How to Leverage Instagram Influencers in Your Affiliate Program

Nowadays more and more e-commerce and service companies turn towards social media. In the world of high social interaction, their products require a huge boost from social media influencers. The main goal is to spread the word and as a result — get more sales.

The hardest part is to find influencers, recruit them and create a relationship that is easy, long-lasting and smooth.

Where Should You Begin?

First of all, define your niche. For example, for cosmetics, perfumes or vitamins you can relate to so-called beauty and lifestyle bloggers who are experienced in making unbelievably flawless videos with beauty boxes, accessories and travel kits.

After you’ve made a list of potential influencers in your niche, it is time to make your offer appealing to them. That’s where creativity starts. There is no secret that influencers prefer to get products for free or paid sponsorships. It’s up to you to decide which one is preferable for your particular brand.

How Can You Encourage an Opinion Leader to Take Your Offer?

Here are a few tips.

  • Explain why your product will be interesting to their followers: suitable age, trendy, unique, suits blogger’s reputation.
  • Do not flatter yourself. Give an honest, polite picture of your company.
  • Suggest that the influencer creates a giveaway with their followers. This helps them engage with their followers better and attract new followers.
  • Suggest moving your cooperation to another level: agree to posts or stories more than twice a month. Repeated references to a brand usually give more confidence to followers meaning a blogger is really into your product/brand/service.
  • If you are selling your own homegrown product or do not relate to any cosmetics giant labels well-known all over the world, you can also choose a micro influencer among your existing clients. Just imagine: the person is already buying from you, they find your products and prices fare and of high quality, so why not ask them to tell a true story?
  • Encourage them with a great discount or (better) with product samples from your store as a compliment.

6 Recommendations for Negotiating with an Influencer:

  1. What is your ultimate goal to start a collaboration? Reaching blogger’s followers by making them take part in a discussion, influence them to mention your brand on social networks, or to actually sell stuff.
  2. What will an influencer get out of this cooperation? These could include a new brand to work with, increase in blog’s activity, possibility attract new followers and engage the existing fans, product sample or service testing, payouts, etc.
  3. Define the concept of your future ad: post, stories, contest. You can ask an influencer where their followers are more active — commenting on a post, watching stories or taking part in giveaways, share-a-post contests, and pick the best for your campaign.
  4. It’s important to give a first good impression. Don’t relax after you’ve got the influencer’s approval of your offer, stay focused. Decide what should be said about your product, brand or service and provide the influencer with a full story. Give the influencer all of the details about your services, send them a product sample, so they can try it out and then write an honest review.
  5. Make their experience with your brand worth spreading a word! Often it’s not that much about the product itself (it can be simple or has no perceived advantage over the competition), but more about the attitude and relationships you’ve built — good relationships and communication experience will influence the product image.
  6. A high-qualified opinion leader who cares about their reputation and cooperations will always share statistics with a brand. Just ask for a full analytics report after a post/video/contest has been released. It’s better to collect the data in a week or so, depending on how often this influencer posts. DO NOT agree to cooperate with a blogger who will delete your post/video/reference in a week/month/day! If you hear this proposal from the other side, bow out and find the right person for the job. You’re better off finding an influencer who cared about your brand and will be happy to keep your mentions in his stream.

So how can you incorporate Instagram influencers into your affiliate program? The quick answer is to search for those who have a good ole’ fashioned blog. Instagram hates affiliate links and users leaving their application, so profile links will not give any predictable and steady traffic flow. There were tools similar to LikeToKnow (by RewardStyle), but they were blocked by Instagram a few weeks ago because of API changes.

In order to leverage the full potential of an Instagram influencer, you should provide them with all the means necessary to create content around your brand or product, because in the end, Instagram is all about images, right?

After a user’s attention has been caught by an image (visual stimulus), brain (logic) steps in. That is when a motivated user craves for more information about your brand and proceeds to influencer’s text blog. If an influencer does not have a blog or website, it will be a dead-end for the user or he will be left on his own with Google search.

Once the user visits the blog, all standard affiliate marketing techniques come into play. To sum things up, Instagram is a flavor of display advertising with an audience sensitive to a graphical stimulus, and very limited tracking capabilities when it comes to influencer placements.

Keep in mind that an influencer most likely agrees to work with a brand or company that will give her reputation a lift. It’s not about the product itself and getting it for free. Those days are far gone. It’s all about building a strong, outstanding, unique personal account and profile to gain more subscribers.

Don’t be mistaken, any collaboration is about the influencer and their audience, not about you.

Finally, if you want to look beyond the convergence of affiliate marketing with influencer marketing, check out this article full of Instagram marketing tips.

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