“What in the world are all those crazy links I see on people’s Instagram posts?”
As a blogger, I get this question all the time! The short version of the answer to that question is: “It’s an embedded hyperlink that allows you to shop a blogger’s look directly from your email!” However, the short answer is sometimes just as confusing as the idea itself! Ugh! So, I thought I would take some time and explain what exactly they mean, and how you (as everyday fashionistas with real lives) can benefit from them!
Let’s start with the big picture. The only thing those weird, shortened links mean is that the blogger or individual you follow has an “affiliate account” with one of two companies! ShopStyle and LIKEtoKNOW.it are the two brand accounts that professionals often work with!
But what is an affiliate account? It is an online hub with several retailers participating (including Nordstrom, Free People, and Sam Edleman) that bloggers become a member of. It’s a way for bloggers to monetize their looks and helps generate an income from people shopping their looks. If you’ve ever wondered how bloggers make a living, this is it! Still not sure what it is? Here’s a breakdown:
Basically, bloggers post pictures in their clothes, snaps of decorations in their house, or create “wish lists” of their fashionable wants and they post them on social media for you to see and share! They make money (a small commission) from you purchasing the same items they are wearing. It’s a way for them to be a social influencer, in a sense!
But how do you (the lover of those adorable shoes) shop the look or items? It’s easy! You sign up for a consumer account. Don’t freak- you don’t have to sign your life away and all of your personal information is kept in your wallet when you enroll! All you do is give them your Instagram handle (example: mine would be @the_novice_native) and your email address… They do the rest!
Once signed up, when you “like” or “<3” a photo on Instagram that has an affiliate link, you are sent an email with all of the products you see in the image. You aren’t obligated to buy them… It just makes it easy for you to keep track of items you’ve loved in one place where you can find them again, in case you wanted to wait until payday!
If you ever wanted to see all of the items you’ve liked, all you have to do is sign into your account on their website. Your profile would have all of the items you’ve liked in one place, making it easy to shop those looks at any time after liking them!
Another place you can see affiliate links is in a blog post… Like this one! :) Often times, a blogger will add photos or links of the items in the post directly to the content. They look like ads/photos, but they are actually linked to their individual accounts to keep track of referrals!
So now that you’ve got a full understanding of the whole “affiliate world,” I know you are dying to sign up! You have nothing to lose (and you know it’s not scary anymore).. so let’s get started::
*NOTE* You will want to sign up with both sites, as bloggers often use one or the other-- Nobody likes to miss out!