The other day I received a text from a really good friend of mine. She asked, “How did you start doing your online Instagram posts with product promotions?” I told her I would gather the information for her and then it dawned on me. This would be a great blog post because (a) I love to help people and, (b) I haven’t written about this topic in a long time.
THE BASICS OF HOW TO GET SPONSORED ON INSTAGRAM
1. WHAT IS A SPONSORED POST?
A sponsored post is a post on your social media channel in exchange for free product or compensation. Sponsored posts must include #ad or #sponsored to comply with FTC regulations.
2. WHY DO BRANDS PAY SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS TO ADVERTISE?
I like to think of it this way. In the past companies would pay for ads in magazines, newspapers, billboards, or commercial spots to name a few. Unfortunately those aren’t the best ways to advertise these days. If you are like me you don’t have cable anymore. You don’t get the newspaper delivered daily like our parents used to. So how do brands reach people? Through social media.
3. BRANDS CAN TARGET THE AUDIENCE THEY WANT
A unique aspect to advertising through social media is it allows brands to target the audience they want. Depending on the product they could go for a broad audience or a specific niche. For example, REI can collaborate with an influencer that posts a lot about travel and the outdoors to get in front of other outdoor enthusiasts. Social media can also offer brands a worldwide audience that previous forms of advertising couldn’t do. By working with influencers around the world, a company can promote to target audiences in different locations.
THE DETAILS OF HOW TO GET SPONSORED ON INSTAGRAM
1. JOIN INFLUENCER MARKETING PLATFORMS
In my experience, influencer marketing platforms are mostly free product until you really build an audience. However, this is a perfect place to start! When you first begin you should get a few collaborations under your belt that are free product. It’s a great way to practice and when you approach brands in the future you have a list of companies you have already worked with. This is how I started and over time I built relationships with brands for additional sponsorships that happened outside of the marketing platforms. Below are a few of my favorite influencer marketing platforms.
Influenster was the platform I first started with. They send free beauty products in exchange for Instagram posts and reviews. There is no minimum follower requirement and it’s a fun way to try out new products!
As you continue with brand promotion you will find that you get a ton of emails from marketing platforms. To be honest, most of these platforms are garbage and do not offer quality products. Statusphere was the exception to that. Somehow my email ended up on the list and I started receiving emails about their monthly boxes. There are a variety of items offered in each box and you can pick which items you want shipped to you.
While there is no monetary compensation, a lot of their products come with Amazon gifts cards. If you are a frequent Amazon shopper like I am, this is a pretty good incentive! One month I did these Instagram posts for Ode to Clean cleaning wipes and Raybern’s Sandwiches. I received $200 in Amazon gift cards for these posts that we used towards buying our stroller!
ApexDrop requires a minimum of 3,000 followers. When you enter their influencer portal you can choose collaboration for women, men, or pets. I’ve seen collaborations for beauty products, health products, house items, and jewelry. Last year I joined a sponsorship to advertise this gorgeous tennis bracelet.
Activate is one of my favorite platforms. They work with a ton of well known name brands and some unique ones too. Through Activate I did a sponsored post for Newton Baby Mattress. (Side note: if you’re in the market for a Newton baby mattress you can click on this link for $50 off!) The collaborations on this site include only product, product and payment, or even some that have you quote the company what you want to make.
With Instagram’s constant algorithm changes, AspireIQ has changed some of their requirements. For Intagram they want to see that a creator has 400-500 likes or more per post within the past 60 days. AspireIQ is also one of my favorite platforms. Collaborations range from home appliances, furniture, health, beauty, clothing, etc. Samsung, Dyson, and West Elm to name a few companies I’ve seen on there. Through AspireIQ I landed this Instagram collaboration with Raised Real. They were pleased with the work I did and reached out to me for an additional Instagram sponsorship with them and Baby Bjorn.
Other Marketing Platforms
For full disclosure, I personally have not used the platforms listed below. I know from other bloggers they are reputable influencer platforms, but I do not know what they offer or requirements to join.
