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Influencers of virtually any size can make money on Instagram with affiliate marketing but what about paid sponsorships? Getting a paid Instagram sponsorship is a dream come true for many content creators, but it can be difficult to know where to start. However, once you get started paid sponsorships can equate to a more reliable stream of income than affiliate marketing. Here’s how to go about landing your first paid Instagram sponsorship, as well as some important do’s and don’ts I have learned over many years of working with big name brands.
A sponsored post is content that you are paid to create – either in money or in product donations. Legally, you must declare that a post is sponsored. Don’t be tempted to break this rule, even if the company you’re working with asks you to. Not only could you end up in legal trouble, you will also lose your audience’s trust and all of your hard work will be meaningless. Transparency is key.
Influencer marketing is powerful and brands know this. Research by the Digital Marketing Institute found that 70% of teenagers trust influencers more than celebrities, whilst 4 in 10 millennials feel that their favorite content creator understands them better than their friends. And when you trust someone and feel understood by them, you tend to take their product recommendations seriously.
Influencer marketing also generates an impressive return on investment because it allows them to create super-targeted campaigns. The average campaign generates $6.50 for every dollar spent. This explains why Mediakix, an influencer marketing agency, found that:
In short, influencers have the audience that brands want, and brands will pay for access. As the above figures demonstrate, companies of all sizes and budgets are keen to invest in influencer marketing, meaning that you’re never too small to get started.
Eye-catching content and thought-provoking captions are fantastic, but you need your audience to trust you. An engaged audience is more likely to take your recommendations, and that trust is what brands are paying you for.
Building trust on Instagram is a whole topic in and of itself, but here are some tips to point you in the right direction:
Some brands will approach you, but you can’t always rely on that. Think of sponsored posts as you would job recruitment; sometimes, you’ll be head-hunted but often in order to get that dream job, you need to actually apply!
Create a pitch template you can use as a basis to save time, but remember to tailor each pitch to a brand. Focus on what you can offer them specifically and why you’re passionate about working together.
Continuing on with the recruitment metaphor for a moment, whether you’re applying for a new job or approached by a company, you’ll need to show them a resume. For content creators, that means creating a media kit that showcases your strengths and achievements. Since Instagram is a very visual platform, your media kit needs to be aesthetically pleasing and reflective of your personal brand.
Don’t just start pitching to random brands. It pays to be picky about who you work with, so research brands carefully. Start by contacting the brands you already know and love. If you’re genuinely passionate about a brand, you can use that to create a killer pitch. If you’re contacting a brand you haven’t got any experience with, consider whether you would actually buy their product. Your audience will be able to tell if your heart’s not in it and you’re just chasing a buck.
I recommend creating a spreadsheet listing brands you have pitched to and the status of each application. This will help you to keep a close eye on the process and follow up on any responses promptly. Brands want to work with influencers who are communicative, so don’t wait a week before responding to their emails!
Getting your first paid Instagram sponsorship offer is very exciting, but don’t get swept away and sell yourself short.
Remember that brands don’t sponsor you to be nice. They do it because they generate a return on their investment. You have worked hard to gain your following, so stay strong and don’t be afraid to negotiate. You are providing a service and delivering value.
A very general rule of thumb is that you can earn a minimum $10 per 1,000 Instagram followers, but of course, this varies a lot due to engagement rates and how much it costs you to produce your content in the first place! This is a minimum figure.
Many brands offer product donations instead of money; it’s up to you if you want to accept this. Let’s say you have 7,000 followers and charge $100 per sponsored post. You may be happy to accept a product of equivalent or greater value than that sum. As your audience grows, this could mean more valuable gifts and experiences, such as free stays at luxury hotels.
In my group content creation tour in The Maldives I will be sharing my in-depth secrets to securing lucrative brand deals and delivering incredible content that will skyrocket your value. To find out more about this luxury wellness trip, click here.
And for more articles to help you grow your social media presence and develop your brand, check out:
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Your Luxe Lifestyle was founded by luxury world traveler Isabella Garofanelli bringing you the very best the globe has to offer in travel, lifestyle, and wellness.
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