Instagram has quickly emerged as one of the best channels for promoting brands and products of all types. To help brands and publishers promote their products and services, Instagram offers a variety of advertising opportunities, but traditional Instagram ads like Instagram Story Ads aren’t the only way to get your brand noticed on Instagram. You can also tap into the power of influencer marketing with Instagram sponsored posts.
Instagram is one of the biggest revenue channels for online influencers. In fact, some Instagram influencers earn more than $800,000 per post. But that doesn’t mean that Instagram sponsored posts will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here’s what you need to know about Instagram sponsored posts and how to leverage them to promote your brand or products.
Instagram Sponsored Posts: What Are They?
Instagram sponsored posts are promoted posts on the platform. There are two main types:
- Brand-sponsored posts: These posts are ones that Instagram users post about a brand and a brand “sponsors” by paying a fee for the post. Instagram influencers with excellent engagement can make hundreds to thousands of dollars by partnering with brands on sponsored posts. The cost of brand-sponsored posts varies widely, depending on the influencer’s reach and engagement, but can range from a few hundred dollars per post to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Paid advertisements: Brands can also pay to promote existing organic content to expand a post’s reach and engagement. These promoted posts are also known as Instagram sponsored posts, and they look similar to Instagram ads. The difference is that you’re paying to promote organic content that already exists, rather than developing new creative specifically for Instagram advertising purposes. The cost per click (CPC) for promoted posts ranges from about $1.00 to several dollars, depending on whether you’re promoting the post in the news feed, in Instagram Stories, in the right column, or another location.
Instagram sponsored posts have the power to make your business money if you use them correctly. While paid advertisements can help people know about a new product or target a new audience, brand-sponsored posts tend to be a bit more organic. The latter taps into the audiences of major influencers that would find your business, product, or service appealing.
Brand-sponsored posts might include photos of the influencer wearing a brand’s clothing, for instance, or they may include images of the influencer using a product. In other cases, they may include photos your brand provides along with written content encouraging the influencer’s followers to participate in a contest or sharing a story about why they think your products or services are great. These posts typically include a hashtag indicating that it’s a sponsored post, such as #ad, as well as a mention of your brand’s Instagram profile.
Tips for Creating Effective Instagram Sponsored Posts
Screenshot via @oliviacalabio via Instagram
Regardless of the type of Instagram sponsored posts you use, there are a few universal tips that can help you ensure that the time and money you spend on them is worth it:
1. Understand What Your Audience Loves
Knowing your audience well will help you decide what content they want to see more of. Instagram Insights gives you a good look at your audience demographics and the types of content they respond to most. You can also look at past posts and see which ones got the most engagement.
View your engagement rates in Instagram Insights and filter your posts by engagement to see the top performers. Sponsored posts similar to content that has performed well in the past are more likely to do well.
2. Know What Posts to Promote
Not all of your Instagram posts will be worthy of becoming promoted posts. You should reserve promotions for posts that are already doing well with your audience and could, therefore, lead to grabbing the attention of even more people on Instagram.
Think about which already-successful posts could benefit from having a wider reach. When you promote a post, you’ll have the additional benefit of adding a call-to-action to the post, which could help you get conversions from a brand-new audience.
3. Set Up Targeting
Targeting the right audience is necessary to ensure that your posts get delivered to the people you want them to. You can target by location, gender, age, and other more specific metrics to find the people you want to reach.
4. Have a Consistent Posting Schedule
Instagram’s algorithm gives weight to accounts that post consistently, at least once each day. The more consistent you are with supplying new, fresh posts to your account, the better your chances of gaining organic reach that can also help your sponsored posts’ success. Use Instagram Insights to get an idea of the best times to post according to when your audience is the most active to maximize engagement.
5. Test Different Types of Sponsored Posts to See What Works
Promoting a few different types of posts and analyzing their engagement results can help you decide what future sponsored posts might work well for your business. For example, you might promote posts with different aesthetics or pit an image post against a quote or text-based post to see what gets people liking and commenting.
6. Work with Influencers
Sponsoring influencers’ posts on Instagram can potentially give you the best return on your investment, even more than promoted posts or ads. When you sponsor an influencer’s post, they are responsible for creating genuine content focused on your brand, product, or service. They already know what works for their audience, and their sponsored content for your brand will align with and reflect those interests. You’ll get authentic content from a top influencer while introducing your brand to their audience.
To find influencers who are a good fit for your business:
- Search posts in hashtags that are relevant to your business
- Browse your followers to see who actively engages with your brand
- Place importance on an influencer’s engagement rather than followers
- Make sure that the influencer’s content quality, brand values, and focus aligns with your brand
Finding success with sponsored posts on Instagram starts with building a solid audience. You can jump-start the process by making sure that your business website is optimized for people to connect with you on Instagram. Install the Instagram follow button to make it easy for your website or blog visitors to follow you with a single click. It takes just minutes to install, and it’s totally free to use!
If you’re looking for more ideas on how to grow your Instagram following, we’ve also created a series of free Instagram resources, including: our guide to the proper Instagram post word limit, answer to the question “how do I share a post on Instagram,” our look at the perfect Instagram profile photo size, and our guide to optimizing your Instagram post caption.