In this fascinating Guide, our Guest Contributor and Digital Marketing Expert, Nikola Roza shares proven, actionable tips and strategies plus some intriguing tricks for effective influencer affiliate marketing!
Influencer affiliate marketing! If you’re confused about the term and don’t know what it means, keep reading as my guide will spill the beans.
And if you know what it is, and you typed the phrase into Google hoping to find actionable strategies to make influencer affiliate marketing work for you…
Then stay on the page because it has all the info you crave plus much more.
What is Influencer Affiliate Marketing Exactly? (+Glossary of Important Terms)
Influencer affiliate marketing can be defined in 2 ways.
The first is from influencers’ point of view and it’s:
“Influencer affiliate marketing is an advertising model where influencers promote products and services in exchange for a share of profits generated (affiliate commissions)”.
The second definition is from the brand’s point of view and it is:
“Influencer affiliate marketing is a way for big brands to tap into new audiences with the help of influencers who have privileged access to said large groups of people.
The branding effect + direct sales they make from new sales is more than enough to offset the cost of affiliate commissions paid to influencers.”
Those were the definitions, and here’s a glossary of terms.
Influencer Affiliate Marketing- Glossary of Terms
- Affiliate marketing- affiliate marketing is the process of making money online by promoting other people’s products and services.
- Affiliate– Influencer whose in partnership with Brand X and promoting their products and services in exchange for commissions.
- Influencer– Someone with a large and devoted following on one or more platforms. Their opinions and recommendations are held in high regard by their triibe.
- Nano influencers– They have between 1-10k followers on one of more platforms.
- Micro influencers– they have between 10-100k followers on one or more platforms.
- Macro influencers– they have 100k+ followers and are notoriously hard to get a hold of.
- KOL (key opinion leaders)- special type of influencers. They’re highly trusted, but are often not interested in promoting anything. They will however push a product, service or cause they truly believe in. Often for free!
- Engagement– likes, shares comments and reshares influencers get on their social postings. This is a key metric when deciding whether or not to work with an influencer.
- Social proof– psychological hack to get people to buy more. If they can’t decide what to do, they’ll do what lots others have done before them.
- Followers– number of people who follow influencer X on one or more platforms.
Influencer Affiliate Marketing- Are You a Brand or an Influencer?
You’ve read the definitions and you’ve perused the glossary.
So tell me…
Do you now know what influencer affiliate marketing is?
I ask because now we’re getting into the nitty gritty of this guide and next, I’ll show you how to approach influencer affiliate marketing based on whether you’re an influencer looking to partner with a brand.
Or based on you being a brand looking for strategic relationships with influencers in your niche.
Influencer Affiliate Marketing- The Influencer POV (Point of View)
Note: we’ll use Instagram and Instagram influencers as an example for this guide. It’s because Instagram is THE platform when it comes to influencer marketing.
In fact, 80% of all influencers are Instagram influencers.
That said, the tactics you’ll learn here apply to other platforms as well, including YouTube and Tik Tok.
4 Rules to Follow As an Influencer To Find Success in Affiliate Marketing
This is what you must do to succeed. If you don’t, you’ll fail and even worse, the mistakes you make will tarnish your reputation and alienate even your most devoted followers.
Rule #1- Promote Only Relevant Products
This is a hard must.
You MUST promote products within your niche and within your niche only.
This will make your promotions genuine and real, your followers will trust your advice, and you’ll actually be able to make sales off your recommendations.
So, for example, if you’re a lifestyle Influencer, you CAN promote special anti-dandruff shampoo. You CAN show off new shades some sunglasses company sent you.
You CAN brag about the new travel bag brand X sent you, so you CAN pack up your bags and go to resort Y which you were given free tickets to in exchange for a shoutout.
That’s all perfectly fine.
What you shouldn’t be promoting is video games, internet marketing tools, get rich quick schemes, etc
I trust you get the point.
#2- Promote the Product You Use Or have Used Before
Instagram content format is dead simple, only pretty images with text blurbs on the right upper side.
This visual format makes it mandatory for you to showcase the product you’re pushing.
Your tribe needs to see you wearing or using something you’re promoting to them.
That’s the basic, first step.
The second and highly recommended step is to actually use the product or service in your daily life, or to help run your business.
And if you can’t use it, at least try it out extensively.
