One of the questions that often gets asked:
Where do you start when it comes to buying or selling sponsored Instagram posts? We’ll answer this question along with other questions throughout this guide. We’ll also answer any questions you have if you leave a comment below.
Who This is Written For:
You obviously. 😉 Kidding of course. This was written for brands who are looking to work with bloggers. At the same time, it is also a guide for bloggers who want to monetize their feed by working with brands.
Level of Difficulty:
What You’ll Know After Reading This Guide:
- For brands: You’ll learn how you can gain more exposure and potential customers by sponsoring and leveraging Instagram feeds.
- For Instagram Bloggers: You’ll learn how you can leverage our marketplace to find brands who will actually pay you. To put it bluntly.
We’ll be talking through integrating products and brands into the photo feeds of people’s life stories. First, however, we have to get rid of the elephant in the room. If you’re a publisher (fashion, beauty or style blogger, etc.) and you have an Instagram feed with a highly engaged following it makes sense to earn money from all the work you’ve done to maintain and grow your social profile. The elephant we’re talking about is the concept of selling sponsored posts, which other people may believe you’re selling out if you start selling spots on your feed. Are you selling out? Of course not. There are several ways to monetize your business and this is just one of them. We’re not saying to sell posts just for the sake of selling posts. When it makes sense to do so and it adds value for your audience it can benefit all involved.
In the same way product placement has been used in television and film you can think of your Instagram feed as a way to share the best products with your following and at the same time, earn revenue by working with brands to help them target the right market and audience. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way we can continue talking through this epic guide of Instagram Sponsored Posts. (Also, the link to FTC guidelines regarding disclosure of sponsored content will be in the resources section.)
In the same way product placement has been used in television and film you can think of your Instagram feed as a way to share the best products with your following and at the same time, earn revenue by working with brands to help them target the right market and audience.
When I think of Instagram I think of photos of my gorgeous sister’s selfies, maybe a cup of coffee perfectly situated atop a café table or even a perfect shot of my decadent meal from last night’s date… to put it simply: I think of Instagram as curated photo journalistic galleries that tell you stories about someone’s seemingly perfect life. When people use Instagram they want to capture the best moments and the best details of what life has to offer.
When people use Instagram they want to capture the best moments and the best details of what life has to offer.
Nearly every photo looks perfect as a result of Instagram’s photo filters, as well as the creative angles we can find to make anything look like art. When anyone takes a photo and posts it to Instagram it just looks good. In fact, I can take a photo of my beat-up 1997 Toyota Camry and it looks like a ’69 Rolls Royce. Okay, maybe it won’t look as good as the Rolls, but it comes close anyway. Really. 😉
This Post was Last Updated: June 15th 2015
- As we further refine this guide, we will make edits and updates as things are always changing on the interwebs. If you want to be informed, simply Subscribe to Blog Posts Only
- When we refer to Publishers we are referring to: Fashion Bloggers, Style Bloggers, Beauty Bloggers, Influencers, InstaBloggers, Vloggers, YouTube Influencers, etc.
- When we refer to Brands/Businesses we are referring to: Fashion, Beauty, Luxury or Jewelry Brands, Makeup Artists, Stylists, etc.
INSTAGRAM SPONSORED POSTS 101: HOW IT WORKS
Typically, the main purpose of sponsoring posts is to gain exposure to a new audience who will likely be interested in what you have to offer. We are leveraging the influence of individuals to share something with their existing following that we feel would benefit them in some way. For example, maybe you’re looking to sponsor someone’s Instagram feed whose followers enjoys an edgy, sort of rock star look. If your brand sells leather miniskirts it would be probably be great fit for that audience.
The Brand’s Quick-Start Guide to Buying Instagram Sponsored Posts
If you’re using our marketplace as a sponsor/buyer it goes something like this:
- View Seller Feeds in Our Marketplace or Use our Search Tool to Find a Feed to Sponsor
- Fill out basic information for your shoutout or post
- Make a Payment
- Communicate with seller directly in your dashboard purchases irf further instructions or details are needed
- Receive notification when Instagram Campaign or Post is launched
The Publisher’s Quick-Start Guide to Selling Instagram Sponsored Posts
If you’re using our marketplace as a seller it goes something like this:
- Create a Seller Listing
- Interested buyer will make a purchase and you will receive a notification
- Share the Post or Shoutout in a way that best fits your audience
- Get paid based on your earnings weekly
Communications Can Get Lost and Messy if You Don’t Have a System…
With our experience in communicating back and forth as a sponsor and publisher we found that there can be a lot of back and forth, a hundred emails and lost messages. It went something like this:
- Sponsor reaches out to you on Instagram either via email and/or message
- You reach back out via Instagram message
- You don’t hear back or maybe you hear back in 2 days, but you don’t know anymore because you’ve received 5 other requests that you’re trying to keep track of…
- You finally receive a message back from the sponsor and this time you want to switch your communications to email so you can keep track of things.
