Collaborating with brands on sponsored posts is the primary way for creators to make money on Instagram – many creators make upwards of six figures with these types of partnerships. It’s a great way to make a living, because you get to work with companies you love, your audience gets access to awesome content, and you get paid for all of it.
For a long time, Instagram didn’t do anything to enable creators who favored brand partnerships. It was all under the table. But recently that’s begun to change, and Instagram has more and more tools to help sponsors and creators collaborate, thanks in part to more stringent regulations about disclosing sponsorships to your audience. Plus, everyone wants a piece of the creator economy – especially Instagram.
The main challenge for creators today is finding the right partner. As an influencer, you obviously want to keep your audience happy. A bad brand collab is a surefire way to lose followers and weaken your connection to your audience. A good one will grow your audience, even strengthening your relationship with your core tribe.
Here’s how to find your perfect collab partner for Instagram content.
1. Stalk your followers.
Usually, your followers stalk you, but by turning the tables on them, you get a real insight into their minds which helps you make the content they’ll love.
What other brands do they like? What influencers do they follow (besides you), and what brands do those influencers collaborate with? Have those collaborations been well received?
For example, imagine you’re Taylor Swift and you want to know what collab will be most intriguing to your audience. Take a look at your followers – you’ll probably notice a lot of them also follow the Kardashian clan. The Kardashians frequently post pictures of themselves wearing elaborate costumes, which means your fans might also enjoy seeing you post a collab with a costume brand.
You can do the legwork yourself, or you can use a tool like The Preview App, which lets you see what your competitors are posting, and what posts resonate most with their audiences. Don’t be afraid to copy their tactics – just make sure that the execution is true to who you are.
2. Shop around on influencer advertising platforms
Many influencers don’t know this well-kept secret: brands are hungry for good influencers to collaborate with. They want you as much as you want them, even if you’re just getting started and have a relatively modest audience. You just need to know the best place to find them.
There are dozens of matchmaking platforms and marketplaces out there. With Popular Pays, which was recently acquired by Lightricks, brands post explicit guidelines on what they want and who they’re looking for. This makes it easy for you to look through and pick the best one that fits your needs and what your audience wants from you.
Usizg a platform is also a good way to avoid scams. There are tons of fraudulent brands who build their whole business around “collaborating” with you, but secretly just want you to buy their stuff. If they’re on a marketplace, their reputations are on the line, so it’s a safe bet they’re the real deal.
3. If the brand doesn’t come to you, you must go to the brand.
It’s scary to reach out to brands and secure a partnership, but that’s one of the best ways to make sure your brand collab is perfect. If you’re not happy with the quality of brands contacting you, or if you’re not getting any leads at all, it might be time to take matters into your own hands.
To find a natural fit, look at what brands follow you and reach out to them first. Alternatively, you can look for them on the marketplaces and see if they’ve already posted a campaign you might be interested in. This lets you set the tone for your future partnership.
Not sure where to start with your outreach? Ampjar offers some quality advice on setting up a media kit, so that the brands you reach out to can gain a sense of what you’re all about at a glance. And here’s a great guide from Liz of Blue and Hazel that you can use to inform your emails and DMs, so you can land your dream collab.
Good collabs are a positive cycle for your brand
When you partner with the right brand, you’ll get paid to create awesome content that your audience loves. This helps you grow your audience, which means you get paid more and can access more brands, which helps you dedicate yourself more fully to the creator lifestyle.
To find those perfect brands and jumpstart that growth cycle, you can research your followers’ interests by stalking them on Instagram. You can also look at platforms to find good fits that are legit. Finally, you can see if there are any brands you already follow that might be a good fit for you and your audience.
A good brand collab is great for brands, you, and your audience.