While there are many professions out there that you can choose from, social media presents a wide variety of opportunities that you can take advantage of in order to become popular and generate income from social media.
It’s for this reason that it seems like everyone these days is an Instagram influencer, or looking to jumpstart their career as one. What’s the big deal and why does everyone want to become an IG influencer, anyway?
Well, the typical amount you can earn from an IG post is $300. This is for a sponsored Instagram post, and you can certainly make more. People think that becoming an influencer is quick and easy cash.
It seems like the perfect job; after all, who doesn’t want to make half a million dollars on their IG posts like Kylie Jenner and Crisitano Ronaldo?
The sad reality is, however, that most people don’t have that kind of luck (nor are they mega celebrities), and are having a tough time even making a dollar. It’s not an easy endeavor to become an Instagram influencer.
Does that mean you should give up? Of course not. It’s not impossible, but you have to have a lot of perseverance and patience so that you can get sponsored on Instagram. Coming up with a plan is the first step.
As we said, most people think that becoming an Instagram influencer is easy. When you realize that you need a plan and need to do your part, you’ll be much better off and ahead of many people.
Do You Need a Lot of Followers to Get Sponsored on Instagram?
The good news is that things have changed and even if you don’t have hundreds of millions of followers it’s still possible to make money on Instagram and become an influencer. This is what we call “micro-influencer.”
A micro influencer on Instagram is an influencer that has relatively low followers compared to what a typical influencer would have. The reason this still works, however, is because the follower engagement level is high.
Since they have super engaged followers and a strong reputation in their niche, they are still valuable as an influencer since they can drive results.
How Brands and Companies Evaluate Potential Sponsors
Another thing that has shifted within the influencer market is that brands and businesses are not only looking for a high follower count, they’re looking to work with influencers that have an impact on their niches and whose target audience is more specific to what the brand considers their target demographics.
This is beneficial for their potential conversion and results, but also because micro influencers don’t charge as much money as bigger influencers on Instagram. It’s a viable option to use a micro influencer for small businesses now, where it wasn’t in the past.
An interesting piece of information is that accounts with millions of followers actually get less engagement than those that have a small following with dedicated users.
For these reasons, don’t give up hope just yet— it’s still possible for you to achieve your influencer dreams. Even if your numbers are low, you aren’t automatically out just yet. There are other factors you can consider and work on to get your Instagram sponsored.
There are so many different features and content types available on Instagram these days that brands and businesses are looking for a strong skillset in Instagram content creation and want to see that you know how to be creative and engage your followers.
Let’s take a look at the best tips to help you get sponsored on Instagram.
Pro Tips: How to Get Sponsored on Instagram
Here we’re going to go through a variety of different tips that will allow you to get your first sponsored post on Instagram.
With so many factors that play into whether or not you’re going to get sponsored, it’s important to be uber aware of your Instagram strategy and make sure that you’ve perfected everything down to a T.
After all, you’ve got to set yourself apart from the competition somehow!
Branding is Everything
The first step in finding your voice as an influencer is to create your brand, so you need to identify your niche. What type of content are you going to share? Will you focus on healthy cooking and fitness? Are you going to share lifestyle vlogs and reels? Will you be a go-to reviewer of restaurants? There are endless possibilities, but it’s vital that you choose something specific and defined.
Once you know your niche,, next you want to create your “brand,” or your personal identity on Instagram. Your aesthetic and post coherency has to be immediately identifiable when people look at your profile and it should be uniform.
If someone watches you live, or reads a message from you, or sees a post on your feed, all of this should seamlessly flow into one set brand image. If you want an authentic and credible Instagram account that can get sponsored, this is a non-negotiable.
Once users start to see your content and see a level of consistency and identity, you’ll gain a level of authority and begin to see a boost in engagement. If you don’t follow your consistency or start slacking off on content, you’ll likely lose out on your following. Be consistent and stay true to your brand image.
One way to expand on your Instagram image and make yourself even more credible is to establish yourself on another social media platform. That way people can check you out on other sites as well and see that you’re also on other networks.
In any case, having a strong brand image and knowing what you’re all about is a key component to any influencer.
Grow your Instagram Follower Count
This is probably the most tedious part for most people, but as long as you define your audience and follow in the footsteps of other successful accounts in your niche, you’ll see better results.
Below are a few tips on how you can solidify your Instagram follower count with the hopes of higher engagement levels and the chance to get sponsored on Instagram.
