How to Get Instagram Sponsors
Increasingly, more and more companies are using social media to reach their audiences and one of the best ways to do that is by paying people on sites like Instagram to promote their brand for them. You could become one of those sponsored Instagram members by developing your own clear brand and online following, reaching out to a brand and proposing a collaboration, and determining your responsibilities and payment.
Building Your Brand
Create an Instagram account and upload 6-10 photos.Before you want to be an Instagram influencer, you have to create your own Instagram account! When you first sign up, you can upload several pictures at once so your profile doesn't look completely uninteresting and empty.
- However, going forward it's not recommended to upload so many images at one time.
Post photos with a consistent theme and style.Establishing who you are on Instagram is an essential first step before you collaborate with a brand sponsorship. High quality photos are a must, because potential followers and brands won’t want to see blurry, grainy or unappealing photos on their feed or representing their products.
- Take photos that are about the same thing and that maintain a similar visual style. This clarifies to followers and brands what your image is and what they can expect from your posts.
- Examples of Instagram blog themes include food, cats, fashion, fitness, and travel. Sticking to a theme allows followers to think of you as a tastemaker or expert in that field, which increases the likelihood of a brand deciding to sponsor you.
- You can maintain a visual style by creating a color palette. This means, for instance, that most of your photos may feature a lot of pinks, oranges and yellows. You would thennotinclude an image with a lot of shadows and dark browns and grays on your profile.
Post 2 to 3 new photos every day.Posting regularly helps build trust with followers and increases your visibility through the Instagram algorithm that promotes users to the “Explore” page. It is recommended to post at least 2-3 images or videos a day, separated by a few hours in between.
- For example, if you post a photo at 12pm wait until 3pm to post the next photo. Then maybe post another at 6pm or 7pm.
- If you are going to be unable to access Instagram for awhile—maybe you’re travelling, or at an event-—you can use various apps to queue, or schedule, future posts. This will allow you to maintain your posting even while you are not on Instagram. You can schedule posts to go up at 11am, 2pm, and 5pm without getting online at all.
- There are many apps available to help you schedule, but choosing the best one for yourself depends on various factors like whether you want to pay for an app, and whether you are using iOS or Android software.
Write engaging captions.Your followers want to engage with you, and writing captions that go beyond a simple description of an activity or an inspirational quote will attract more interest in your content, showing vulnerability and a peak into your work or life.
- For example, a photo of you and your pet pug playing indoors with a toy could read: "Puggsly and I always find a way to have fun, even on rainy days," instead of a generic, vague caption like, "Playtime."
Use several specific hashtags.Hashtags help "tag" content to make it easy for users to find. For instance, tagging a photo of a French bulldog by adding #frenchbulldogs (a # sign indicates a tag) to the caption will increase the chances of someone who is searching for french bulldog photos findingyourphoto.
- You can add up to 30 hashtags, but using about 6-11 is a reasonable amount. Don’t use broad hashtags (e.g., #gym), as your post may be lost amid millions of other posts. Try something more specific to narrow your audience (e.g., #weightliftinggoals).
Comment on other posts and establish relationships with your followers.Instagram is a community, and if you’re going to thrive there it is important to engage with that community. This means commenting on other photos you admire and responding to comments on your own photos.
- For example, if a new follower comments "this looks delicious!" on a photo of a cinnamon bun you posted, you can respond conversationally with "It was! I got it at [name of restaurant], you should check it out if you're in the area, they're so cheap and yummy!" And you can follow them back to start building a familiarity.
- This will not only help build trust and affection between you and your followers, but will make you and your page look active and involved in the community when viewed by new eyes or potential brand sponsors.
- Besides the quality of your images, the number of followers and your relationship with them is the most important thing potential sponsors will consider before partnering with you.
Reaching out to a Potential Sponsor
Choose a brand to pitch yourself to.Before attempting to gain a brand sponsorship, it may be useful to make a list of your favorite brands that you would enjoy promoting. Choosing brands and companies that align with your interests or beliefs is a good start. Smaller brands are recommended to start with, as there will be fewer fellow influencers vying for a sponsorship and it is a good way to eventually be noticed by much larger brands.
- A good way to find brands is to think about products you use or maybe stores you shop in regularly and enjoy. If you know of local companies, that's even better.
