One question that I often get asked by those looking to become an influencer, trying to work with more brands as a creator, or those who are just interested is how to get sponsored on Instagram. Getting a paid partnership on Instagram isn’t always the easiest thing to do. With many brands only offering gifted opportunities and many other influencers taking them, getting a sponsored partnership where the brand pays you may be a very strenuous uphill battle.
Over the years, I have developed multiple strategies that have landed me with paid Instagram sponsorships with brands such as Walt Disney World, Dunkin’, Walmart, and so many more. And I’ve taken those strategies and shared them with my students who are either in my influencer course or have elected for an influencer coaching session.
If you’re here, reading this post, you may have already scoured the internet looking for multiple places to find how to get sponsored on Instagram. And you may have read articles from businesses or other non-influencer individuals on tips on how they think is the best way to laid a paid partnership. Years ago, I was doing the same thing. I looked for information online, took the advice from people who weren’t even creators themselves, and then applied it, but wasted time because those methods didn’t work.
I eventually began trialing my own methods and it’s led me to the point where I am now generating over 6-figures every year. So as a full-time influencer coach and influencer teacher, I’m here to share with you some great tips and strategies on how to get a paid Instagram sponsorship.
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Ways to Monetize YOUR INSTAGRAM
There are a variety of ways to monetize your Instagram – especially now that Instagram has opened up additional ways in the past year to monetize just within their own platform. So when you’re building a strategy on how to make money on Instagram, you need to build it on multiple levels. Here are a few top ways that you can currently monetize your Instagram:
BRAND PARTNERSHIPSBrand partnerships are one of the biggest ways to monetize your Instagram. We’ll go through specific details on how to get a brand partnership on Instagram in this post, but you can secure a paid brand partnership through pitching, direct reach out from the brand, or influencer networks.
AFFILIATE PROGRAMSWhether you’re using Shop LTK, Shopstyle Collective or another affiliate program, many influencers gain consistent income through affiliate marketing by integrating links in Instagram stories and/or link in bio. Recently, Instagram introduced it’s own affiliate program for creators where you can link products directly in posts and if someone shops via that link, you’ll receive a percentage. Though this program isn’t available for all influencers at this time, it’s on it’s way to everyone soon.
BONUS PROGRAMSThere are bonus programs that are available on Instagram such as the Reels Bonus Program. Just by posting Reels and opting in to make the Reel count the Reel for the program, you can monetize the views.
INSTAGRAM CREATOR PROGRAMSIf you go to your Professional Dashboard on Instagram, you’ll be able to access other creator programs and monetization methods available to you. Via web browser, you can access the Creator platform for both Instagram and Facebook. On that platform, you’ll see ways to sign up for those other programs and check your eligibility. Programs on the platform include subscriptions to your exclusive content and more.
<Instagram Creator MarketplaceRecently, Instagram announced the Instagram Creator Marketplace – a place on Instagram that will connect brands to creators and allow those brands to reach out to influencers directly for partnerships. Within this marketplace, you’ll be able to negotiate your rates, but, in my opinion, I believe that many brands are still going to use the traditional way of emails whether they are reaching out directly or reviewing pitches.
How to Get Sponsored Partnerships ON INSTAGRAM
To get sponsored partnerships on Instagram, you have to be diligent, proactive and also have a business mind. From being an influencer and also coaching other influencers, it’s been proven time and time again that landing paid partnerships comes down to pitching, negotiating, and how you handle the business relationship. I’ve found that over the years, the biggest mistake that influencers make is not developing their business structure and developing a strong business relationship with brands during paid partnerships. With a strong business relationship, brands tend to return back to influencers who they are familiar with, work well with, and can trust so that they can guarantee that each partnership will be successful.
To secure sponsored partnerships on Instagram, you want to make sure that you go through the essential steps to maximize your chances of getting paid. So let’s break down these steps and get into the necessary details:
CREATE AN INFLUENCER MEDIA KIT
If you don’t have an influencer media kit, then you need to get one ASAP. Having a media kit is essential to getting sponsored on Instagram. When a brand reaches out to you, they’ll want to know about your brand, who you are, and what you bring to the table as an influencer. A media kit details all of that essential information that the brand wants to know in an easily read and creative way.
SET YOUR PRICES
One thing that I have also seen as a mistake that influencers make when they are looking to get a paid partnership is that they wait to set their rates until after they have gotten a response from a brand. It is essential to running a business and getting sponsored on Instagram that you come to the table fully prepared. So you need to have set rates for what you offer for negotiation to go smoothly.
When setting your rates, you want to consider all aspects of the engagement. Start with a base rate that is simply for the deliverable itself. For example, if you’re at 5,000 followers and you set a base rate for one Instagram post at $500, that rate is just for the Instagram post. It doesn’t include exclusivity, whitelisting, additional reviews, timeline, etc. Outside of that deliverable, you charge more for those aspects that brands may add on top of it.
