If you’re promoting other people’s products and looking to drive more traffic to your site or landing page and increase your sales and commissions as a result, then this Instagram guide is for you.
At the bottom of this page, there’s a special case study of how a Poland girl reached 10k Instagram followers in 3 months with only a handful of pictures.
Proof Instagram works:
“Instagram has increased our customer conversion rate by over 30% as well as growing our email list by the thousands.“ says Jarod Guthrie, Internship @ Foundr Magazine (entrepreneurship).
“Right now Instagram is my primary social media platform. Even though it is the smallest platform for me in terms of followers, it gets the most engagement by a wide margin.
With 155,000 followers, on Twitter, a photo which does well might get 10 retweets.
With 125,000 followers on Facebook, a photo might get 1,000 likes if it does well.
On Instagram with only 58,000 followers my photos average 2,400 likes and I’ve had some photos hit 5,000!
The engagement per use is many times higher than any other platform.”
Let’s face it! We both love visual content. We like sharing great images and video clips with friends. We do this because what we see impacts us immediately and sometimes, for months and years.
Did you know that more than 70 million photos and videos are posted to Instagram every 24 hours?
Imagine yourself tapping into this pool of traffic (real humans with specific needs and passions) and not depend on the (Google) search engine ranking fluctuations or PPC bidding wars anymore.
See your website visitors, blog readers, mailing list subscribers and affiliate earnings increase, like clockwork.
This won’t happen overnight, but when it does, you can sit back, relax and reap the rewards. Then rise and repeat for next level growth. Awesome, right?
What does this tell us?
There’s a huge PROFIT opportunity here for any affiliate marketer, blogger and social media/SEO enthusiast or professional looking to take Instagram seriously.
It gets 15x more user engagement than Facebook and 40x more engagement than Twitter.
This doesn’t mean you should stop using anything else and simply jump on the bandwagon, blindfold like most people would do.
First, you have to master the basics. Once you experience with Intagram and see significant results, then you’ll know more about it than the majority of business owners and firms looking to start with this platform but have no clue how to go about it.
Thus, you can open the gates to an interesting profit center in your business or activity:
Instagram coaching and training.
Think beyond affiliate marketing. Next year you may be the go-to guy when it comes to Instagram for traffic and brand building.
You can do this internationally or locally. Also, you can…
Turn your affiliate marketing experience and results into coaching and training programs. See how John Gibb does it. This is yet another profit center to ponder about.
Who is this guide for:
- bloggers and content creators
- affiliate marketers
- social media trainers & consultants
- SEO specialists and niche site builders
- anybody else who’d want to squeeze traffic and profit from Instagram
Start with Instagram (and Do It Right)
You can spin your wheels trying this stuff on your own, with little to no outside inspiration or guidance, or you can learn from people who have been there and done it (and have PROOF to show it)
Tony Robbins says it best:
“If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results.”
You can be mentored or coached by an Instagram trainer, or – see exactly how successful people are already using their Instagram account and “spy” on their activity (this technique is 100% legit and more than worth it).
Here are 200+ Niche Experts and Influential People to Follow on Instagram (in Business, Fitness, Fashion, DIY and Wedding)
- The 29 best modern-day ‘Mad Men’ to follow on Instagram
- 17 CEOs and entrepreneurs to follow on Instagram
- 40 Incredible Entrepreneurs to Follow on Instagram
- The 30 Best Fitness Pros to Follow on Instagram
- 17 men’s fashion experts on Instagram who will inspire you to dress better
- 10 DIY Experts to Follow on Instagram
- 55+ Wedding Experts to Follow on Instagram Right Now!
- Top 50 Most Influential People to Follow on Instagram
- 50 Celebs To Follow on Instagram
See who you relate to the most and follow their strategies. At least, that’s a starting point.
Get familiar with Instagram before Diving in
Instagram is different than Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest or Linkedin.
This platform can be a gold mine for you and your brand if you first understand the community and how its users interact with each other and when they’re the most active.
Digital Strategist & Entrepreneur, Ross Simmonds, has created the ultimate Instagram guide for brands. While his work is not tailored to bloggers and affiliate marketers, you’ll find some quick-start tips that will help beginners get on the right path.
Brand Yourself // Create a Brandable (Eye-Catching) Profile
Your brand spreads your reputation and authority all over the web and beyond, so you have to create the proper brand identity and message.
When it comes to brand building, affiliate marketers need to pay close attention to this, particularly those who don’t even have a site or blog yet. It is the fundamental of any business.
Branding helps build your Reputation and grow your Authority in the field.
