Influencer marketing is relatively new territory. Even just a few years ago, influencer marketing was not like it is today. Today, anyone can start an Instagram account, gain a following, and become an “influencer.” These influencers can charge brands however much they want to for sponsored posts on their feeds.
There are no rules. If a brand is willing to pay it, that’s what it’s worth, right?
So how do we as affiliate managers convince these influencers to work on a CPA basis? Is it even possible? Is there a way to do a hybrid compensation structure with part paid and part commission?
Today I’ll talk about a few ways to get the most out of Instagram influencers for your affiliate program.
The easiest way to get a lot from your influencer partners in your affiliate program is to set up a compensation plan with them where they’re paid a flat amount of money in exchange for promoting your products or services on their feed. Most influencers do not like working on a commission basis. They would much rather get cash upfront. If your brand were willing to do this, this would be the best way to get their attention. You could even work out a zero commission deal with them where they don’t earn commission from the sales they refer at all. If the influencer is really powerful, you might even come out ahead despite the upfront risk.
You could also set up a partial flat payment along with your commission payment. Many influencers don’t understand the true power of affiliate marketing and they need someone to guide them. If you can paint a picture on how they can earn so much more money on consistent referrals as opposed to one-time placements you might be able to get a discount on their flat fee.
A common influencer marketing advertisement is where the brand sends the influencer a photo or ad and asks them to repost it on their feed. This is effective with getting a specific message out to that influencer’s followers; however, it’s not personalized at all. This specific influencer has built up their following because they like the posts that he or she puts on their feed. They aren’t as likely to engage with a random ad. That said, if the influencer themselves was in this ad then they may be more likely to engage. This is where free products come in.
It’s highly advisable when working with influencers in your affiliate program to work out an agreement with them where they get some free product and create their own content for their feed featuring your product. Followers are a lot more likely to engage with a sponsored post that has a personal touch attached to it. The ultimate reason we work with influencers in the first place is because they influence people to buy certain products. There’s no better way to do this than with a personalized post consisting of product you gave to them.
Another great way to get the most out of Instagram influencers in your affiliate program is to host a product giveaway with them. Influencers love running giveaways because they receive excellent engagement from them and gain a lot of new followers in the process. When you structure the giveaway with the influencer you do want to make sure that it’s not one sided and you get some new followers for your social media accounts as well. At the end of the day, it’s a great way to get some new followers and get some great marketing out there for the cost of your product, which is usually a brand’s preferred currency.
When the giveaway ends and it’s time to send out your product to the winner, make sure you communicate directly with the winner themselves and try to get some additional marketing goodwill from this. You can ask the winner to post about their winning on their own social media pages so that their friends and family learn about your brand. You can also incentivize the winner to refer friends and family by providing them with additional discounts for doing so. If you’re not keen on giving away your product for free you could also host a contest that allows the winner to purchase your product but at a significant, one-time discount.
Forced Exclusive Unique Coupon Codes
A common issue with Instagram influencers is finding a way to get customers to click on affiliate links. It’s common to see captions include “link in the bio,” but this is an extra step that sometimes customers don’t take. Thus, there could be sales that came from this influencer that they’re not getting credit for. This is bad for the influencer because they’re losing out on commissions and this is bad for the brand because you’re not able to properly track the success of their campaigns. This is where forced exclusive unique coupon codes come in.
Most affiliate networks these days offer an option to set a specific coupon code as “forced exclusive” to a specific affiliate publisher. This means that any time that coupon code is used, even if no affiliate link was clicked previously, the specific affiliate which the code is tied to always gets commission for sales where customers use that code. This is especially helpful if customers happen to visit a coupon site or a different bottom funnel affiliate before making their purchase when the Instagram influencer was the true referrer for the sale and deserves the proper credit.
Not too long ago, Instagram added a “story” function to their platform to compete with Snapchat. It has since exploded in popularity and continues to keep thousands of people glued to their phones on a daily basis. Why not take advantage of this feature with the Instagram influencers in your affiliate program? Story posts take minimum effort and there’s a good chance that the influencer will be happy to throw some of these in for you for free if you’re already running a campaign with them.
While the world of Instagram influencers and how we utilize them to market our products is still very young, we have been able to cover several great ways to get the most out of these powerful players within your affiliate program. Good luck with all your affiliate marketing efforts and feel free to email us or comment below with any ideas or questions.