Because your experience with the product will shine through in your image descriptions where you’ll be able to nudge people to buy by telling them how it helped you accomplish X Y or Z.
#3- Properly Disclose Affiliate links
According to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) all affiliate links, regardless of platform, must be properly disclosed so that users can easily recognize a paid link when they see one.
The good news is that they give you a lot of freedom on how to do this. You can use bracketed disclaimers like these:
- (paid link);
Or you can simply write it’s an affiliate link close to your CTA that’s inviting them to buy.
This is what Ashely Spivey regularly does in her Instagram stories.
Note: check out Pedro’s affiliate link promotion guide to see a bunch of cool examples on disclosing affiliate links properly.
#4- Be purposeful With Your Affiliate Link Placements on Instagram
When I say you should be purposeful, I mean you need to place links accordingly and based on your goals.
For example, Instagram allows only one outbound link in your entire profile. So it makes sense to use your most important affiliate link there.
Next, if you have more than 10 000 followers, then make sure you post affiliate links in your Instagram Stories, as it’s so easy to tell them to click a link and a percentage of people watching always will.
Note: the caveat to this is that you can’t abuse your Stories.
Because they’re a daily feature on your profile, if each one promotes something, your engagement rate will plummet so fast you’ll wonder what happened.
Next, make sure you add links to your Instagram descriptions. Yes, they’ll be naked URLs and non clickable, but you can let your tribe know they can simply copy paste the link into their browser’s search bar.
Finally, there’s IGTV descriptions which let you add many links, including your affiliate links.
Here an example below
Bottom line, as a successful influencer you have the opportunity to make money off your affiliate links and help your audience find products and services they need.
So you definitely should engage in influencer affiliate marketing.
However, you need to be very deliberate about what you promote, and how you promote it.
Be smart about it, reap the rewards and never forget to track what’s working and what’s not so you can reiterate your strategy over time.
Influencer Affiliate Marketing- The Brand’s POV (Point of View)
If you’re a brand then you should be tapping into the power of influencer marketing
Learn why below. Plus some tips and hacks to make it work for you.
4 Reasons Why You Need to Work With Influencers Starting Today!
#1- Influencers Are the Best Social Proof There is
Social proof for brands is when they can show and prove users love their product.
It’s powerful because it can sway those who’re close to making a buying decision, but not there yet.
A step beyond common social proof is when they can show influencer X is absolutely enchanted with their products and services.
Having this powerful testimony displayed prominently on the site helps build deeper trust with old fan base while also attracting the fans of siad influencers.
#2- Influcers Create Engaging Content
They don’t just create it, they thrive on it.
In fact, engaging content is how they built their following and influence.
If they start promoting your product in earnest, you can bet it’s going to be with high quality content that will get engagement like crazy.
And engagement for them= brand awareness for you.
Brand awareness is the first step, beyond which lie interest, desire to own and finally and becoming a customer.
#3- Influencers Give Genuine Promotion. One that’s the Exact Opposite of Salesy
Think about it.
No influencer is going to jeopardize their name and empire they’ve built by being too salesy, promoting anything and everything, and possibly getting criticized they’re all about the money.
Instead,they’ll find a way to include your product in the most natural manner possible.
So yes, they’ll post those Instagram images of them using the product.
But, if they have a presence on other platforms, don’t be surprised if they create how-to guides, reviews, YouTube videos, webinars, and in-depth tutorials around your product.
All that content flood screams genuine and also has the potential to bring you leads and sales long after the peak of influencer campaign has passed.
#4- Influencers Give You Exposure to New and Passionate Audiences
How many people are there in the world who could benefit from your services if only they knew your brand existed?
But it’s certainly a lot. As a one brand team you can only reach so many people, no matter your marketing budget.
But if you partner with an influencer in your niche, you can achieve instant exposure to new audiences who right now are clueless about your brand and who’ve never heard of you.
This is especially true when working with nano and micro influencers.
Because, even though they have limited reach, their tribe is super devoted to them and dote on their every word.
How to Find Influencers to Work With?
Though there are tools that claim they can help you find the perfect influencers to work with, I’m a strong advocate of good ol’ manual research.
Nothing beats you grinding it out for a few hours and coming up with a shortlist of potential candidates for your partnership.
As to how to find them, it depends on the platform.
If you wanted to partner with a YouTube influencer, you’d go and search for videos within your niche.