People who are merely promoting affiliate products without a brand foundation are leaving a ton of money on the table because they focus on short term gains.
Ask yourself these KEY 5 questions before building or reinventing your brand:
- Why are you online / why do you exist in your space?
- Why did you build your site / what makes you still be here 5 years in the future?
- What is your story / what is unique about you and your business?
- Why do you want others to listen to what you have to say? Why should we bother?
- How do you serve your target audience better than your competitors?
Instagram gives you the chance to build and grow your brand through your profile.
Before you do that, you’ll have to brainstorm on your own and further document yourself because ONLY you know the answer to these questions.
You have the opportunity and the responsibility to serve your market and do it better than anybody else.
Now, check this Instagram Profile Optimization Guide and Cheat Sheet
Brand building is essential particularly in a crowded marketplace where the fight for attention is tight. If you look and sound like every other affiliate or blogger, you stand no chance to get people hear you.
Since nobody pays attention to your message (visual content), how are you going to pull in traffic and sales?
Stand Out in a Noisy Content Highway!
Find your Niche (And Do It Right)
Whether you’re already blogging in a particular niche or you’re a skilled individual in a specific industry, the advice herein will help you take your established BRAND and SKILL next level or discover a new and more profitable path.
Read this first to understand how bloggers pick(ed) their own niche or found their passion.
Then, visit here for 101 resources to discover hot niche ideas. You never know when you could stumble upon a great idea, product or keyword worth selling/promoting.
Warning: spend some time finding your niche. A week or two may or may not be suffice. Most people are either too fast to pick anything that jumps at them or waste months and still not start.
Discover popular trends
If you’re into health, the 9th and 10th ideas are worth pursuing or at least taken into consideration.
Find Which Are the Most Used Hashtags:
Here you’ll find a list of the top 100 hashtags being used at any given time.
Instagram Hashtags are like keywords, so you need to understand which ones your target users are keen on.
Love is the #1 hastag listed on the site above as I’m writing this.
Think dating & relationships.
Other popular tags to check are in the travel, fashion, sports, health, games and business space.
Learn from eCommerce sites
“Here’s a trick that I use for my ecommerce businesses.
For every product and product category for my stores, I have done the keyword research to see which are the most popular Instagram hashtags around those product categories.
I came up with 15-20 popular hashtags for each category of products I sell, as well as a base of 5-10 popular tags that describe my brand and product offering overall.
Finally, I also created a list of popular local specific hashtags that relate to my brand.“
Select the Right Product to Promote on Instagram
Niche affiliate blogger, Stuart Walker, recommends evergreen markets such as health, wealth and romance. Also, hobby and activities that people spend lots of money in, as well as affiliate products and services which have high payouts.
Check the demographics
“The average Instagram user spends 21 minutes on the app per day” says Mark Zuckerberg.
Once you find your niche, then it’s time to analyze Instagram’s target audience // demographics // trends. You do this before you promote an affiliate product or offer.
That’s what brands are doing before advertising on this platform.
First, understand the general social media demographics.
I follow a ton of bloggers and niche site builders who have created mini blogs and authority sites promoting Amazon products. They are the ultimate inspiration for my own projects/sites.
Here are a few examples:
Because they’re world-wide known, have great conversions and while their commission structure is far from amazing, earnings will add up rapidly.
Your visual content (photos and videos) should TEACH your target audience the importance, benefits and advantages of whatever it is you’re promoting, without sounding like a used car salesman.
That’s why hard sell and spam is a NO on Instagram.
Once you have decided on a product to promote or network to run with it, stick to your decision.
Too many affiliates make the rookie mistake of joining more networks and programs than they can handle, just to end up with little to know commissions from their marketing efforts.
Stick with one program/network and start growing from there
Top affiliates I worked with or learned from have one thing in common. They all have their own mailing list/newsletter. The higher you grow (from a profit standpoint), the more (niche targeted) lists you should and will be building.
I call them micro lists because they’re serving a very particular audience and/or need.
Example: women who want to lose belly fat or teens who want to start a blog.
Quality beats quantity. That’s why you get to hear about affiliates with smaller lists win affiliate competitions, beating guys with much larger mailing lists.
For this reason alone, all affiliates need to learn and master this next step.
Build & Grow Your Mailing List (your #1 Asset)
There’s nothing more enticing than to see your lead numbers grow. If each subscriber is worth $1 per month to you, then there’s money to be made with lists + affiliate marketing.
