Influencers are the bread and butter of Instagram. It’s an industry that’s risen to colossal heights, with the platform now boasting a total of active 500,000 influencers and counting. With the opportunity to make a living out of using the platform, many are wondering: how does one get sponsored on Instagram?

What Does it Mean to Get Sponsored on Instagram?

Being sponsored on Instagram means having a business pay you to upload a post. These typically involve a review, promotion, or simply a mention of a specific service or product.

Getting sponsored can rake in the big bucks, if you’re lucky. According to Hubspot, the average price for a sponsored post on the platform is $300. If you think that’s impressive, those sitting on the higher levels of Instagram fame make upwards of $25,000 per post. It’s no wonder plenty aspire to this new, thriving career path.

How to get sponsored on Instagram - @sssniperwolf

Courtesy of sssniperwolf (Instagram account).

With brands now paying more attention to micro influencers – that is, “everyday user” with a decent following of 3,000 or more – the ability to make money on Instagram is more plausible than ever.

So how do you get sponsored on Instagram? Here at Socialfollow, we’ve broken the process down step by step.

How to Get Sponsored on Instagram

Getting sponsored on Instagram will require consistent work, creativity, and the ability to form genuine connections online. Landing that first paid post will thus take time, but the growth you build along the way – and hopefully, the money you earn – will surely be worth it.

Step 1: Have an Established Brand and Niche

As with any user seeking Instagram success, one must first define their content before raking in the sponsors.

Determine what it is you love to share. Is it pictures of decadent brunches? “Outfit of the Day” photos? Health and fitness inspiration?

This will help establish your brand, and paints you as an expert in the topic. With a feed dedicated to a specific purpose, viewers and potential followers are more likely to trust you in your message.

Establish a niche/brand - @mollyyeh

Courtesy of mollyyeh (Instagram account).

On top of that, you’ll need a distinct aesthetic style. Aim to have distinguishable posts that stand out from the noise; ideally, you’ll want someone to instantly recognize your content as they’re scrolling through your feed.

Achieving this involves designing a specific theme or deciding on a consistent photography or editing style. You’ll want a look that’s unique from the rest, while cohesively tying your feed together. Taking notes from your favorite accounts can be a helpful starting point in this process.

Step 2: Ensure Consistent Posts

Now that you’ve determined the style and subject of your content, it’s time to get posting.

New uploads must take place on a regular basis to ensure a keen, active presence on the platform. A 2019 study by SocialBuddy shows that a range of one to three posts a day is ideal for most users; with major brands posting on an average of 1.5 times per day.

How to get sponsored on Instagram - consistent posting

Consistent posting keeps your audience engaged, and with frequent delivery of quality content – you’re reminding them why they followed you in the first place. This discipline also gains you more likes, followers, and a higher chance of getting featured on the platform’s Explore page.

Regular content also shows the engagement and passion you have for your specific field. Those who display such commitment, and grow a loyal following to boot, are far more likely to catch the attention of potential sponsors.

Step 3: Grow a Large, Active Following

It’s a harsh truth, but if you’re looking to build an Instagram business – numbers do matter.

A high, engaged follower count serves as social proof of your influence and skill in a specific industry. Since the main goal of a sponsor is to drive more sales, they’d want to work with reliable, trusted figure in their niche. A large audience would also mean more exposure for their product or service; it’s an easy, yet effective way of “spreading the word”.

@theplanetd Instagram followers

Courtesy of theplanetd (Instagram account).

Achieving this step is what makes the previous two so crucial – successfully growing an audience requires a regular presence on the platform, delivering quality content.

It also helps to optimize tags on your posts. These make it easier for potential followers to find your profile, and include hashtags, geotags, and user tags.

How to get sponsored on Instagram - use tags, @theplanetd

Courtesy of theplanetd (Instagram account).

Do your research on the most popular and trending hashtags used by users in your niche. These will help your content land on the appropriate hashtag pages, gaining you more reach and engagement. Geotags, or location tags, can also narrow down your target demographic based on certain countries or regions.