- You’re in agreement with the awesome campaign idea and want to move forward
- Now you can finally start and try to negotiate any amount and gifted item for the sponsored post.
- The brand realizes they don’t have a budget to pay you.
- After 3 emails trying to negotiate you realize there are the other 5 requests you stopped paying attention to.
- What day is it again?
This example may not exactly be representative of your communications, but it can really get that messy.
How to Gain More Exposure Using Instagram Sponsored Posts
There are many ways to gain exposure as a brand or publisher, but we’ll just name a few:
- Run a contest with a single blogger
- Launch a campaign with multiple bloggers
- Run a single post with limited/exclusive sale
We’ve run the above campaigns with success, but don’t limit your creativity. As we update this guide we’ll link to examples of these types of campaigns.
Integrating Products and Services into Instagram Feeds
When we collaborate with a blogger it can be a single Instagram post or it can be a multi-blogger, multi-post campaign. Either way, you have to understand if your products will integrate well into their feeds. You don’t want to propose selling men’s ties, for example, on a feed that shares mostly pastel outfits and photos of someone’s beautiful garden.
Allow the Publisher to Be Creative with Your Product
As a brand, you may have ideas around how you want the Publisher to share your product but keep in mind that the Publisher knows their audience best. They know how to get the most engagement from their followers and how best to integrate your product into their feeds so it doesn’t look out of place.
How Do You Determine How Much A Post is Worth?
While many people have their own way of determining the value of each post, we’ve developed a simple calculator for you to use based on your Instagram, Twitter and Website. Minimum input is your Instagram account.
Benefits to Brands and Publishers
There are so many benefits to buying or selling/sponsoring spots. We’ll name just a few.
- Brands get the right exposure by working with Instagram influencers whose following fits their customer profiles
- Publishers get the benefit of establishing possible long term relationships
- Brands can have highly targeted campaigns and test new products and designs
- Publishers have the opportunity to establish long term revenue with brands
- Brands and Publishers can manage and find exactly who they are looking to work with through our marketplace
- Eliminate hassle with negotiating fees per post if you are respond to a seller listing.
Lastly, you want to understand what you really want to get out of these campaigns and track how productive it was for you as a publisher or brand. While tracking capabilities don’t exist within the Instagram app itself besides seeing the number of comments or likes, you can track the productivity and results of a sponsored post or campaign by doing these things:
- Check increase in followers. For example, if one of your requirements for a contest is to follow your Instagram account you can use a tool such as Iconosquare to see if there was an increase in followers during the time of the campaign.
- Check website traffic. Use a tools such as Google Analytics to track whether there were traffic spikes to your website during the campaign
- Check product sales. If your goal for the campaign was to have an exclusive and limited sale on a specific item, you can check if that item sold out or if there were any increase in sales. Limited quantities work well if you are doing a promotion or campaign with influencers on Instagram.
Now that we’ve gone through a basic guide of on Instagram Sponsored Posts, here are some next steps to getting started. Remember that this guide will be updated on a regular basis to reflect changes and updates around the topic of Sponsored Instagram Posts. I’ve certainly not covered everything I’ve wanted to here, but I’ll be adding to it regularly.
- Sign Up as an Influencer
- Create Your Profile
- Submit Proposals
- Please post your questions and comments below. We’ll answer and respond to your questions!
- Sponsored Post Calculator
Having trouble deciding how much a single post of campaign is worth? Try our Sponsored Post Calculator where you can calculate how much you can be charging for posting on your Instagram Feed. We include calculations based on your Twitter and website as well.
- FTC .com Disclosures Guide
What you should know about what you need to disclose and how to make disclosures on social media to comply with U.S. consumer laws.
- What Other People Are Charging Per Post:
Roxy Jacenko charges $200 per post for brands to plug their wares on her two-year-old’s Instagram.
- Instagram 2015 Intelligence Report by L2
“While an estimated 3 million U.S. teens abandoned Facebook between 2011 and 2014, the same cohort now cites Instagram as their most important social network.”