Examine the result and especially the channels behind them
It’ll be pretty easy to spot influencers as they’ll have professionally done videos, huge followings, and plenty of engagement in their video comment section.
If you’re looking for big time bloggers to partner with, then take a list of keywords, run it through Google and jot down the results that appear in the first 3-5 postings for each query.
As you do this more and more you’ll start to notice that a group of sites tend to show up again and again.
These are the authorities in your niche and you’ll want to get a hold of them for a potential deal.
And If you want to find Instagram influencers, then all you need to do is find one popular person in your niche.
Then go through their follower list one by one until you find someone worth partnering with
Remembr, you’re looking for an influencer that regularly posts content, has decent following and gets high engagement on their posts.
More on ways of vetting influencers below…
How to Get Influencers As Your Brand’s Affiliates (Tutorial)
Finding influencers to partner with is a multi-step, involved process
First, you need to weed out fake influencers from real one.
Then you need to convince them to promote your brand.
How To Spot Fake Influencers So You Can Avoid Them
Here are some guidelines to follow so you partner up with influencers whose help can really move your business forward.
Don’t waste your time on fakers!
#1- Check The Number of Followers and Track Audience Growth Over Time
The number of followers influencer has directly correlates with the reach the have.
Or so the theory goes.
In reality, influencers buy fake followers, link and use engagement pods to swell up their account numbers in hopes of getting picked as an affiliate partner.
For example, this gig from Fiverr lets you buy 7000 “real followers” for just $5.
Those will obviously be real followers with genuine interest in your brand 🙂
Of course you know I’m just kidding, right?
The easiest way for you to avoid working with the wrong person is to see their follower growth graph over time.
If there are large spikes that don’t coincide with some brilliant stunt the influencer pulled, then you know something’s fishy there.
I suggest you use NapoleonCat to see the follower growth of any account.
They’re a premium app but have a 14-day free trial, which is more time than you need.
And you don’t need to add in credit card details.
Pro tip- an easy way to see the real sway someone has over their audience is to see the number of likes and comments on their Instagram feed.
If they have hundreds of thousands of followers but can’t scrape more than a few dozen likes per post, then their audience consists mostly of bots.
But even if not.
Even if it’s all real people with real accounts, low engagement should be a clear dealbreaker for you.
#2- Check Their Interactions With Other Influencers
As it turns out, the influencer world is pretty small.
They all know each other, and they all collaborate and share their audiences extensively.
It’s a proven way of growth for them.
But it’s an easy way for you to distinguish between fake influencers and the real thing.
If you see influencer X is attending events that gather their industry’s peers; if you notice they’ve collaborated with other accounts in the past and present, then that’s strong proof they’re legit.
However if you notice an influencer who lacks the above and yet they have a million followers, then it’s a sign those were bought accounts and bot accounts;
Online, no one can grow by themselves and collaboration is key for rapid and massive success.
So, You’ve Found Your Ideal Influencer, Now What (5 Strategies)?
Now that you’ve picked the best person for your next campaign, it’s time to get in touch with them and make arrangements.
#1- Check To See If They’re Not Partnered With a Rival Brand
Ideally, you want to pick influencers who’ll work with you and with you only.
That way you’ll get the maximum value from them as their exclusive audience’s attention will be solely on your brand.
However, that’s not always possible and you have 3 options remaining if your influencer is already promoting some other brand.
#1- Give up on Them
I know this is not what you want to hear, but it is an option to take, especially if you have many other influencers to pitch, and you can’t work with everyone.
In that case focus on those who’ll focus solely on promoting your product.
#2- Persuade Them to Change Sides
Take a look at how they’re promoting the rival brand.
Are they pushing them in every post and via their Instagram bio link?
If yes, it’s going to be hard to convince them to switch camps, because they’re obviously highly incentivized by this point.
But, if they promoted your competitor a long time ago, and in their newer posts there’s not a whiff of that partnership;
it means it was a one-time thing and that said influencer is free as a bird to connect with other brands as they see fit.
Definitely offer them a free trial of your product or service to see if you can tie them to your brand permanently.
#3- Contact the Influencer regardless
If the influencer has a big following and you really want to have a slice of that audience for yourself, then neglect that they’re promoting both brands.
Join in and take your slice of that market regardless.
This will at least even the playfield between you and your competitor.
Now that you’ve decided on the influencer it’s time to let them know they’re the lucky winner 🙂
#2- Reach Out to Them
The easiest way to reach out to an influencer is to find their email address on their website.
