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An Influencer’s Guide To Instagram Paid Partnerships

As you browse the Instagram app, you may have noticed that some of your favorite influencer's posts will be tagged with "paid partnership." More often than not, the posts that have this tag may be sporting some sort of merchandise or promoting a service or product.

You may have wondered what exactly this means and if the influencers that are posting this are getting a decent chunk of change from whatever they’re promoting. Moreover, you may be wondering how you can get in on the action.

Luckily for you, we’ve written a guide that will teach about the paid partnership feature on Instagram and how you can get one for yourself. In this article, we’ll go over just what exactly these partnerships are and how to get one along with things to avoid, and tips on how to be successful with them.

What Are Paid Partnerships?

The first thing we need to cover is what exactly a paid partnership is. On Instagram, a paid partnership occurs when an Instagram influencer shares a post or story and tags the account of a business or brand as a Business Partner on said post. This is a type of influencer marketing that the brand or business has compensated someone for.

They are not always compensated using money. In fact, some businesses may give influencers free products, discounts, or other things in exchange for promoting branded content. This branded content ad is not limited to being seen by the influencer’s followers. In fact, it is likely that the business or brand account will promote the individual’s post.

This can be an extra boon to some influencers as it’s likely that the business or brand account has a larger following than them. Thus, their reach and exposure will further increase and they may discover an influx of followers during their partnership. However, these brands won’t collaborate with just anyone. If you are looking to secure a paid partnership, it would be wise to have a sizeable following before you start looking for them.

Another benefit that paid partnerships grant to brands is transparency with their target audience. The ability to see a post tagged with a partnership allows influencers and brands alike to make content that is centered around the product without beating around the bush.

Also, this transparency was a direct result of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines as a majority of influencers and brands were not being forward about their product promotions.

When Should I Start Looking For Partnerships?

You have to keep in mind, as we said earlier, that brands or businesses won’t just want to partner with just any creator or influencer. They’ll want someone who is known enough to help increase their reach. Therefore, you will want to have a pretty high follower count. A thousand followers would be the lowest we can recommend beginning looking for partnerships. However, there is another factor that is possibly more important than follower count.

While a high follower count can certainly be impressive to a business if they’re looking at you to be a possible sponsorship candidate, something that is just as important is engagement. If you have a huge mass of followers but your posts barely get a fraction of likes from them or your videos barely get watched, this might cause the brand to turn away from you.

Therefore, it is imperative to have an active follower base, make sure they’re interacting with your posts and your stories! A handy metric tool to use to make sure your content is doing well is to use the Insights tool on Instagram.

Once you have a decent number of followers and your posts are consistently receiving good engagement, the next step for you is to reach out to a brand or business!

Benefits of Paid Partnerships

Aside from the obvious point that a paid partnership being a great way to earn some extra money for simply making Instagram posts, partnerships can be an excellent way to increase your following. Like we mentioned before, brands can share your posts and stories on their own pages thus giving you more exposure and reach than before.

Additionally, paid partnerships can help you build a transparent, trusting relationship with your followers. Depending on how well your partnerships go, it can lead to other businesses and brands reaching out to your for better deals! It is also possible to get a better look at who you want to become business partners with in the future.

How To Get A Paid Partnership

So now you want to reach out to businesses, brands, or maybe even other influencers about paid partnerships. But how does one even go about doing that? Well, everyone has their process but we have some general tips to help you get on the right track.

1. Be yourself: Authenticity and transparency are key when looking for a paid partnership. Brand’s and businesses will not look for someone that is pretending to be something they’re not. Moreover, once you’ve secured the partnership, you need to make sure that your posts don’t come off as robotic or sound forced when compared to your other, unsponsored posts. Be authentic and

2. Find the right brand for you: When looking for paid partnerships, you should always be looking for brands and businesses that you enjoy or are passionate about. Perhaps there’s a certain clothing brand or even a food company that you love that might possibly be interested in a commercial relationship. It’s all about finding the right match as you don’t want to get in a partnership with a business that produces things that you dislike. Not only can it lead to burnout, but your posts could decrease in quality and lead to less engagement.

