It’s no surprise that you want to become a paid Instagram influencer. The average price for a sponsored Instagram post is $ 300. As you become more successful like Yogi Rachel Brathen, you can make $ 25,000 per post.
But the idea of sponsoring your posts may seem ridiculous to you. You don’t post pictures of skydiving in Australia – you post pictures of your brunch. However, they might be more marketable than you think.
Instagram has become an insanely popular channel for brands to promote their products. Influencer Central found that consumers view Instagram as the sixth most powerful at influencing their buying decisions.
The popularity of Instagram may make you feel like the platform is already too full to stand out. But here’s the thing – brands are quick to recognize the power of normal people to promote their products. Micro-influencers or people with a low number of followers compared to the big players see the greatest engagement from their audience.
Think of it this way: I’ll trust my best friend’s advice to Kim Kardashian when I buy a product. I trust my best friend, we share similar interests and I know that she is sincere with her advice (no offense Kim …).
It’s the same concept for micro-influencers – with the right strategy, your audience will see you as one of their real friends. The more they trust your advice when making purchasing decisions, the more likely you are to be sponsored.
Here we are going to show you everything you need to do to get sponsored on Instagram even if you don’t currently have any followers. Read on to get started or click the links below to skip to a specific section of this article.
How to get sponsored on Instagram
- Define your brand.
- Know your audience.
- Post consistently.
- Use hashtags and geotags.
- Identify brands in your posts.
- Include contact information in your bio.
- Pitch paid sponsorships.
- Know your worth.
1. Define your brand.
You will see the best engagement when you can define your niche. Do you want to publish content on food and health or focus on fashion? Either way, it is important to establish your brand.
Aside from the type of content you post, branding has a lot to do with your overall aesthetic. How would you like to design your posts? What’s your message? To further consolidate your brand, consider creating a cohesive feed topic (use these feeds for inspiration).
Specificity is the key. A good influencer’s contributions are distinguishable and unique. As a user flips through their feed, they can pause and recognize every time they see a post from that influencer. As she continues to see similar content, she will trust this brand as an expert in the field. If the influencer suddenly and accidentally changes course, the user may no longer understand or trust the content.
Additionally, you may want to connect your Instagram brand with an online presence. Building a website with similar aesthetics and messaging is a great way to do this. The more you standardize your social media accounts, the easier it is for brands to see how you can help them.
2. Know your audience.
Knowing your audience is critical to convincing a brand to partner with you. This is of mutual benefit to you too. Understanding your audience will help you properly identify which brands have the most success when used as a sponsor.
First, gather the basics – what is the gender, age, and geographic location of your core demographics? Which of your posts do you like the most? What times of the day do they respond best to content, and what can you tell from that?
The demographic information you collect will help you partner with brands. Brands want to know who to reach by working with you. The statement, “You will reach thirty working women, mostly from New York, who often use Instagram first thing in the morning and prefer fitness content” is certainly more powerful than saying, “You will reach women.”
3. Post consistently.
CoSchedule gathered research from 14 studies to figure out how often you should post on social media websites. For Instagram, they found that you should post at least once a day, but can post more than three times a day.
CoSchedule has also determined that 8:00 am to 9:00 am and 2:00 am are the best times to post.
To grow your fan base, it is important that you post at least once a day. Instagram’s algorithm favors new and fresh content, and you don’t want your audience to not follow you or to forget you due to a lack of consistency.
However, you need to figure out what works best for you and your audience. Perhaps if you post three times a day, your audience feels bombarded, or maybe they prefer it. Perhaps your audience will be most concerned with your lunchtime posts. Finding this out takes some trial and error, as well as Instagram metrics tools.
4. Use hashtags and geotags.
Hashtags make your content more recognizable, so it is necessary in order to grow your following. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post, but TrackMaven has determined that nine is the optimal number for increasing engagement.
You should use hashtags that are as relevant as possible to your content. You also need to check that the hashtags you are using are not corrupted or blocked (check out this list of blocked hashtags if you are not sure).
It is important that you choose hashtags that are not too wide. For example, #Healthyliving has over 20,000,000 posts while #healthylivingtips only has 13,000. The less competition, the easier it is to discover your content.
Reading the page of a hashtag can also give you a deeper idea of what types of content your post will face. #Healthylivingtips usually include posts with food recipes while your post is about cycling. Doing so may result in your no longer using that hashtag.
Geotags are equally important, but for a different reason. Geotags can help people find you if they’re interested in a specific location. This will help you gain more followers and target brands that are interested in reaching a specific demographic. For example, a boutique often publishes fashion tips from the California area and wants to appeal to the people in that area – it’s a win, a win.
5. Identify brands in your posts.
Okay, now you’re officially ready to reach out to brands. You have defined your brand and audience and made some high quality, authentic posts. By now you should have a pretty good idea of the types of businesses that would benefit from partnering with you.
It’s important to start small. If skin care is your thing, don’t go straight for Estee Lauder. Instead, try tagging small skin care startups you’ve already seen on Instagram.
Let’s look at an example – @Tzibirita, a travel influencer, posted this picture of herself wearing a Paul Hewitt watch. The image is high quality and suits your brand. In her description she marks @paul_hewitt. Even if you’re not paid by Paul Hewitt, you can post the same type of content and brand it in the post. Ideally, it will at least get you on their radar.