2. APPROACH COMPANIES
Approaching brands directly through email is a great way to land sponsored content. It can be scary at first, but I finally came to terms with the fact that I will never meet this person in real life and worst case I get a no or zero response.
Create Media Kit
Before you start approaching companies you want to have a media kit. This highlights the value of your social media and what you have to offer. It should list your audience demographics, brands you’ve worked with in the past, engagement stats, etc. I use Canva for creating my media kit. They offer amazing templates and it’s completely free!
Know Your Worth
To include pricing or not to include pricing? You will get a lot of opinions on this one. Personally, I add my pricing so it is out there. I customize my rates based on the brand and what I feel the value is. Other influencers suggest leaving pricing off so you can inquire what a company’s advertising budget is and negotiate terms.
How do you know what your worth is? There are different platforms out there that will calculate the value of your social media channels for you. I’ve also heard that a good rule of thumb is $5 to $10 per every $1,000 Instagram followers. So if you have 10,000 followers and charge $10 per 1,000 followers, then $100 per sponsored Instagram post would be your rate.
Some companies have a specific PR email for collaborations in their Instagram bio or on their website. If I don’t see an email, sometimes I will message them directly on Instagram and ask for it. Or you can send the email to the general contact email listed and it should get forwarded to their marketing team.
What makes a successful pitch? For starters, you want your email to be brief and get to the point. State who you are, add in some statistics, mention if you are a current customer of their products or what you love about them, and mention you have a media kit.
Here is a rough email example of a pitch I would send to a company.
Sign A Contract
Always sign a contract! Brands that work with influencers typically have one. If they do not have a contract then find a template from a simple Google search and draft up a contract to send them.
WHAT TO DO IF BRANDS CONTACT YOU ON SOCIAL MEDIA OR THROUGH EMAIL?
On average, I receive about 2-3 emails per week from brands. It’s important to know how to respond to pitches when brands reach out to you too! Keep in mind your goals for your Instagram page and your audience when you receive these pitches. I carefully select brands I want to work with, because I personally don’t want my Instagram feed to become too spammy.
1. OFFERS TO STAY AWAY FROM
Discount on product. There are companies that will offer you a discount on their product. This means they still want you to purchase the product AND promote their product to your audience. The only one benefiting from this exchange is the company. They receive money from you and possible future sales from your audience.
Pay for shipping. Some companies will offer you free product and only want you to pay for shipping. This is sort of similar to the offer above. If a company wants their item promoted the least they can do is send you the product free of charge.
No product with affiliate code. I’ve received emails where the company will offer a unique link to share with my audience and I receive a commission whenever someone buys from those links. However, they do not send product. I am a firm believer in creating trust with your audience. Why would I promote a product that I have never used before? That’s too dishonest for me.
Affiliate code. There are some companies that offer free product and an affiliate code you can earn commission from in lieu of a paid sponsorship. I would not say this is necessarily an offer to stay away from, but you need to be honest with yourself about what the collaboration entails. In order to make money, you would need to promote their product and that unique code A LOT. Do you really want your Instagram page to become a constant feed reel of one product?
2. ASK QUESTIONS
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! I can’t stress this enough. I’m not sure that there has ever been a time when I was contacted and got the full story from the initial email of what the company was looking for. If the brand makes no mention of compensation, ask them if they have a budget for the campaign and attach your media kit.
3. DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY NO
Know your worth and stick to it. I tell companies no all the time. If it isn’t a fit for your brand then it isn’t a fit. Or if the amount of work they want from you doesn’t really line up with what they are willing to compensate, then it might not be worth your time. As a mom it takes me a lot of time and energy to get quality photos. Especially when you have a toddler who doesn’t always want to cooperate. Sometimes one image could take up to three days to land if my son isn’t in the mood to sit still for a camera. For me, the collaboration has to be worth my time and energy.
I hope you found this blog post helpful. I would love to hear feedback on what you found useful! Or if you are a fellow influencer I would love to hear about other influencer marketing companies or any tricks and tips you have as an Instagram influencer!