Most influencers will have active websites.
Partly because they want to capture and secure their brand name across different platforms; and partly because a website is another way to get found online.
I suggest you use Hunter.io, a Chrome extension that gives you 50 free searches per month. With Hunter on your side, finding emails is a breeze and I find it works 95% of the time.
On the rare occasions when Hunter can’t help you, I suggest you turn to direct messaging on Twitter and Facebook.
Even if influencers don’t invest a tonne of time and energy into growing those accounts, they’ll at least keep them active and will regularly check their DM’s.
I especially like Twitter because you can send DM’s to people who’ve never heard of you.
And besides that you can send a direct tweet to go along with your DM.
#3- Offer a Co-Branded Landing Page for Them
One way to really personalize your relationship with the influence and sweeten the deal is to give them a dedicated landing page just for their followers.
That landing page will feature the branding of both the influencer and their merchant and will be designed to specifically talk to their audience
This hyper relevance will translate to better engagement and the influence will feel good about making them feel special in front of their followers.
For example, you can see in the image below that Framebridge has created a dedicated landing page just for listeners of Gretchen Rubin’s podcast Happier.
#4- Offer Free Content for Them To Include
Giving out free content is another way to convince an influencer to start working with you.
Everyone loves getting free quality stuff, including influencers who often get very busy and stressed out with the amount of work on their daily plate.
If you can create some quality content for them, and send it for free for them to post, they’ll be over the Moon happy.
There are some guidelines though.
The content you send must be high quality. It can’t be overly branded and shouldn’t be too promotional.
So do your research before sending anything.
#5- Offer Them a Custom Commission Structure
Nothing will convince an influencer to work with you faster than offering them a unique-to-them, higher-than-normal commission rate.
This shows you respect them and are serious about partnering up.
It’s a proven strategy that works, but… one that might not work for you.
Before you offer this attractive incentive you need to calculate how high you can go while still maintaining profitability
After all, there’s no sense in paying someone so much that the sales they accrue for you contribute to getting you out of the financial hole you fell into when you offered higher commission rates.
No, any agreement you make with anyone must be profitable to both parties.
Speaking of Paying, there Are Other Ways To Pay an Influencer…
Influencers who want to enter an affiliate partnership with your brand will have to be paid affiliate commissions.
That’s the agreement.
But there are still a couple of ways for you to pay them while potentially keeping more money for your brand.
#1- Give Them a Free Product
Sometimes, an influencer might be so enamored with your brand that they’ll want tp promote you free of charge, in exchange for a hefty supply of your newest hot product.
If you encounter an opportunity like that, make sure you seize it as it’s very profitable.
But this is pretty rare.
Most influencers, especially bigger ones, will want monetary compensation for their work.
#2- Pay Per Post
In this payment model you pay for every post the influencer makes about your brand.
Posts can be just a simple tweet, or it can be a YouTube video, blog post review, instagram post, Tik Tok video….
And how much you’ll pay depends on the influence’s fan size they average engagement
Here’ are some stats that show how much you’ll pay if you go this route
#3- Bundle Pricing
Bundle pricing is when you offer an influencer a fee for a specific number of posts across different channels.
This is best suited for working with influencers with strong presence on several platforms.
#4- Cost Per Engagement (CPE)
Finally, we have the CPE model where you pay influencers based on engagement their posts get.
Engagement can be anything from a trial sign up to form completion to actually buying the product.
This model is very similar to the affiliate payment model because you won’t be paying upfront, but only on results the influencer delivers.
Influencer Affiliate Marketing FAQ- All Your Questions Answered!
Influencer affiliate marketing is a comprehensive topic and influencers and brands alike are racing to ask questions about it on Quora.
I’ve scooped up the best ones for you so you don’t waste time hunting for them yourself.
Instead, read it here on Pedro’s Astute Copy Blogging.
#1- Are Affiliate Marketing and Influencer Marketing the Same Thing?
No, they are not.
Anyone can do affiliate marketing, even if they start today and from a brand new WordPress blog.
While only influencers can engage in high profile influencer affiliate marketing with brands that want to work with them.
#2- How Much Do Influencers Make From Affiliate Links?
It’s hard to predict.
How much they make depends on the size of their following, the attractiveness of the affiliate offer and the engagement they get promoting affiliate offers.
