As an influencer leveraging social media platforms, Instagram provides an exceptional opportunity to monetize your online presence. The platform is popular among social media marketers due to its massive, millennial user base. Last year’s survey shows that 79% of social media marketers promote their brands on instagram. While there are many ways to monetize your Instagram account, many of these monetization strategies require you to have a mass following.
If you have a small user base, you can use sponsored posts to make profit from your Instagram account. This requires you to have a strong influence in your niche. Even if your audience size is small, you can still be a great potential promoter for relevant businesses since your endorsement can influence the buying decisions of your followers. In this article we will go into the do’s and don'ts of sponsored posts and how you can grow as a creator without ruining your reputation.
Understanding Sponsored Content Guidelines
Before we dive into creating sponsored content, it is important to understand Instagram's guidelines for branded content. Instagram defines branded content as any content that "features or is influenced by a business partner for an exchange of value, such as monetary payment or free gifts." Therefore, all promotional content for which you receive payment, gifts, or other forms of compensation, falls under the category of branded content and must adhere to these guidelines.
First and foremost, it is mandatory to tag the relevant brands in all branded content. Additionally branded content must also align with Instagram's Community Standard. This means you must NOT promote illegal products, advocate smoking, violence or self harm or post content with nudity or inappropriate themes. Avoid posting offensive and controversial posts. Posting plagiarised content without the permission of the original copyright owner is also strictly prohibited. You can find a more detailed exposition of Instagram's Community Guidelines here.
By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure that your sponsored posts on Instagram maintain the integrity and compliance expected on the platform. It is important to note here that non-compliance may result in your account being disabled or your content deleted. It is important to note here that following these guidelines is obligatory and any non-compliance may lead to the disabling of your account or the removal of your content on the platform.
Identifying the Right Sponsor for Your Brand
Choosing the right sponsor is one of the most crucial steps for creating successful sponsored posts. It is crucial to partner with brands that align with your core values and offer products or services that genuinely resonate with your audience. By doing so, you can maintain the authenticity of your account and your personal touch. Therefore, before partnering with brands, it is important to conduct thorough research on your potential sponsors. Try to understand the principles and values their business upholds and take the time to explore their products or services to ensure they are up to the mark and truly provide value to your followers.
For example, Elisha (@scottsdaledesignservices), an interior decor enthusiast collaborates with @safavieh, a home decor and furnishing company. The post from the sponsor looks similar to what she already has on her profile:
Once you have found suitable sponsors, you can reach out to them personally via email or direct messages. This personalised approach allows you to tailor your pitch and showcase your value as an influencer directly to potential sponsors. Write a compelling message or email to your potential sponsors, highlighting the benefits of working with you and how you can use your influence to give their products or services the exposure it needs to its particular customer base. While personally reaching out to brands like this can be a great strategy, it can also be time-consuming and tedious. As your list of sponsors grows, tracking conversations, responses, and agreements manually can become overwhelming and prone to errors. Alternatively, you can speed up this collaboration process using sponsored content platforms.
Paysenger is a social marketplace where sponsors meet creators to collaborate on content ideas. As a creator, you can easily set up a Paysenger profile and offer services to sponsors. For example, if you’re a lifestyle vlogger, you can offer services such as “video promotion for your hotel” and set a price. Sponsors simply go over your portfolio and make a request. No back-and-forth communication required. To get started on Paysenger:
- Download Paysenger on iOS or Android (or try the Web version)
- Create an account
- Create Offers on your profile and set pricing
- Wait for sponsors to reach out to you
- Or be proactive – look for sponsors using the search tool and send them paid messages
What’s more is that every piece of content you produce for someone on Paysenger earns royalties. Based on views, likes and comments, the earnings are split between you and the sponsor and rewards are paid using EGO tokens - the platform’s native cryptocurrency. If you’re an aspiring creator looking for ways to monetize your content, don’t forget to check Paysenger out!
Crafting a Winning Sponsored Post on Instagram
Now that you have found the right sponsors, it's time to create content that will earn money for you while simultaneously engaging your audiences. Here are some key steps to help you craft an engaging sponsored post:
Utilising High-quality images or videos to promote your brand allows you to keep your audience captivated. Use eye-catching compositions, vivid colours, and visually appealing elements to create a visually stunning post that stands out.
Let’s take a look at Brett Conti’s (@brettcconti) post:
He uses high quality shots to get your attention while promoting his brand in this short reel. While the New York City aesthetics are not the main subject of the video or the sponsoring brand, the visuals help the post get more views (without looking like an ad).
Don’t Look Like an Ad
As mentioned earlier, keeping your authenticity is really important. Integrate your endorsements into the rest of your content so it doesn’t look like an ad. People generally don’t like seeing ads and if you’re too open about it, you might lose face.
Use creativity to sell products or services in a way so that it doesn’t look like forced advertisements. In addition, if your content is great, people will be more than happy to watch it even if it’s an ad. Using a little humour to entertain your followers also goes a long way too. According to research from last year, 51% of users reported that they like funny content more than other kinds of content.
Mistakes to Avoid in Sponsored Posts on Instagram
While each influencer's journey is unique, there are some common pitfalls and mistakes to look out for. By being aware of these common mistakes, you can ensure the effectiveness of your sponsored content strategy.
Lack of Transparency
Transparency is the foundation of trust in influencer marketing. Failing to disclose your partnership not only violates Instagram's Branded Content Policies (which might lead to your account getting banned) but also ruins your authenticity. Be transparent and clearly indicate that the post is sponsored or in partnership with a brand. Openly communicating this information ensures transparency and maintains the level of trust you have with your audience.
Partnering with brands that are irrelevant to your niche or don't align with your values damage your credibility. Be very careful and selective with who you work with. Trust in the community takes a long time to build, and by associating yourself with the wrong brands you can easily break it. Select partners that enhance your brand narrative and add value to your followers' lives, otherwise you’ll seem like a “sell out”.
Neglecting Audience Engagement
Engaging with your audience is fundamental to building a loyal community. Neglecting to respond to comments, questions, or messages related to your sponsored posts prevents you from creating a deeper connection with your audience. Take time to interact with your audience and address their inquiries (this could also be a good source of UGC, by the way). By actively engaging with your followers, you strengthen the connection and solidify your position as a trusted influencer.
In conclusion, creating a successful sponsored post on Instagram requires careful planning and execution. It also comes with its own challenges and potential pitfalls. However by tracking your progress and learning from mistakes over time, you too can create your own success as an influencer. Looking to get a boost on your content creator journey? Join Paysenger to monetize your content and grow your audiences. Get access to features such as on-demand content, paid messaging, subscriptions, sponsor collaborations and much more! By joining today, you become an early adopter and one of the trendsetters of the future!