- For example, if you want to be sponsored by your favorite drink brand, it is better to try work first with a company such as Skinny Bee Tee, a small detox tea company, than a corporation like Starbucks.
- You also want to see if the brand is already using influencers. Some brands are not employing influencers, and you don’t want to waste your time trying to convince them to. You can look at Instagram accounts of other influencers similar to you and see who is sponsoring them.
Tag your favorite brands when you post about them.When you feature brands you like in a posted image, you can tag their Instagram page. This increases the chance that they will see it, as will the brand’s fans and followers.
- Make sure, however, that the image and message you are posting is something the brand would like to be associated with, which means: high image quality, nothing offensive, and nothing negative about the brand or its fans.
- Find your favorite brand's Instagram page by searching their name on the website or app. You can then add their specific username (e.g., @chobani for Chobani yogurt) to your caption or, while editing a photo, tag them in the photo when given the option to "tag people in the photo."
Tell brands how to contact you.Make it clear that you are easy to communicate with. You can post your professional email address in your Instagram profile. If you have a blog or website linked to Instagram, you can add information there that says you are interested in partnerships.
Reach out to the brand through direct messaging.After interacting with the brand’s posts, you can send a direct message (“DM”) on Instagram explaining why you think this partnership would be a good idea.
- For example, if you message @chobani, you can say, "Good afternoon, I am a longtime fan of Chobani products and I believe my 10,000 followers would really respond to sponsored content from Chobani. Under my username @bakerlady, I post photos of my homemade baked goods, made from my favorite supermarket staples. I believe a post featuring an original recipe by me, made with Chobani yogurt, would be a great way to highlight the tastiness of your product. I would love to discuss a partnership opportunity further with you via email. My address is , how may I contact you?"
- Additionally, you can search for the email address of the company’s Social Media Manager and reach out directly to that address. You can search for “[Company] Social Media Manager” to find the email on LinkedIn.
Pitch your idea to the brand.Once you have an email address, you should compose a concise, clearly-written pitch letter. The pitch letter will expand upon what you already said in your first message.
- The letter should communicate all of the important information they will want to know: who you are, what you do, what industry or Instagram niche you are a part of, what makes you qualified to promote their brand, your number of followers and engagement rate, and your pitch for how you and the brand could collaborate (e.g., suggesting a sample post).
- Remember to personalize the pitch letter. You don’t want them reading a generic letter that could have been sent to 50 brands in exactly the same way - they want to feel special! Tell them what you like about their brand, or what some of your favorite products or Instagram posts of theirs are.
Working with a Sponsor
Determine your payment.Congratulations, you’ve impressed a sponsor and now they want to work with you! Now you have to determine how much each post will earn you. A lot of beginning influencers undervalue themselves, but remember the time and work that goes into each post and the benefit you will be bringing to the sponsor.
- Some sponsors charge in relation to how many followers they have (e.g., for every 1,000).
- The average amount tends to be 0-0 per post. You may be able to ask beforehand whether the brand has a budget for sponsorships. This can help you determine a reasonable price to ask for, but ultimately you are the best judge of your value.
Clarify your responsibilities with the sponsor.Be sure to learn how many posts you are expected to post and when, and whether you will have to post a certain type of photo or caption.
- It is important to know all of this before you start posting, and to establish clear communication with your sponsor from the beginning so you enjoy working with each other.
Read your contract carefully.It is likely that you will have a contract to sign before you begin work. This will include details about your payment and responsibilities, so make sure they are what you agreed to.
- Look for whether the contract says you are in an “exclusive sponsorship” (which means you can’t promote any other brands, which may not be very useful to you), or if this is a “non-competing” partnership (which means that you can’t simultaneously promote a competitive brand. If you’re promoting Pepsi, you can’t promote Coca-Cola).
Disclose your sponsorship in promoted posts.When you finally post your sponsored content, you must disclose in the post that it is a sponsored post.
- It is illegal not to disclose that information, but Instagram makes it very easy to make this clear. They recently created a tool that allows you to tag a post as a “paid partnership with [brand].”
- If you don’t have that feature yet, you can simply include the hashtags #ad or #sponsored in your post’s caption.
Video: HOW TO WORK WITH BRANDS AND GET PAID | instagram sponsorships
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