Hashtags are small but mighty; they are the little number sign (#) that make your posts discoverable through categorizing posts with the tag into a specific feed. This feed can then be seen or even followed by other users, getting you more exposure.
You 100% need a hashtag strategy that works as this is how new viewers will get to see your content. Even with one hashtag it’s been said that you can get up to 13% more engagement than with none, showing that hashtags also boost engagement.
The maximum number of hashtags you can use on IG is 30, but experts agree that 7-11 hashtags seems to be the magic number to get more reach and engagement.
Use a hashtag generator like Task Ant to help you find the best hashtags for your profile. Many people make the mistake of using generic hashtags or popular Instagram hashtags not related to their niche. This is ineffective.
You need to know the success of the hashtag in order to know if you should use it. Task Ant helps you find the right hashtags through searches, filters, and performance measures for each and every hashtag you want to check out.
You can even create sets for different types of content to keep them organized and then post them with ease. If you’re serious about more followers, you need a tool like Task Ant to help you navigate hashtags in the most effective way.
Another thing you should do is to get the attention of brands is to tag brands that you love in your content. You should post content for brands as if you were already being sponsored so that they can see what you do and how you do it.
They’ll have their attention on your account, opening the door to possible sponsorships. They will get a sneak peek at the type of stuff you could create for thim, making this like a type of portfolio that you can showcase.
What’s more, when they like your content, it’ll become discoverable to their followers and may even be shared by them as user-generated content. You can also do this in your Instagram stories for an amplified effect.
You can also add geotags to your Instagram content so that you can expand your content reach to other areas and get your content seen by more people who search a specific location.
If your content is interesting and eye catching, it’s likely that people will check it out when you tag a location and they find it on Instagram. What’s more, if you always use a geotag and there aren’t many posts at that location using it, you can get noticed even more easily.
You can also create your own geotag so that you create a solid feed of content that’s specific to you and any users who also use your location tag.
Build Your Engagement Levels
You want to get your engagement levels to be as high as possible so that brands can see the ultimate value that you’ll provide them. This means that you should pay close attention to your numbers and analytics so you can speak about them with ease.
In addition to being knowledgeable about things like follower to engagement ratio, comment rate, impressions, and more, you should implement strategies to encourage your users to engage. If you can get people to notice your content you may even be able to go viral, a huge opportunity.
Engagement is one of the best ways to generate more engagement— be responsive on your Instagram and like user comments, respond to them, visit your followers’ pages and interact with their content as well.
You can even join Instagram engagement pods which are groups of exclusive influencers that work together to help generate more engagement for group members.
There are two other important things you should do to boost engagement on Instagram.
Calls to Action
When you write captions or create content, you should always think about a call to action. What is this post going to ask or prompt my audience to do, and how is it going to do it?
Captioning is one of the best ways to use calls to action; you can say things like “tag a friend if…” or “double tap if…” among others. Always look for ways to call your users to action and build engagement.
Effective captioning also gives you a chance to share info about who you are and build a bond through written text on your Instagram.
Instagram stories is one of the features on Instagram that engages users the most and brands are constantly looking for IG influencers that have a lot of skill when it comes to using Instagram stories.
Get used to using them so that you can offer this as an influencer; know how to create engaging Instagram stories using engagement stickers, hashtags, and geotags.
In order to be consistent you should first identify your optimal posting times and understand when your content is likely to reach the most people in your target audience. This can be seen via Instagram analytics in the audience section.
Once you know your audience a bit more, you must decide on your post frequency; how many times a day are you going to post? When are you going to include at least one Instagram story, and when do your posts go live?
Many of these decisions can be made through careful analytics and testing; it may take a few weeks, but you’ll start to get to know your audience and see what content works best and when.
You must, however, remain consistent and make sure your content goes out on time. Task Ant can also help you do this; in addition to hashtags they are also launching features that will allow you to view all of your content visually in order to plan it as well as schedule it for posting right then and there.
Users get accustomed to seeing your posts at a particular time and posting consistently can help you to get more reach and build your reputation. This is important if you want to get sponsored on Instagram.
Optimize Your Profile
If you are looking to become a sponsored influencer on Instagram, you have to have a level of consistency in all elements of your accounts, including your main profile feed. People need to see that your content is awesome and worth following— this is what brings in high numbers.
One big factor in whether or not a user follows you has to do with your overall content and the look of your feed. If your feed has an aesthetic that your target audience likes and can relate to, they’re likely to follow you.