Start with small marks and mark them in your descriptions. Engage with your audience by responding to comments like “Where can I get one?” Reply. or “how much?” and the brand will soon see that you have proven to be a suitable distributor.
6. Include contact information in your bio.
Think of your bio as a chance to show brands your interest in becoming an influencer. Include an email or website so they can reach you and include a press kit if possible.
For example, @tzibirita doesn’t waste their bio space. She adds her email address, website, and even adds a title – “Content Creator”. Brands will have no doubt that she is open to doing business with them.
In addition, you should use a website or blog to expand your brand and showcase your versatility. Consider adding a press page to your website so brands can take a look at your services. Once you start sponsoring brands, you can add them to this page so brands can see that you have experience with influencers.
7. Pitch paid sponsorships.
There is nothing wrong with reaching brands and offering your services. With the right pitch, you might be able to land a few gigs without waiting for brands to find you.
Look for brands that clearly invest the time and money in their Instagram presence. You could first investigate which similar influencers are already sponsors in your industry. Remember, it’s okay to start small. Working with smaller brands is a great way to build a portfolio.
When you’ve compiled a list of brands who might want to work with you, send them an email. In your pitch, describe clearly and briefly who you are, what you do and what successes you have achieved in this area that make you an expert. Then explain why you are a good fit for the brand and provide data like number of followers and average engagement rate.
Alternatively, you can send a DM a brand straight from Instagram. It is certainly more relevant to the job you are applying for, but it can be lost when a brand is getting hundreds of DMs a day.
8. Know your worth.
Make sure you know how much you will be charging when brands reach you. The industry standard is $ 10 for 1,000 followers. However, it can also vary depending on how many likes you get per post. Plus, as you grow, you can ask for more.
While you want a minimum rate, you can bargain to encourage brands to pay more. Maybe for $ 300, toss five Instagram story posts and a link in your bio on their website for 24 hours. You can use other Instagram features to sweeten the business.
Once you have your pricing structure in place, you need to know how to sponsor a post for the brand you are working with. Now, remember that there are two different types of “sponsored” posts: those that brands Instagram pay for, and those that brands pay another user for.
Confused? This is what I mean:
What is a Sponsored Instagram Post?
A sponsored post on Instagram is paid for by the poster to reach a wider audience. There are two main types of sponsorship: one, a brand creates a post and pays Instagram to access a custom audience. In the other case, a brand sponsors another Instagram user – often referred to as an “influencer” – who creates a post that portrays the brand in some way.
Here are more details on each type of Sponsored Post:
Sponsored Posts & Ads
Just like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, Instagram has a native ad management platform. Advertisers can use this tool to tailor a target audience – using attributes like age, gender, location, and interests – and invest a certain amount of money to place their post in front of instagrams that identify with that audience.
It should be noted here that the advertiser creates and publishes the post. They pay Instagram for the audience they want access to, but the post is theirs.
Paid sponsorships take place between a brand and another Instagram user. Typically, this user has a personal brand and attracts their own audience. This user is often referred to as an “influencer”.
That person can then use the steps discussed earlier in this article to find and work with brands that appeal to a similar audience. When they find a brand that they want to sponsor, they can bill that customer a certain amount to create a post with their product or service. Think of it like product placement on social media. Just like a company could pay a TV show to have their brand of soda on the countertop in the series finale, they can also pay a person on Instagram to keep the same soda in a picture on their Instagram feed.
Of course, there are more creative sponsorship ideas you can come up with – I went with a cliché …
Influencers are similar to Instagram’s ad manager in the sense that both of them attract audiences that brands may not otherwise have access to. The differences with this type of sponsorship, however, are that the brand pays the influencer – and not Instagram – to access their audience, and the influencer – and not the advertiser – creates and publishes the post.
There are numerous influencers for every industry. Here is a great list of the influencers known today and the types of audiences they attract.
Use hashtags #ad and #spon
In recent years, brands have come under fire for hiring influencers but failing to make it clear to audiences that those influencers have been paid.
For example, Lord & Taylor department store settled charges with the FTC in 2016 after 50 influencers were paid to wear a dress on their posts without tagging #sponsorship or #ad.
Influencers are supposed to use the hashtag #ad or #sponsored on posts they get paid for, but these tags make some brands uncomfortable as they make the post look spurious.
In 2017, Instagram released a paid partnership feature to help combat this problem. When you flag a brand on a post and the brand confirms the relationship, the ad will be labeled “Paid Partnership” at the top. This also helps the brand to collect data on the campaign’s performance.
It’s important that your followers know if you’re getting paid to promote a product. Ethics aside, doing so can destroy the credibility of your account if you get caught and lose everything you’ve worked hard on – namely, an authentic, trusting community.
If you really don’t want to post #ad or #spon, there are a few ways you can work around this. For example, Airbnb created the hashtag #Airbnb_partner to signal a paid partnership without using the word “ad”.
When in doubt, follow Instagram’s guidelines. You can read Instagram’s Branded Content Guidelines in full here.
In the end, getting sponsored on Instagram isn’t easy – it takes time, effort, and perseverance. However, when you work hard to differentiate yourself in the industry and connect with your followers on a personal level, it can be extremely rewarding.