It is already known that Instagram has more than 1 billion monthly active users. Instagram is an excellent platform to engage with your audience and tell them more about your business, products and services. And it’s not just because of the sheer size of the platform’s userbase — people engage with brands on Instagram 10x more than they do on other platforms (Facebook, Twitter etc.).
There is an effective way on Instagram that is important for brands and marketers that want to expand their reach and tap into new engaged audiences. This way is: Instagram Sponsored Posts.
Having an Instagram sponsored post is like having an ad. When a person (or business, brand) posts sponsored posts it has to put a budget behind it to reach a wider audience.
On Instagram exists two different kinds of sponsored posts:
Like other major social media platforms , Instagram has a native ad management tool. Brands can use it to create custom target audiences based on age, gender, interests, and location and serve sponsored to these custom audiences.
This is when a brand pays a user to promote them via Instagram posts. Typically, this user (or influencer) has a personal brand and an engaged followers base of their own. When an influencer finds a brand in their niche that wants to sponsor them, they can charge a certain amount of money to create an organic post that features the brand's products or services. It is a good way for influencers to expose the brand to an audience it might not otherwise have had access to.
We will talk about Paid Sponsorship which is the case where brands pay influencers to promote their products and services.
Influencer marketing became an established and valuable area of digital marketing in the last few years. There were situations where situations were not being transparent about their partnerships with brands. To reduce and avoid this, instagram put on its branded content features. These features allow influencers to tag the brands they're partnering with on the platform.
Have you ever come across or seen posts like this on the Instagram app?
In the picture above you can see how an Instagram Sponsored Post looks like. Paid Sponsorship posts like this are usually indicated with a "paid partnership with (brand name)" tag that comes immediately after the username. Such posts give the brands access to the organic insights of posts that they're tagged. They can see the date the post went live, the reach, and the engagement that the post got. This data can help brands decide which partnerships bring the most return on investment (ROI).
If you are an influencer, you must disclose all your sponsored posts. Not only does it prevent Instagram from taking down your posts, it also keeps you in the good graces of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC demands that influencers disclose sponsored posts to protect all parties involved from potential fines or liability.
The transparency that comes with disclosing paid sponsorships also fosters trust between the brand and influencer.
To have sponsored posts and to make brands sponsor your posts here are some steps that you should take and follow:
Identifying your niche is very important and it is the best way to get brands to notice you, especially if you post content that refers to their services or products. When you choose a niche, it helps you to figure out the kinds of content to create and the sort of audience you want your posts to reach. There are many Instagram niches that you can focus on, for example:
It doesn't matter what niche you choose, you need to define your brand.
Personal branding refers to your overall aesthetic. When it comes to it, you must ask yourself some questions:
Once you try to answer these questions, bear in mind that good influencers have unique posts. Their posts are so distinguishable that an Instagram user can easily recognize the influencer's posts even when another account shares. As that user continues to see similar content from that influencer, they'll grow to view the influencer as an expat in their field.
Understanding your audience is very important if you want to be a good influencer. This shows brands that you are doing well and fit their products or services.
If you want to know your audience you need to start by gathering data on your demographic of choice. The information you find there is: their age, gender, geographic location and interests. Also you can see what kinds of posts they engage with most and what times of day they are online.
This information will help you convince brands to partner with you. You will be able to explain to potential sponsors the kind of audience they can reach if they work with you.
The frequency at which you post content on Instagram is very important as the quality of content you post. We found that posting once a day is a good enough frequency to grow your Instagram account. The best time to post on Instagram is 11AM on Wednesday. If you post every day or every business day, at least, it is important because Instagram's algorithms favor fresh content, and you want to keep yourself at the top of your audience's mind so that they won't unfollow or forget you. But you need to figure out what frequency and times work best for you and your audience. If your audience doesn't engage well with your posts on Wednesdays, post at a different time that they're online.
Hashtags are a great way to make your content more discoverable and popular. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post, however, using so much doesn't guarantee optimal engagement. The trick to using hashtags properly is to use hashtags that are relevant to your content. Those hashtags also need to be niche. The more niche the hashtag is, the easier it will be for your posts to get discovered. You can also use geotags as they help brands find you if they want to reach an audience in a specific location.
Once you have defined your niche and brand, and you have posted some high-quality content, you are ready to start working with brands. First of all, start with small brands. Let's say your niche is fashion, don't go straight to Vogue or Armani. Instead, try to tag all fashion brands you have seen on Instagram already. Buy their products and tag them when you post images of yourself rocking those photos. Even if you're not paid by the brand, tagging them will put you on their radar.
Instagram bio is the best way to show people, in our case brands, that you want to become an influencer. Add your website, email address or even a press kit. All these make it easy for potential sponsors to contact you about partnerships. Once you have started working with brands, you can easily add them to your press page to showcase your experience and professionalism.
You can't sit around and wait for sponsorship offers to come and fall in your laps. You should work on and look for them. Reach out to brands and offer your services for them. If you have the right pitch, you might be able to get gigs without waiting for brands to find you first.
Before choosing and pitching brands, try to find bands that clearly spend time and money on their Instagram account. Once you have a list of potential partners, send these brands a pitch. In your email, clearly tell them who you are, what you do, and your achievements as an influencer (if you have any). Then explain why you're the right influencer for that brand, and include your follower count and average engagement rate. You can also send the brand a DM straight from Instagram, but it might get lost if the brand gets a lot of DMs every day.
When brands reach out to you for a partnership, know how much you'll charge them. There's an industry standard depending on how many followers you have (we'll cover that shortly), but your prices could vary depending on how much engagement you get on your posts.
Once your pricing structure is set, you'll understand exactly how to sponsor posts for brands that you're working with.
If you are a brand and looking for Instagram Influencers to work with, here is what you should do. First of all, you have to reach out directly to the influencer. Email them or send them DMs to ask about paid sponsorship opportunities. There can be influencers that will ask for payment upfront, however, you can find influencers that will accept free product samples as payment for sponsored posts. Once you and the influencer have worked out the scope of the sponsorship and sorted out payment, you can start setting up the branded sponsorship on Instagram.
Here's how to do this:
If you are an influencer and want to create a sponsored post on Instagram you need to set up a branded sponsorship with the business.
You can only make a post after the brand has added them as a partner (see steps above). When you want to upload a sponsored post on Instagram, start by uploading the post, Story, or Reel as you normally would. For Feed content, go to Advanced Settings and select Tag Business Partner. This enables you to tag the brand so that they can approve the post before it goes live. For Stories, you'll follow the exact same steps. The only difference is that you'll have to click on the link on the icon toolbar so that you can tag the brand.
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