Here are some things you should consider when working on your Instagram aesthetic:
- Create a mood using a specific theme. You should choose a theme, otherwise known as content pillars, that you can see in all of your posts. Perhaps your account is a meme page dedicated to cats and dogs, so you’ll likely see funny posts that include cats, dogs, or both. You can then think about a tone for your page— is it vibrant and lively, dark, muted?
- Use colors in your content that emphasize your selected mood
- Use filters that promote engagement. Filters like Mayfair, Valencia, Hefe, and Rise are some of the most popular on Instagram and studies show that photos with these filters get more engagement.
Instagram Bio and Home Page
You also need to optimize your main feed page; make sure it’s as clear and specific as can be. Every element of your Instagram profile should have a cohesive image including your profile picture, post aesthetics, as well as your Instagram handle, story highlights, and bio.
Put your relevant contact info in your bio so that people know how to reach you and where they can connect with you; this is not only for followers, but also for brands and potential sponsors.
Your goal is to get sponsored on Instagram, so everything you do on your profile should be done with the underlying goal of showing that you’re a productive brand partner.
If you have an outside website or profile to link to, here in your bio section is where you can add the direct link. Nowhere else on Instagram is it possible to leave a direct link, so putting it there will give followers and potential sponsors alike a place to reach out or review what you have to offer.
Make Yourself Visible to Companies You Want to Work With
You have to ensure that companies know you’re willing to work with them. If brands and businesses don’t know that you’re looking to become an influencer, they may consider you or reach out because you have a standard follower account.
Always tag brands you love or would want to work with when you post about them and find opportunities to do exactly that. You can add information in your bio so that brands clearly see where to reach you for promotional inquiries and sponsorships.
You can also add a press page to your outside blog or website so that they can also see there that you’re serious and interested in your Instagram endeavors.
Don’t be Afraid to Pitch Paid Sponsorships to Brands
Now that you’ve started to gain some traction and get noticed by brands and businesses on Instagram, it’s time to start thinking about putting yourself out there a bit more and pitching yourself. It’s widely accepted to pitch yourself as a sponsored influencer to brands, so we’ll tell you exactly how to do it.
First, you should select the best brand for you. Make sure you’re interested in this brand and that your profile matches their niche. You should also ensure that they are involved in influencer marketing; although this may not be a dealbreaker, it’s easier if they are already open to or active in influencer marketing.
You should seek out brands that are excited about working with influencers or sponsored partners, and it’s okay to start out small. Find companies or small businesses in your area with products in your niche— starting there can give you a higher likelihood of getting sponsored on Instagram, which allows you to build a portfolio and gain experience for bigger deals in the future.
This is what the process may look like if you want to get sponsored on Instagram and start pitching to brands:
- You start interacting with their posts, tagging them and using branded hashtags. You may capture their attention this way.
- You send a DM to their IG account stating how much you love their brand and that you have some killer ideas for a collaboration. Let them know why you are an ideal partner for them and ask for their contact info to discuss this opportunity further. Not all brands like this, as it may seem more casual or unprofessional, but with such heavy Instagram use these days it’s becoming more widely accepted.
- Don’t be discouraged if they don’t reach back out; it may have gotten lost in their DMs. It’s possible that they don’t even check them or that they just happened to miss it. If you feel that they didn’t see it or want to remind them, you can leave a comment on their post saying to check their DMs.
- If you prefer to avoid DMs altogether, you can do some digging for the brand’s contact information and reach out to them via email; you may be able to find it in their bio or you might have to check their website.
- If you are a professional sleuth and can find the direct email to someone who actually works with their social media or is the social media manager, even better. You can Google that and see what pops up, but getting connected to someone specific can help you get more results.
After going through these steps for contact, you should send a pitch letter, including the following information:
- Who you are
- What yo do
- Where you’re from
- What industry/niche you are a part of
- Valuable experience or noteworthy achievements and why you are an expert in the field
- Key Instagram analytic numbers (number of followers, engagement rate, comments, etc.)
- Your pitch and why you are a great fit for their brand as a partner
This is an example of a possible email you might send out when looking to get sponsored on Instagram:
My name is [name] and I run the Instagram account [hyperlink @name]. My account is based in [your niche] and focuses on [theme, content pillars]. My account is based on [related experience]. My follower base is typically [demographic info and interest of followers that align with brand], which seems to match your brand’s target audience for marketing.