How to start a mailing list
- The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Newsletter and Email List by Pat Flynn
- How to Start a Mailing List and Easily Add Opt-in Forms to Your Blog by Ramsay
- The Definitive Guide To Building An Email List From Scratch by Jayson DeMers
How to grow your mailing list with Instagram
1. Personalize your squeeze pages
Create a customized squeeze page for your mailing list and match the image / video that you share on Instagram with it. Meaning, the font and color should be the same.
You should also personalize your unsubscribe page. Here’s how Matt Garrett does it (what a clever way to get more clicks & sales to his offers)
2. Socialize like there’s no tomorrow
Most affiliates prefer to hide behind their computers and make millions. They would rather spam and leave their links everywhere they could instead of writing and sharing value-driven content. What a lame dream!
Online and on Instagram you have to connect with people, just like you’d do in real life. The more active you’re online, the more traffic, leads and sales you should be generating through visual content. Simple math.
“Interact with your community and go above and beyond. Reach out and follow a handful of cool people, discuss, talk, and comment.
If you love a photograph do not merely ‘like’ it, you should leave a fast comment regarding what it is that you like about it. It is likely the account owner is going to check out your account, as well, and perhaps become one of your followers.
But, do not become a serial commenter cutting and pasting ‘Cute!’ on a multitude of photographs. That isn’t actually cute, that is a waste of everybody’s time.”
Promote Top Affiliate Products on Instagram
Most people jump straight to this step, neglect the fundamentals, and wonder why their marketing sucks!
Once again, avoid spam and hard sell like the plague.
With visual content, you actually DO NOT promote a product, you…
SELL IDEAS and EVOKE EMOTIONS.
Educate first, promote later (on your blog and via your mailing lists) – that should be your mantra.
The strategy I love the most yet the majority of affiliates aren’t using it is this one.
Create Brandable Images to Boost Clicks and Drive Traffic
Listen closely. All images and videos you share on Instagram (and on all your social media accounts) should be brandable, meaning, they should include links back to your web site and landing page.
It is important that for each affiliate product or campaign you promote, you register a stand alone domain name (preferable EXACT MATCH) – so that you drive traffic through visual content to whatever affiliate LINK or web page you want.
A brandable domain name is proven to increase clicks.
Listen to this interview about…
Whether Exact match domains help with search engine rankings I don’t care.
What is key here is that you label your visual content with your own domain name URLs.
Pick a short and memorable domain name that reflects what you promote. That’s what will get you the clicks.
This works whether you have a one-page product review site, a product comparison blog with multiple pages, a huge authority site, an AboutMe.page or no site at all.
For example, to drive traffic to one of my web sites, I use my domain name URL at the bottom of all graphics I embed on my client’s ‘expert roundups’ blog posts.
You can even keep it stupid simple and re-direct your affiliate LINK to your exact match domain name and use it “as is” – without having to write or upload any content whatsoever.
Test, test and test some more.
When it comes to Instagram marketing, testing is all it matters.
Free image creation tools & resources
- 36 Free Tools for Creating Unique Images
- How to Get Backlinks With Guestographics
- 14 Online Tools for Visual Content Creation
- Adding a Watermark to Your Instagram Images
- 9 iPhone Photography Apps to Help you create better Instagram photos
Your visual content should be inspirational and motivational. Get people excited about your ideas.
See how others market online with visual content. Model on their strategies and create your own visual marketing campaigns.
I don’t care if you find inspiration in ads, brands or blogs related to your niche (or outside of it), for as long as you move forward, create new campaigns and test your marketing.
Share images and videos that show “before & after” results.
“When sharing your photographs, make sure to give a strong explanation of the photograph.
I often share information and my thoughts and feelings about the picture I’ve taken.
I give my followers insight into what I was thinking about when taking the shot and what the shot is about.
Don’t put up a photograph without information.
You want people to take action, but if they don’t know where the photograph was taken, how can they know where to go themselves.”
~ Dave & Deb, Full time Travel Couple: 100+ countries, 7 Continents.
Give away irresistible bonus items…
That complement the main offer if people buy through your affiliate link.
Create graphics and short video clips for each bonus you give away and showcase the benefits buyers get.
If the bonus is amazing and relevant to the main offer, then some people may order from your link/site just to grab your enticing bonus.
The question that arises is…
How to create the best bonus and should you do it alone?
Affiliate Bonus Examples
- Your own products or other people’s products
- Checklists, Cheat Sheets & Worksheets
- Case studies
- Quick Start/Accelerated Results Guides
- Software tools
- Email or Skype/Phone coaching & consulting
Next, let’s further expand on Instagram methods to drive more traffic and eye balls to your account/profile.