Finally, tagging others is a quick, easy method of reaching out to others in your community. Up-and-coming influencers typically do this with brands; if you’re lucky, you may just catch their attention as a potential sponsor.

Step 4: Let Brands Know You’re Willing to Collaborate

As an aspiring influencer, your Instagram feed functions similarly to that of a resume or portfolio.

Your aim is to thus obtain more work or projects, so it’s crucial to be transparent about this. Brands won’t know you’re open for business unless you state so, and provide clear information on how they can best get in touch.

Let brands know you're willing to collaborate - @fkweldam

Courtesy of fkweldam (Instagram account).

This is best done through having a proper bio, where you outline your specialities and contact information. Your bio is the first thing brands see when they visit your profile, so be sure to optimize this!

It also pays to have your own website and include a link to it; this gives you a space to develop your media kit, further outlining your experience and what you can offer brands. This saves the need for lengthy e-mails introducing yourself and your past work as an influencer, and creates an overall image of professionalism.

Approaching Brands Yourself

You needn’t always wait for brands to reach out, however. Don’t be afraid to make the first move, pitching paid sponsorships to companies you’d like to work with. When done well, you may just land yourself a new gig with a brand you admire!

When hunting for brands to pitch to, consider their own presence on the platform. You’ll want to work with a business who also puts care and effort into their own profile. It’s also okay to not score your dream brand off the bat; if you’re just starting out, it’s normal to start small.

Collaborating with small brands - @punehganji

Courtesy of punehganji (Instagram account).

Smaller brands also mean less influencer competition, making them a good starting point in building your Instagram portfolio. They’re also likely more open to collaborations to for more product or service exposure. Once you gained enough experience with a range of smaller brands, the larger ones are bound to take notice and approach you with bigger projects.

Of course, approaching brands will require a carefully written, professional pitch. Be sure to outline all your essential information as an influencer; including what you do, what your niche is, and important achievements or previous works. Tie this all together into why you’re good fit for their brand and how you’ll both make a successful partnership.

How to get sponsored on Instagram - contacting brands through email

There are various ways of contacting a brand, though some may prefer one method of communication over another. Use your best judgement. Some of the most common ways of getting a brand’s attention include:

  • Direct messaging them on InstagramThough quick and easy, this method may be best used as a starting point due to the hundreds they likely receive a day.
  • E-mail. It’s a traditional method, but it works for many. A company’s e-mail information can usually be found on their official website, if not on their Instagram bio.
  • Connecting with the appropriate people on LinkedIn. This may require a bit of a search, but you can also look for the brand’s social media manager on LinkedIn, and connect with them on a possible opportunity.

Step 5: Know Your Worth as a Creator

When scoring that first paid sponsorship, it’s natural to feel over the moon and ready to take what you can get. After all, you’re finally being paid to do what you love!

However, like any industry, there are standards of pay to appropriately compensate influencers. While it may seem like an easy job to simply post on Instagram, your main goal is to drive sales. This means you’ll have to think about how to properly style and structure your photo, apply the right edits, consider the optimum posting time, and craft the ideal caption. There’s a lot more work involved than we’re led to believe.

Know your worth as a creator

To ensure you’re paid what you’re worth, do your research on the standard rates of pay for influencers in your industry. The general standard is $10 for 1,000 followers, though these numbers may vary in other cases. Some influencers also choose to charge according to the number of likes or comments they accrue.

Ready to Get Sponsored on Instagram?

It’s the age of social media and digital marketing, and influencers continue to be an unstoppable billion-dollar force. Who knew a once-simple hub for selfies and smartphone photos would eventually birth a powerhouse of an industry?

Getting sponsored on Instagram has now allowed ordinary users to turn their social media game into a full-time gig. It may take time to land those first few brand deals – but with the right creativity, persistence, and connections, you’ll be partnering up with the big leagues in no time.