I currently have [#] followers with an engagement rate of [#%], as well as [any other relevant statistics or achievements here].
I believe that we can benefit each other, and I’d love to propose a partnership. These are my initial thoughts on how that could look:
- [# of posts, payment, timeline, content types, etc.]
Would this be something of interest to [brand]? I’d like to add [why you are a good fit for the brand].
Thanks for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.
Here are a few final tips to help you get results from your initial pitch email:
- Don’t promise results that you may not deliver: be realistic about what you can offer your partnerships and sincerity will be rewarded. You don’t want to embarrass yourself and ruin your reputation through a lack of results.
- Be professional: You need to personalize each letter and ensure you don’t send out generic letters. Brands can sense this and they will discredit you, making a partnership unlikely.
- Don’t demand things: You are looking for an opportunity to build a relationship; oftentimes people who are bloggers or influencers seem that they are trying to claim what they are owed. Don’t be like them— show what you can offer and be clear about what you expect in return.
Know What You’re Worth as a Sponsor
One thing that you’ll need to set in stone is what you actually do expect in return; know your value and what your work is worth. Influencers make it seem like easy money through posting content, but it’s actually a lot of work if you’re creating successful Instagram content.
You’ve got to have a clear understanding of the brand, take perfectly styled and tailored photos, edit them, schedule posts, cross-post to other platforms (possibly), and engage with users on the platform as well as promote engagement from them— this isn’t all sunshine and roses!
Take into account the stipulations of the partnership and what you’ll actually be offering the brand. It’s easy to undervalue yourself because you want to make a deal, but the partnership has to be viable in the sense that you’re getting something worthwhile.
If you’ve had previous partnerships, you can also factor this into price through experience and credibility; this is something you should do continuously as you gain more experience.
So, how much does an influencer charge on Instagram? This can vary greatly depending on their followers, niche, and other factors. The accepted average is to charge $10 per 1,000 IG followers, although some people consider that charging a set fee between $200-$400 per post is fair.
Alternatively, you could charge based on engagement rate and how many likes/comments the post gets. All in all, there’s no one way to go about it— choose what’s right for you and what seems fair in your mind.
Sometimes, brands don’t have any budget set aside for influencer marketing which can be quite disappointing especially if there is enthusiasm on building a partnership. In this case, at your discretion, you can offer your services at no charge but consider a type of trade; you can provide them with content and exposure through your Instagram in exchange for free products and/or features.
You can build up your reputation from there and go for other partnerships in the future that pay more. Before you make an initial offer, though, you should always ask them for their budget and then see how you can negotiate within that budget.
Lastly, don’t automatically assume you’ll just be posting a one-time sponsored post. This is a bit spammy and may not drive any good results. You’ll want to emphasize the fact that buying multiple sponsored posts or IG stories/reels/IGTV content provides more exposure and a better ROI.
Having a solid partnership with a brand and continually showing products in a useful and effective way can pique the interest of your followers and boost their purchase intent.
Extra Tip: Set Clear Expectations for Deliverables When Starting a Sponsorship
Last but not least, we’ve put together this small bonus section for you about how to foster an effective partnership on Instagram.
Once you’ve decided on a price and get sponsored on Instagram, you have to be very clear and transparent about what the brand should expect. This way you can have open communication lines and minimize misunderstandings that can damage your reputation in the future.
You should have clear and established answers to questions such as these:
- Are you delivering one post or multiple posts?
- Does the brand get editorial control before you go live with the post?
- What hashtags will you be including?
- When can the brand expect the post(s) to go live?
- Do you have a plan for captioning; is there any agreed-upon captioning requirements that you should include?
You can answer these questions even if the brand doesn’t ask so that everyone is clear. Ultimately you can say what goes, but you have to ensure that you meet the brands needs and keep them happy at all times.
Wrap-Up: Get Sponsored on Instagram
If you follow the steps and tips in this guide, you’ll be on your way to a paid Instagram sponsorship before you know it. It can be tough to get sponsored on Instagram but with time, patience, and hard work, you’ll likely benefit from your labor.
You should always make sure that your followers know when you’re posting content through a paid sponsorship as well, and Instagram released a feature that makes this easy to do. You want to be transparent and ensure your followers know how to access the product you’re promoting.
What has helped you to get sponsored on Instagram? If you want brands to contact you, drop your IG handle in the comments with a mini-pitch!