagram stories are great for engagement and can produce amazing results. However, they are only 15 sec long so you may have to adapt the way you promote. In the past, stories were not as interesting as they would disappear after 24 h, but now you can keep them as long as you save them to your highlights.

Check the video below to see exactly how to add a link to your IG story

Key tactics and strategies to use on Instagram for affiliate marketing

Below you will find the 6 different ways I personally use on Instagram to promote my affiliate websites and offers.

1. Promote using branded images

You know by now that you can’t use a link in your posts so you need to find a way around it if you plan to promote different products. As mentioned above, you could write the URL you wish to promote in a post but it is not very effective.

Something similar but much more efficient is to brand the images or videos you plan on posting. You can brand your media with the URL you are trying to promote or your Instagram handle. That way, if your post goes viral and other people try to use the photo or video, traffic will trickle back to you.

Tip: If you don’t have Photoshop, you can use a free website called Canva to easily and quickly brand and resize your images. If you want to learn more about Canva, check the video below to show how easy it is to use it.

2. Promote using hashtags

There are two worlds when it comes to hashtags.

  1. On some social media platform such as Facebook, a hashtag is an added value. It could earn you a slightly higher chance of getting seen by a stranger who doesn’t follow you but you don’t need to use one.
  2. On Instagram, hashtags are used to target specific topics. They are pretty much the only way to expose yourself to new audiences. Picking the right hashtags can make or break a post.
Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6% more engagement than those without.Sproutsocial.com

Tip: Make sure that you fully understand the implications of the hashtags you pick—a little bit research can help you stay away from something with a double meaning or something you don’t fully understand.

When you are able to be featured on the “Top Post” for one or multiple of the hashtags you picked, your content will get a lot of exposure.

Instagram’s top posts algorithm takes some things into consideration when deciding which content appear on Top Post pages for a hashtag:

  1. Engagement: how much engagement your post receives (likes and comments)
  2. Hashtag Popularity: how popular the hashtag is
  3. Engagement “Growth Rate”: how quickly your post receives its engagement.

If you want to learn more about Instagram “Top Post” pages and how to get featured in them, make sure to check Benjamin Chacon article “How to Get your Post Featured on Instagram” on Later.com.

3. Promote using coupons

This method will require you to have an audience to be really effective. If you don’t have a big audience, don’t panic! Simply read my growth hacks techniques towards the end of this article.

Now let’s go back to using a coupon to get traffic to your offer. For whichever product or service you are promoting, you will need a coupon that you can get many different ways:

  • create a coupon, if it is your own product
  • simply search for an available coupon if it is not your own product. (You will be amazed at how lazy some people are)
  • contact the advertiser and request an affiliate coupon. It does not always work but it cost nothing to ask
  • offer cashback, if the offer you are promoting allows incentive traffic. If you are not sure what incentive traffic is, think of eBates.com. They offer you cash back to use their affiliate link. If you are still unsure of what I am talking about, just check out my article “What is an Affiliate Website?” where I explain the cashback type website in more detail.


Reference: Medium

People love to save money, as long as you have a large enough audience and a good offer to promote, you will be successful using this method.

Tip: Make sure to ask people to share and comment when you promote using a coupon in order to get a lot of engagement and increase your exposure

4. Promote using contest/giveaway

This method is very similar to the coupon method in the sense where you will provide something people are interested in and for the fact that you need a decent size audience (at least 1,000 subscribers) for that promotion to be effective.

The goal here is to find a product or prizes that will entice people to do a task such as liking, sharing, commenting on your post in order for them to be entered in a contest to win something. To better illustrate what I am talking about, please see below:


Reference: https://www.avocadosocial.com/instagram-loop-work/

There are two types of prizes you can offer:

  • General prizes that could work with any niche such as cash, iPhones, gift card etc.
  • Niche specific prizes such a fishing rod if you are in the fishing niche for example.

You can directly promote your product as a giveaway if you would like but the most effective way is to capture people email as a part of the rules to enter the contest/giveaway and then advertise to these new leads using email marketing.

5. Promote using an Instagram influencer

The first question you may ask is: “What is an Instagram Influencer?”

Instagram users who have an established credibility and audience; who can persuade others by virtue of their trustworthiness and authenticity.Pixlee.com

Influencers can be stars such as Kyle Jenner or Will Smith but they will be way too expensive to work with for common folks like us.

Influencers can also be regular people who have a large audience on Instagram in a particular niche. That’s the type of influencers you want to work with.

Using their Instagram fame, also called “influence”, influencers are able to generate lots of traffic to a product or an offer they promote.

Finding an influencer can either be done directly on Instagram by looking for people with lots of followers in your niche but there are now websites making it easy to look for influencers such as Klear.com

Once you find an influencer in your niche, check his or her profile and look at the posts. Get a feel of how much engagement he or she gets per post. The more engagement, the better, but keep in mind, the more engagement, the more likely it will be expensive to get an influencer to promote.

Depending on what you decided when you contact the influencer, you can either pay a flat fee per post or split a part of the revenue generated. The price per post is also not set in stone and will come down to how good of a negotiator you are.

If you want to learn more how to pick an influencer check this article: “How to contact Instagram influencers to endorse your brand”

Lots of brands have been using influencer with great success and now more and more affiliates are doing the same. The key to success in influencer marketing is picking the right influencer (while paying the least amount of dollars) for the product you are trying to promote.

6. Promote using Instagram paid ads

If you have some advertising money available, you could try your hands on Instagram paid ads. It uses the same platform as Facebook ads and can be very lucrative when you figure it out since you have the ability to scale up a successful campaign. This technique is little more complex than the other ones and will require more than a few lines a blog post to get you started. That’s why I chose to share the video below with you guys to get you familiar with the ad platform and how it works.