A small time nano influencer with a raving tribe and superb offer can make a killing; while a big macro influencer who promotes anything and everything, with a ton of followers and low engagement might not make much at all.
So the honest answer is- I don’t know.
However, I know that in affiliate marketing as a whole, new affiliate marketers make ZERO dollars.
Mid-tier affiliates make between $1 000/mo and $10 000/mo and high profile bloggers and influencers earn +$100 000/mo.
I’m sure it’s similar with influencer partner marketing.
#3- What is the Best Influencer Affiliate Marketing Strategy?
If you’re a brand, only work with verified influencers.
Don’t make a mistake of working with someone whose followers are mostly fake, or with someone who gets negligible engagement on their posts.
If you do, your campaign will be a flop and you will have wasted time and resources.
Pro tip– also don’t work with controversial influencers. They might get extremely high engagement on all their postings but it’s usually not worth it, especially in the long run.
Because people will learn to associate that influencer with your brand and with abundant negative connotations too.
Even if you stop working with said influencer, that negative connection will stick and work against you long term.
If you’re an influencer, my best tip is to only promote products you love and use every day.
Those you’d promote for free because they’re so good and high quality.
#4- Is Instagram the Best Platform for Influencer Affiliate Marketing?
I’m sure plenty of folks would disagree, especially those crazy YouTube and Tik Tok aficionados:)
But I do think Instagram is a perfect platform for this type of marketing. Because of 3 easons:
First, Instagram is a highly visual platform and perfect for showcasing your product in all its splendour.
Second, there are already a ton of established influencers and influencer affiliate marketing is already a thing on Instagram.
So you won’t need to go back and forth with the influencer explaining to them in great detail what they need to do and what’s expected of them.
Third, Instagram posts are relatively primed for conversion. I say that because a post is an image with image description. And that’s it.
There’s not a lot going on compared to other platforms, especially YouTube where the sidebar videos detract from the video itself, let alone from video description where you affiliate links will be.
#5- What Are The Top Affiliate Marketing Influencers?
The most successful affiliates and influencers are:
• Pat Flynn;
• Rae Hofmann;
• Mark Ling;
• Christy McCubbain;
• Charles Ngo;
• Shawn Collins;
These are all people making well over $100,000/mo.
#6- What is the Best Influencer Affiliate Program?
What will turn out to be the best influencer affiliate marketing program depends on the influencer, and especially their niche.
Not all affiliate networks host all types of programs and most specialize in only a handful of niches.
For example, rewardStyle and Shopstyle are best suited for fashion and lifestyle influencers.
While Clikcbank will be the best bet for those whose niche is sufficiently broad as Clickbank hosts everything, from dating, to video games, to internet marketing.
Some of the most popular affiliate programs are:
• ShareaSale by AWIN;
• CJ Affiliate;
• Impact Radius;
Concluding My Influencer Affiliate Marketing Guide for 2022…
Influencer affiliate marketing is worth it.
If you’re an influencer and you want to make more money off your large and dedicated following, then make sure you respond and engage with brands when they reach out to you asking to promote them.
Just ensure that whatever you promote is high quality and helpful to any one of your followers who buy.
And if you’re a brand who’s not doing any collabs with niche influencers, then let me ask you…
What are you waiting for?
While you’re standing on the sidelines some competitor of yours is reaching new audiences making more and more money, and investing that money back into their business.
If you’re late now and you continue to be tardy, it might just be too late for you to catch up to them and stay competitive.
Prevent that from happening, start today.
Engage in wholesome influencer affiliate marketing and make it a part of your overall digital marketing strategy
It’ll be worth it and your brand will be stronger because of it.
Thank you for reading.
If you have a question or more about Influencer affiliate marketing, make sure you shoot them in the comment section which you can access by clicking below.
Disclosure of material connection
Some of the links in this article are “affiliate links” as defined by the FTC. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Astute Copy Blogging will receive an affiliate commission, at no additional cost to you. However, please note that we only recommend the best products and services.
Join The Conversation
Hi Nikola Roza, Good Day A well-detailed guide as usual. I loved this. As you said, affiliate marketing isn’t a marathon. That’s right. To be successful in affiliate marketing, you first need to publish high-quality content and get some good blog traffic. And then you need to build a community around your blog. After that, you’ll be successful in affiliate marketing.
Malaika Archer says
So many nuggets in this piece. Thank you for sharing.