Last year, Instagram surpassed one billion users worldwide. The app is becoming more popular than Facebook amongst adults aged 25 to 34, and it reaches more than 140 million U.S. users.

For businesses, Instagram has proven to be a highly profitable tool, generating over $18 billion in ad sales in 2020. Much of its advertising success has come from the presence of influencers — people with the ability to affect the buying decisions of others. Influencers help increase brand awareness by reaching higher numbers of targeted consumers.

Partnering with influencers on Instagram is a great way to get your brand in front of a larger audience. However, recruiting Instagram influencers requires careful planning and strategizing. In this article, we’ll discuss how to get affiliates using Instagram and why the social media platform is a valuable tool for affiliate marketing.

Understanding the Benefits of Influencer Marketing

Traditional ads are becoming less effective due to banner blindness, a phenomenon in which users ignore ads that disrupt their viewing experience. With users being more likely to scroll past ads on websites or within mobile apps, advertisers have had to find new ways to reach potential consumers.

That is why influencer marketing has become such a valuable marketing tool. Studies show that 72% of shoppers make purchasing decisions based on user-generated content. Promoting a product through user-generated content feels less like a sales pitch and more like a recommendation from a trusted friend.

How to Find Affiliate Marketers for Your Product

Searching for influencers on Instagram isn’t as simple as opening the app and finding users with the largest number of followers. There are a few steps you should follow to ensure a smooth partnership with your influencers.

Define Your Goals

Whether you simply want to drive more traffic to your website or sell a specific number of products within a certain time frame, you should know what your goals are before you start reaching out to affiliates. You won’t be able to determine your affiliates’ success if you don’t have metrics to measure them against.

When you know what your goals are, you’ll also be able to seek out the influencers that can help you achieve them, rather than trying to recruit anyone with a large following. 

Look up Accounts in Your Niche

When recruiting influencers into your affiliate marketing program, find ones that can reach consumers looking for products like yours. A beauty influencer who doesn’t work out probably won’t be successful in promoting a protein supplement.

Use hashtags to find people who talk about topics related to your products and services. Look at who they follow and try to find accounts similar to theirs. You can even use Google to search for sites and blogs in your industry. You should be able to find their Instagram profiles linked on their websites.

If you’d like to take it one step further, use a backlinks checker such as Moz or Ahrefs. By studying the backlinks profile of an influencer’s website, you can see who links to their site and find other people in your niche that may also have strong Instagram followings.

Find Influencers With Lower Follower Counts

You may think that the more Instagram followers someone has, the more sales they’ll be able to generate for you. While it makes sense in theory, the opposite is often true.

Mega-influencers with more than 100,000 followers tend to be viewed more as celebrities than everyday consumers. They certainly can increase awareness for your brand, but they also have lower engagement rates than influencers with fewer followers.

Micro-influencers, on the other hand, have between 10,000 and 100,000 followers. They come across as more authentic and relatable, and their posts are seen by a higher percentage of people. Their followers are more likely to believe that they’ve used a product before endorsing it.

A step below micro-influencers is nano-influencers, who have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers. They aren’t able to reach the same amount of people as mega- or micro-influencers, but their followers tend to be more loyal and genuine.

People with fewer followers don’t receive as many sponsorship requests, so they’ll likely be more appreciative of the opportunity to promote your brand.

Analyze the Influencer’s Posts and Engagements

Instead of focusing solely on an influencer’s follower count, you should also look at their feed. Check if their tone of voice aligns with yours. Are their images and graphics high-quality, too? You should search for influencers whose aesthetics mimic the look you’re trying to achieve with your brand.

Analyze their engagements as well. Do they have a high follower count but low numbers of likes and comments? If so, it could be a sign that their followers aren’t interested in their content.

Check the influencer’s organic feed. Do they frequently post controversial statements? Find out if they’ve ever said anything that is in opposition to your company’s values. When choosing influencers that will be representing your brand, make sure that their values align with yours. If they become the center of a PR nightmare, it could affect your brand’s reputation as well.

Review the comments the influencer receives and how they respond. Do they get comments from many trolls, or do their commenters ask thought-provoking questions and share valuable insight? Observe how the influencer responds, too. 

Are they rude and dismissive or gracious and appreciative? Ensure that they conduct themselves in a professional manner, which will be important when they talk to their followers about your brand.

Make Sure Your Instagram Profile Looks Good

Once you start making contact with Instagram influencers, they should view you as a reputable company. They won’t want to partner with you if your profile contains outdated information or you haven’t posted anything in over a year.

More importantly, when potential customers visit your profile from an influencer’s post, you don’t want to drive them away with sloppy graphics and an inconsistent tone of voice.

If you currently have a less-than-stellar Instagram presence, start cleaning it up. Post new information three to five times per week, use relevant hashtags, update your profile photo, and write a strong bio highlighting some interesting facts about your company. When you have a solid Instagram profile, both influencers and consumers will take you more seriously.

Pitching Your Affiliate Program to Influencers

Having a strong pitch is a crucial component in getting influencers to work with you. A lot of influencers, especially mega- and micro-influencers, receive many sponsorship requests. They are also busy people, and they receive tons of messages from their followers every day. Your message needs to stand out.

Get on Their Radar

Before you contact an influencer, follow them for a few days. Like and comment on their posts so you can put yourself on their radar. If you engage with them before sending them a message, they’ll be more likely to recognize your name and respond to your pitch.

Figure Out How to Contact Them

You can either send direct messages to influencers through Instagram or contact them via email. Some influencers have blogs or websites that they link to in their bios, where you can find their email addresses. Their bios may also contain instructions on how to contact them for partnership opportunities. 

Personalize Your Initial Message

Every message you send to an influencer should be personalized. You can create a template, so you don’t have to start from scratch every time, but each message should begin with the influencer’s name and a reference to something they’ve done recently. If they’ve just released a new podcast or published a new blog post, share your thoughts on their content.

After that, explain what made you want to reach out to them and why you think they’ll be a good ambassador for your company. Make sure your pitch is clear and concise.

Give Them All the Information They Need

Explain the benefits they’ll receive from working with you but keep it simple.

End with a call-to-action, so they know what to do next. Whether you’d like them to respond directly to you or send an email to someone else on your team, make sure their next steps are clear.

Follow Up

You should also have a follow-up message prepared in case they don’t respond to your initial outreach. Give them up to five days to respond, then send a friendly reminder reiterating your offer. You can send a second follow-up if they still don’t respond, but don’t be pushy or intrusive. If you don’t hear from them after that, move on to another opportunity.

Monitoring and Optimizing Your Affiliate Marketing Program

For an affiliate marketing program to be successful, you’ll need to frequently monitor and track its progress. Our intuitive dashboards allow you to see clicks, leads, and sales in one place, making it easy for you to track the performance of all of your Instagram affiliates.