If the video was not informative enough and you would like me to create a step by step tutorial on how to promote an affiliate product with Instagram paid ads, make sure to comment at the end of this article.

Tip: Paid ads are not as easy as people on Youtube or Facebook pretend. Make sure you have some money to lose when you get started.

BONUS: Growth Hacks

As you probably understand by now, the more followers you have the better off you are when you use Instagram to promote your affiliate offers.

Growing a big audience can be challenging but it is not very difficult when you know how. Below I will share with you a few growth hacks methods that can help you account grow exponentially.

Be active on the platform

There is no secret sauce here. You should make sure to engage with the people commenting and engaging on your page. That way, you will build a relationship and some authority with your audience. Make sure to take time to always answer or reach out to people, it will pay off on the long run.

If you want to go the extra step, look for big pages in your niche and start engaging with their content. By doing so, you could get some extra followers with interest in the topic you are covering on your page.

Time your posts correctly

This will need some time as you will need to do some testing to determine what is the optimal time to post for your account. Here are the few steps you could follow.

  • Understand your audience using Instagram insight: How old are they? Where do they live? What time are they active on Instagram?
  • Post during off-work hours instead of during the day or at night time
  • Post for your most active time zone
  • Save your best post for weekdays: People tend to be less active on Instagram during the weekends


Reference: Sproutsocial

Once you determine what are times to post for you, you can use an app such as Later to schedule your post.

Make people stay longer on your posts

A key factor in the new Instagram algorithm is to determine how long a person looks and engage with your post. The longer a person stays and interacts with your post, the more valuable Instagram sees your post.

Try to post content that requires viewers spending time on posts.

For example, call-to-action posts are great for this.

Utilize your caption and ask your audience to do interact with your content like sharing, liking or commenting

Mix up the hashtags using the 3×10 technique

As talked about earlier, hashtags are very important for your posts to be discovered and ranked on Instagram. For each post, you can post up to 30 hashtags.

You should use every single one of them! Most of them should be closely targeted to your page but keep a few generic hashtags.

Despite the actual hashtags, you should also focus on their popularity:

  • Use 10 mildly popular hashtags (10,000 – 50,000 posts)
  • Use 10 pretty popular hashtags (50,000 – 200,000 posts)
  • Use 10 very popular hashtags (200,000 – 2,000,000 posts)

Following this 3×10 technique will help you branch out to a wider, yet relevant audience because Instagram now lets people ‘follow’ hashtags, and of course search for them too.

And lastly, because the new algorithm rewards engagement, more likes and more comments will increase your odds of landing on the Explore page.

Follow unfollow method with a twist

The old method is still widely used however it is not as effective as it used to be.

You see back in the day, you would follow 100 people per day and then unfollow them the next day. Some of this people would follow you back and your number of follower would increase on a daily basis.

Do not do that! All you will get is a lot of “ghost” followers that will not engage with your content. On top of that, Instagram algorithm is now capable of detecting when you use that technique and will either ban your account, if you aggressively follow and unfollow, or restrict it so your post can only reach a fraction of your followers and get not organic exposure.

Instead, follow the step below outlining the method many stars are using:

  • Create multiple accounts
  • Upload at least 9 pictures related to your main page on each of these accounts (so each account looks complete)
  • Tag your main IG page in every single post and ask people to follow your main account in all your captions
  • Link back to your main Instagram account and ask people to follow that account on the new accounts bios


Once you are all set, it is time to start following 100 people on each account per day, and then unfollow these people the next day or two days later. As your accounts age, you could follow and unfollow more people but be careful, don’t do it too much to keep your accounts from getting banned.

Make sure to use great content and make the profile appealing to entice people to click on your profile and follow you back.

The beauty of this method is the fact that your main account will be safe and the followers that get to your main page are very interested in following you.

Tip: If you want to take this method to the next level, you can use programs such as Instazood to automate the follow/unfollow. On top of making this process much quicker, it also allows you to target people based on the pages they like or hashtag.

This is methods is widely used by social media agencies to grow their clients audiences.

Utilize Power Likes

Power Likes are one of the most powerful tools to get your post to go viral by reaching the Instagram Explore page.

They work by involving a big network of accounts that engage with each other content to give it better odds to go viral. The social reach happening from lots of 100k+ accounts engaging with each other is exponential because of the explore page.

This service is a paid service so you will need money to explore this technique but if you are interested you can use Your Charisma or Boostup Social which are the best two services available.

Tip: Make sure to do your homework before buying any type of Instagram service because they are not all created equal.

Join engagement groups

Similar to Power Likes engagement groups are used to create quick engagement with the goal to get your post to Instagram Explore page.

Engagement groups are a network of accounts working together to engage on each other content anytime a new post from somebody in the group is posted. Most of the time, people in the group use some type of chat service or Instagram DMs to communicate and coordinate posting.

You can either create your own group by reaching out to other accounts and pitching them your idea. However, you will need to have a good amount of followers (at least 5k) before any influencer accounts will be willing to work with you.

The other way to go about it is to look for existing engagement groups. You will find both paid and free engagement groups that will accept you.

I recommend using Boostup Social if you are interested in joining very active free engagement groups.

Tip: You can pair up Power Likes and engagement groups to multiply the engagement on your posts and increase greatly the chances of your post to go viral.


Instagram is the social media platform to advertise on right now. It is highly popular and highly engaging which are two factors producing good product promotions.

Following the few methods described in the article, you should be able to find success running your affiliate offer on Instagram with no time.

If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing and how to get started, make sure to check out my Wealthy Affiliate review where I discussed the best free affiliate community on the internet.

Don’t hesitate to comment on this article if some of the things are unclear or to add other techniques we could all use to be more successful at promoting our affiliate offers on Instagram.

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