Advertising is all about building a relationship with your audience and then leveraging that relationship to sell more of your products and services. The problem is, many people don’t trust ads. At least not when it comes from brands themselves.
But there is a workaround around that. Meet sponsored posts, pieces of social media content that include a promotion and are usually a cooperation between a brand and a content creator. They are a great way to grow social media channels, expand a brand’s reach, and boost sales.
This article takes a close look at what sponsored posts are, how they work, how you can create effective sponsored posts on social media platforms, and more.
What is a sponsored post?
Sponsored post is a post on a social media platform that includes promotion, and was paid for, in one form or another. These types of posts have been around for a while, from print to TV commercials. However, with the development of social media, they’ve transitioned online.
In the digital world, sponsored posts have all the qualities of a native ad: they aim to sell and they are crafted to fit the environment they are in. However, sponsored posts are not as disruptive as native ads run by brands. Because they are a piece of content posted by someone people already follow, sponsored posts look more natural. But how do they work exactly? Let’s take a look.
How does sponsored post work?
So, how do sponsored posts work? There is no single right answer to this question because sponsored posts can come in all shapes and forms. However, each one of those posts has three components:
- The Sponsor – This is the brand or the company that pays the social media influencer to promote their product or service.
- The Partner – The partner is the person who is doing the promotion on their social channels, blog, or elsewhere.
- The Asset – The asset is the post itself, whether it’s a story, a blog post, or a mention in a YouTube video.
Brands and influencers can come into contact in two-sided ways. It’s common for both brands to scout influencers in their niche, and for the content creators to reach out to brands offering their services. Once both sides decide to work together, they then agree on the terms of cooperation, such as the content type, partnership duration, and pricing.
Who needs sponsored posts?
Sponsored posts can be a great asset for every business, no matter their type and size. Whether it’s an international company or a local small brand, through collaboration with influencers and sponsored posts, they can improve the business outcomes significantly.
That being said, there are industries that use influencer marketing more than others. Let’s look at some of them.
● Beauty – The beauty industry is thriving through influencer marketing. And given how visual the beauty industry is, it’s not least bit surprising. Influencers not only talk about the results of certain products, but also show them. And people follow creators with the same beauty problems or preferences they have.
● Travel – Travel industry is another one to greatly benefit from working with influencers. They offer trusted sources of comfortable accommodations, affordable flights, delicious restaurants, and places for exciting pastimes, all of this presented through beautifully-crafted visuals, tempting their followers to visit.
● Food/beverages – Who doesn’t love good food? When going out for dinner, we tend to drift towards familiar places or locations someone we know has recommended. And this is exactly the reason why influencer marketing is especially successful in the restaurant industry.
Because influencer-generated content receives 8x more engagement than regular branded content, and influencer whitelisting outperforms social media ads by 20%-50%, more and more marketers start to invest into collaborating with content creators. Many of them use influencer marketing as a standalone tool, while for others it is an enhancement to other marketing campaigns. Either way, by enlisting the help of influencers and opinion makers in their niche, all industries can effectively improve brand recognition, boost engagement, and grow sale.
What are the benefits of sponsored posts?
Sponsored posts are among one of the most effective promotional strategies today, rapidly growing in popularity in a relatively short time. To understand why exactly this is the case, let’s dive deep into some of the key benefits of sponsored posts.
● Sponsored posts improve brand awareness and reach. Through collaboration with creators who’ve established themselves as experts in your niche, you can access a yet untapped, but potentially interested audience.
● Through collaboration with established names in your niche, you can build credibility and trust toward your brand.
● Sponsored posts are a great way to enrich your content strategy, make a shift from what you usually do, and produce fresh and entertaining content.
● Get more sales by enlisting influencers to drive purchase decisions.
Influencers have the power to drive more people toward your brand. By strategically collaborating with them, you can attract new customers and drive conversions, among other benefits.
Sponsored Post Types
Sponsored posts are highly effective, it’s true. However, not all sponsored posts are created equal. In different cases, varying scenarios work better, and for your sponsored posts to achieve the targeted result, choosing the right content format is crucial. Some of the more popular sponsored post types are:
- Paid posts – These are carefully-curated images or videos subtly or not-so-subtly showcasing the products, talking about their benefits in the description, and trying to evoke the interest of the viewers. In the case of video, there is room for some extra details. What’s important to note is that paid posts are usually one-time collaborations.
- Affiliate links/codes – Affiliate links/codes allow influencers to earn every time someone makes a purchase by using them. In this case, the brand doesn’t pay the influencers for their posts in a strict sense of the word. However, content creators feel motivated to share information about the brand, as there is a financial reward.
- Brand deals – Brand deals are very similar to paid posts. However, there is one big difference: brand deals are longer collaborations, ranging from weeks to years. In this case, influencers often feature the branded products on their profile, as well as get gifts from brands in exchange for promoting them.
Depending on what the brand and the content creator need, if planned strategically, each of these sponsored post types can be effective and yield good results.
What is an Instagram Sponsored post?
A good way to go about Instagram sponsored posts is to think of them as native ads, and in a way, they are: a brand sets a budget to create and promote a piece of content advertising their product or service. There are two types of Instagram sponsored posts:
- Ads/boosted posts – These are the ads that the business runs itself, through its own profile. Instagram, just like other major social media platforms, has its own ad management tool, allowing businesses to run targeted ads on the platform.