ESTABLISH A STRONG PITCH
Now that you’ve prepared all of the essentials you need to come to the table, you need to secure your invite to the table, and that’s through pitching. Pitching is absolutely essential to getting sponsored on Instagram – especially if you are looking to make consistent income each month. Many influencers tend to wait for brands to come to them or only apply to campaigns on influencer networks, but that is where they fall short. Pitching gets you in front of more brands so that you can secure more paid partnerships.
ESTABLISH WHO YOU WANT TO WORK WITH
As you begin your pitching strategy, you first want to establish a list of brands that you want to work with. Having this list prepares you for the research that you’ll need to do to find the right contacts and will give you the ability to track how many pitches you are sending. Make sure that the brands on your list are brands that align with your brand and who you are. Test to see whether the products and/or services that this brand sells will be appealing to your following. And also check to see if these brands actually work with influencer as there are some that don’t – you wouldn’t want to spend tons of time pitching a brand who doesn’t actually go into sponsorships with influencers.
One big thing that I tell my students is that you also want to be realistic of who you are pitching. There are some large brands who only work with celebrity influencers or influencers who have a little more experience and higher engagement. So do your research on the brand and make sure that the paid partnership is something that you can truly secure.
FIND CONTACTS & PITCH
After you’ve made your list, start by digging down and finding a direct contact. In most cases, you’ll first head to the brand’s website and find a press/media/influencer contact that you can reach out to pitch for the paid partnership. What is even better is if you can find the name and direct contact of the person in charge of influencer relations. In many cases, the general media/influencer email is monitored by multiple people, an intern, or an associate that has to bump up your pitch to a decision maker, but if you can get your pitch directly to the inbox of that decision maker, you’re in good hands.
One thing that I always advise influencers to do when looking for the influencer contact for a brand is to head to Google and search “influencer relations + brand name + LinkedIn”. Typically, you’ll end up with the individual who handles influencer partnerships right on LinkedIn and then the only thing next is to discover the email structure to that will get your pitch into that person’s inbox.
APPLY ON AN INFLUENCER NETWORK
Influencer networks are not all bad and you can secure quite a lot of sponsored Instagram partnerships on these networks, but, in many cases, you lose a lot of negotiation power. If you’re just starting out, influencer agencies are great to begin searching for paid Instagram sponsorships. You can search through all of the open campaigns and send your pitch directly through there. In some cases, once you work with a brand on an influencer platform, they keep your information on file and may reach out for additional partnership opportunities outside of the platform.
SEND AN EMAIL PITCH
Once you’ve found your contact, you’re ready to send your pitch. There are key elements to pitching for Instagram sponsorships, and these key elements are what will get you responses versus just having your email get tossed into the trash bin.
Connect with the BrandWhen writing a pitch, make sure the brand can clearly tell that you actually know who they are as a brand and that you appreciate their products and/or services. You want to connect with the brand on a personal level and show that your passion. Brands who can see that you’re passionate about their products and/or services will then connect that passion to the work that you’ll put into creating unique content for them during the partnership.
Provide Your Unique IdeaShare what unique idea that you are bringing to the table with enough detail that they can see what they may be getting but not so much detail that it locks you into only creating what you just said. Your unique idea is what will set you apart from the other pitches that are coming to their inbox.
Stay ConciseInfluencer relations managers get a lot of emails on a day to day basis, so keep your email short and easily digestible. Avoid flowerly language the beats around the bush. Instead, introduce yourself and your brand, state why you wan to work with them and then what you can offer.
NEGOTIATE YOUR RATES
Once a brand has emailed you back regarding an Instagram sponsorship, you want to go into the negotiation process. I tell all of the influencers who I coach and the students in my influencer course that you don’t want to send rates in your initial pitch email. Instead, save it for negotiation.
The brand may initially come back and ask for your media kit and rates. When that happens, send along your media kit ask for their budget or expected deliverables. If the brand sends back a budget, you can then list the deliverables you are open to offering based on the budget that they have provided. If the latter happens and they send over the expected deliverables, make sure to ask about aspects such as timeline, exclusivity and boosting so that you can offer your rate for the entire delivered package.
If a brand responds and says they can only offer product in exchange, don’t immediately write off the opportunity or simply accept the gift. Instead, respond back with how you only guarantee social and/or blog posts on sponsored partnerships and that you’d be happy to receive the gift without expectation or you’d be happy to work within their budget and find something that benefits the brand.
FINALIZE THE CONTRACT
After you’ve gotten everything negotiated and all is agreed upon, make sure that you have a contract put in place. You never want to enter into a Instagram partnership without a contract that outlines expectations and responsibilities on both sides. The contract with guarantee that you get paid and protect you from any fraud or wrongdoing. If the brand responds and says that they don’t do contract, then it’s best not to enter into working with them. There have been a number of horror stories from influencers who posted for brands under the expectation of getting paid, only for the brand to not pay or respond to any emails afterwards.