How to Get more Instagram Followers / Grow Your Tribe
You can pay for ads or incentivize celebrities, brands and influencers to share your photos/videos to their following OR…
You can grow your account on your own using pro tools, expert methods and proven strategies that we mention on this page.
Pete Burns says…
“Instagram revolves around communities of people who share a common interest.
The communities themselves exist around moderated hashtags. Hashtags are the cords that bind.
Behind the specific hashtags you’ll find administrators and groups of moderators who interact, share and regram. They facilitate conversations and promote imagery and photography”
In other words, human interaction pays dividends.
“Know your accounts and know your admins and moderators.
Instagram isn’t just about surface; it’s about building friendships and relationships.
Contribute to the community. Post. Comment. Like. Repeat.”
How to Boost Your Instagram Comments
Inspire your audience. Make them feel great about themselves.
Share before and after case studies of people using the products which you’re promoting.
Post life and motivational quotes in graphic/video format.
Try this app…
Comment King for Instagram – it helps get comments & likes on insta photos & boost your followers fast.
Build your Instagram Following (3 minutes, every day)
“Do a hashtag search (found in the ‘Explore’ section of the app) and follow 30-50 users who are in your niche, every day.
Or, find some niche users in your industry and start following the users that liked their pictures. The key is to find the engaging users.
They will most likely be the ones that follow back. But do not follow more than 50 users per day.
Over time, with more people following back, your profile will become authoritative and folks won’t be apprehensive to follow.”
Automate Your Engagement
While most people love saving time and boosting profit, automation is a key and subtle aspect. You don’t want to spam or pretend you’re active on Instagram when you’re not.
You can play with automation on Instagram and see how it affects your brand and bottom line.
Use this web-based tool to automate liking photos, following users and/or commenting on photos.
How to engage like a pro
“By analyzing my account data on Statigr.am, I learned that by liking hundreds of photos of individuals that weren’t my followers, not only did I increase the number of my followers, but I also had people from outside of my friends’ network liking my photos.
Because I was liking hundreds of photos a day from random accounts that I didn’t follow, 43.26% of all my likes and 31% of all comments on my photos came from people who weren’t my followers.”
If I am promoting a health related supplement (John Gibb is a big fan of these), then I ensure to engage with people in this space. Individuals like nutrition enthusiasts, fitness experts and food bloggers for example.
“Telling stories makes you plain stand out from the crowd. People love a great story, whether reading it through Instagram or through any channel.
I tell a blogging from paradise story, full of travel pictures, laughing, smiling and unique experiences from the tropics, as well as a few other areas too. TV, movies, songs, and so many forms of entertainment focus on telling stories, which is why these mediums are so popular.
If you can simply get clear on your brand’s story Instagram offers you a medium through which you can speak the story, through eye candy.
For me, sharing my travels and explaining how I prosper, and the fruits of my work, are working nicely. “
Best Time to Post on Instagram
“From analyzing 46 users and over 1,000 photos on Statigr.am, I’ve determined that Monday at 5 PM, PST, is the best time to post a photo. That is when you are most likely to get the greatest number of comments and likes on your photos.
The second most popular time to post a photo is either on Wednesday or Thursday at 3 PM, PST.” ~ Neil Patel
Use YouTube with Instagram. It’s an incredible combo.
I like Gary Vaynerchuk’s Ask Gary Vee show a lot. He gives people the chance to ask questions via Twitter and some of these questions are answered in video format.
That’s one way to build your Instagram/YouTube following and grow your brand/profit.
Take this strategy further:
Create an instavideo
“You’d be amazed at how much you can showcase in just 15 seconds of an Instagram video also known as an #Instavideo. Apps such as VideoCollage and Instavid allow you to create collages with Instagram videos.
The Overvideo app takes it up a notch with the ability to add text and music to Instagram videos. Embed and Instagram video into a related blog post to get even more eyes on your work.”
Create a photo collage
Instaframe (now LiPix) allows you to create amazing photo collages, which you can share across multiple social platforms.
Link your Instagram posts to your Twitter account and Facebook page.
You want to be able to still post to your Instagram account while you’re not available on your mobile or laptop, right?
There are quite a few tools claiming to schedule the posts. Sadly, you can’t post through them automatically, so they’re no good. There are two services which work the way you want though: this and this one.
You can read a few quick tips on how to use these right here.
NOTE: just because you can schedule posts, this does not mean you should fully automate your approach; Instagram is about one-on-one, live engagement – just like any other social or mobile platform.
There’s a great discussion on Quora going on about the topic.
“Set up a schedule. Instagram marketing is not a set up your account and post one photo a month and think that you are going to gain massive amounts of real, loyal followers and fans.