- Paid sponsorships – The posts made on Instagram as a result of collaboration between a brand and an influencer. This can be initiated by either party. Once the influencer finds a business that’s ready to sponsor them, they can start running Instagram sponsored posts on their page. The posts can vary from stories to static posts or reels with the brand tagged on them, depending on the agreed cooperation format.
When talking about sponsored posts, however, more often than not paid sponsorships are referred. On the platform, these types of posts are usually indicated with a “Paid Partnership” sign next to the username of the creator. It’s a requirement by the platform: influencers are required to disclose all their collaborations to ensure transparency towards their community.
Instagram sponsored posts have proven, over time, to be an effective investment for brands: 87% of users took action after seeing a product on Instagram. Except for this much desired boost in sales, Instagram sponsored posts also give access to invaluable data on users who’ve liked, commented, or otherwise engaged with the product, showing a potential interest.
How to do sponsored posts on Instagram?
Now that you know the ins and out of sponsored posts, let’s take a look at how you can make effective sponsored posts on Instagram, the largest platform for influencer marketing.
Use Instagram Influencer Marketplaces
At the beginning of influencer marketing, content creators and brands had to do all the hard work of scouting the internet for potential partnerships. This included finding each other, sending the offers, agreeing on the price, and keeping tabs on hundreds of proposals. If this sounds like a tedious non-stop task, it’s because it was.
Managing this chaos has become significantly easier after the emergence of influencer marketplaces, software solutions designed to help content creators to manage all their co-operations in one place. Here’s how it works: brands make posts about a type of cooperation they are looking for. Interested influencers then pitch themselves using the same platform, and if the brand finds the pitch interesting, a partnership is formed. Instagram influencer marketplaces work in a similar way, grouping influencers and brands based on their size, niche, and needs, making it easier for users to find the right collaboration partner.
Post Every Day
When it comes to social media, the consistency of your posts matters just as much as their quality. Especially if you are just starting out as a content creator and need to build your account, investing time to post content every day can go a long way.
It is reported that posting once a day is an optimal number to make your Instagram account grow. This is important because Instagram algorithms favor fresh content, and having a new piece every day can help you always stay in the feeds of your audience, making sure they don’t unfollow you.
This is to say, you don’t need to post every day forever. Stick to being active in the beginning, and once your account starts to grow, you can then figure out what frequency works best for your audience and brand.
Use Appropriate Hashtags and Geotags
Hashtags and geotags are often undeservedly ignored by creators. Meanwhile, they are great (and effortless!) ways to make your content more discoverable on Instagram. Let’s look at them separately.
Geotags are simply geographical locations added to your Instagram posts. Then, when other users search for the location, your post will be displayed in the list. Here’s how it looks:
Adding a geotag to your post is a simple way to reach significantly more people, and boost engagement with your content. It’s reported that posts with geotags have 79% higher engagement! And if you are promoting a brick-and-mortar location, geotags are also a great way to share their exact location with your community.
Now, hashtags. If used properly, they can make your content significantly more discoverable and help you group your posts.
For this, you need to research the trending hashtags in your niche and keep them relevant to your content and industry. While this seems counterintuitive, more specific hashtags with a lower number of posts can be more effective. If you are a travel blogger, for example, #hiking features 77,453,000 posts, while #hikingtexas has 65,000. The more niche your hashtag, the easier it will be for your posts to get discovered by the right people. You can also add geotags as hashtags, making it easier to reach people in specific locations!
Pro-tip: Don’t overdo it. Instagram allows creators to use 30 hashtags per post, but avoid using too many of them. It will make your content look spammy, which is something you want to avoid. Stick to 2-4 relevant hashtags for optimal performance.
Sponsored Post Examples
Influencer marketing is here to stay. Thousands of brands around the world recognize that Instagram sponsored posts can make a huge impact on their business, and invest significantly into creating creative and memorable collaborations. To help you get inspired for your next sponsored posts, we’ve collected a few examples of sponsored posts done right. Here are they:
- Jordan Rose X Daniel Wellington
Daniel Wellington is a brand of elegant watches and often collaborates with influencers by gifting their pieces. Their collaboration with Jordan Rose is subtle and beautiful. The post doesn’t strike as too “salesy”, it fits the aesthetic of the content creator, offering a discount and promoting their product in a way that’s not invasive.
- Chris Burkard X Capital One
The cooperation between travel influencer Chris Burkard and Capital One took the form of a beautifully-crafted video from his trips with his family. The benefits of Capital One cards during their trips are carefully matched with the overall idea of Chris’s account, and although from first sight travel and banking don’t seem to have a lot in common, the campaign just works.
3. Dr. Adeline Kikam DO, FAAD x Neostrata
Neostrata is a skincare brand creating solutions for various skin coloration disorders, so collaborating with a skin inclusivity advocate and dermatologist Dr. Adeline Kikam seems to be just the perfect collaboration. The video shares comprehensive information on the advertised product: what it consists of, when it should be used, in what amount, and what are the effects. It’s short, on point, and with an industry professional people trust, checking all the boxes for the perfect sponsored post.
Instagram sponsored posts are a great way for influencers and brands to achieve their goals and help each other grow and reach new audiences. With this said, getting sponsored on Instagram is not easy: you’ll need to invest effort and be patient. You need to approach the task strategically and know which steps you need to take. Take all the tips into consideration as you work to grow your profile, and keep an eye out for individuals and brands that match your interests and aesthetics as you start looking for paid opportunities. Facilitate the process by using Instagram influencer marketplaces like ViralMango to facilitate the process, and with time you’ll earn the trust of potential clients. Good luck!
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