It is going to take a little effort & strategy to gain and maintain followers.
Best Instagram Analytics Tools
“If you can’t measure it you can’t improve it” ~ Peter Drucker
Before we talk about tools, here are 8 Metrics You Need to Monitor.
Some of the most important Instagram metrics to analyze are:
- Follower growth rate
- Instagram likes and comments against current followers count
- Engagement per post
- Clickthroughs on URLs
- Best day/time to post
The best analytics tools for Instagram:
With Iconosqaure.com (used by Neil Patel) you get access to your total number of likes received, your most liked photos ever, your average number of likes and comments per photo, your follower growth charts and more.
SocialRank.com allows to identify, organize, and manage your followers on Twitter and Instagram.
Special Case Study
Instagram, oh glorious Instagram!
It is my very favourite social media I have to admit. Not only because the beauty of the world you can observe in every picture but mainly because of great community of IG-ers.
I owe my success to really simple actions. There won’t be the discovering of America here.
I have reached 10k from 0 in 3 months with only a handful of pictures.
I post good pictures, this is what I’m told as I treat photography as a hobby I never really study about.
I’m super active, always answer to every comment, like other people stuff, follow interesting profiles, comment back and spend a lot of time on IG every morning and evening.
I will try to explain step after step what really works for me.
Good pictures are a key. We all know that.
My best pictures achieve more than 3000 likes and that is a huge achievement for someone who only has 13k followers, only biggest travel bloggers have this kind of success and they have much more followers than myself.
My engagement rate is quiet extraordinary I have been told.
I owe this to my amazing followers but as well to being super active on other people profiles.
No spam of course, not comments such as: ‘come and see my profile’, nothing like that, just liking and commenting on pictures I like.
My most liked picture is picture I took when I was skiing in Italy…
I think I have many better pictures on IG but maybe it has something to do with theory that pictures in blue shades are most popular on IG!?!?
Another thing is that I do achieve a great level of comments on my pictures, that is mainly thanks to writing long descriptions and starting interesting conversations in each picture (or at least that is what I try to do).
Let’s take my most commented picture …
I think that I have touched a very hot subject here… selfies/pictures of solo travellers and therefore the conversation went of the hook.
And of course some comments are just ‘admiration comments’ as I call them, but most of comments in this particular picture are serious opinions and real conversation.
The reason why my comments section is so active it is because I answer all comments and continue the subject, etc.
As they say, if you want to have a real conversation you have to start one.
If you do not ask questions to form opinions the comments you get will always be only ‘admiration comments’.
Another thing, which you need in my opinion, is something that will be unique, quirky and so memorable that it will stick in people’s minds.
Taking good pictures is a key, but let’s be honest, there is a handful of people who take amazing pictures and they have small profiles, because I will tell you that it is not only about good pictures but as well about a lot of hard work, being systematic, present and proactive.
And having something special. My something special, which really sticks in people’s mind is my #peartreeseries every Monday.
On Mondays I post a picture of a tree from my home, which I photographed over years.
There is an interesting story of my OCD behind this; it is a symbol of my connection with Poland and my big unconditional love for the beauty of my homeland.
People really love it and when I sometimes forget or skip for some strange reason, my followers call me on it, ask what happen etc.… so they are all waiting for Monday and my pear tree picture.
Another important thing in my opinion it is establishing some kind of a theme for your gallery. I think that profiles, which form kind of a gallery, do much better on IG.
Mine is super colorful pictures with long stories.
When you go to my profile you can sense some kind of unity, each picture goes together with any other picture from my gallery.
And last but not least thing that really is a big success and helping to establish my brand on IG is creating my own #mytravelaffars.
I underline in my profile descriptions that using my # get you a chance to be featured on my profile on Friday and having some extra eyes on your pictures and profile, it is working great as of now.
So post amazing pictures, start interesting conversations, be unique, be active, appreciate your community and you will rock Instagram.
PS. I offer Instagram consultations if you still do not know where to start and how to take your IG to another level.
YOU HAVE NO EXCUSES – START WITH INSTAGRAM NOW!
This Instagram for Affiliate Marketing guide is built on the same principles of Instagram for Business. Your ultimate goal should be to:
- Share true value through visual content
- Engage in an authentic manner with your followers (comment on & like their content)
- Meet people on a regular basis (turn strangers into raving fans)
Traffic, leads and sales will follow.
If everything you’ve tried failed, then Figure it Out
I encourage you to leave your ‘Instagram for affiliate marketing’ comments and questions below.
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