3. Remember the importance of engagement: Speaking of engagement, you should be reminded just how imperative it is for your posts to be interacted with. It doesn’t matter if you have a million followers, if you’re working with a brand and only a small fraction of Instagram users interact with your posts about them, they won’t be very happy about that.

4. It’s okay to say no: Getting a paid partnership can be an exciting ordeal and can be a big step on your way to growing your Instagram page. However, you need to make sure that the business you are looking to work with is adequately compensating you and that you’re getting a good deal. Don’t be so eager that you’re willing to promote nearly anything just for the chance for a few extra followers and some extra cash in your pocket. Don’t sell yourself short and stay true to yourself. If you enjoy Instagram as much as we do, you don’t want to turn it into a boring chore!

How To Set Up Paid Partnerships

Once you’ve gotten to talking with a potential sponsor, you’ll need to set up your creator account or business profile so that the partnership will actually work. The first step is to make sure that your potential business partner has actually approved you to tag them in your posts. To check for this you can begin to post a piece of partner-related content like any other Instagram post.

However, before you go to post it, tap on “advanced settings” and then tap “tag business partner.” It will then prompt you with a search box to look for your business partner. If you can’t find them, it then it’s likely they haven’t approved you. Once you’re sure that your new partner has approved you, it’s time to start posting. Essentially, follow the same steps as before.

Every time you post something connecting to your business partner, be sure to tag them in it with the appropriate feature. With Instagram stories, the process is pretty similar. Right after you post your story, you must view it and then tap the three dots that are on the bottom right. This will allow you to bring up the option to add a link. Tapping that then allows you to tag a business partner, similar to adding it to your normal posts.

How To Make Sponsored Posts

Now that you know how to tag your business partners in your posts and stories, you’ll need to go about taking the necessary photos and adding appropriate captions to make good branded content posts. While this is pretty self-explanatory, we do have a few pointers so that you can do your best to satisfy your business partner’s branded content policies.

For starters, make sure you’ve thoroughly gone over what your sponsor wants you to include in your posts and stories as it may require approval. If they want you to take pictures of yourself using their product, make sure you do so in a way that it is clearly visible and shows you actively using it in a positive manner.

Remember, your sponsor is essentially paying you to be a marketer, you need to do your best to sell the product. Put as much effort into these posts as you would with your personal ones! When it comes to the captions, your sponsor may require you to say a little about the product or brand that you are advertising. Make sure that you make this caption in your usual style unless otherwise specified.

You don’t want to sound too stiff, as if your business manager is talking for you. Your caption should sound like what your followers would usually expect from you. Sounding unnatural may cause your follower to not even look at the product you’re advertising. Also, remember to include any appropriate hashtags, including the paid partnership tag.

Extra Tips and Things to Avoid

Now that we’ve covered the basics of paid partnerships and how to get started on getting your own, here are a few extra tips and things that content creators should avoid while you’re working to secure a paid partnership.

First and foremost, set some goals for yourself. This can be anything from “I want to make ‘x’ amount of money” or “I want to double my follower account by the end of the month.” The reason that you want to set goals for yourself is twofold. The first reason is that having goals helps you keep yourself on track and focused. It will stop you from becoming distracted and jumping from one endeavor to the next.

Secondly, some potential business partners may ask you about something like this. Therefore, seeing someone that has goals and is actively seeking out ways to meet them will leave a good impression. Don’t partner up with random businesses and brands! You need to make sure that you do your research about whatever potential business partner you are talking with.

They might turn out to be a company that makes products you don’t really enjoy or won’t appeal to your follower base. Or, even worse, they could be a very disreputable brand that will ultimately hurt your reputation as an influencer for working with them. You should always be looking to collaborate with businesses, brands, and other people if they are producing something that you find interesting or are passionate about.

Even if only a niche audience likes what is being made, it is better to put your best foot forward for something you care about than to put minimal effort into something you could care less for. Some things you should absolutely be very careful of as you search for potential business partners are fake accounts and scammers.


The unfortunate thing about modern social media marketing is that it is filled with things like bots and fake accounts that will take advantage of others to acquire personal information in an effort to steal money. There are, however, some big red flags that you should be on the lookout for as you look through the vast ocean of Instagram accounts.


If you receive a message from a potential partner seemingly out of the blue, promising a lot of money for a content campaign, it is too good to be true. Also, if a big brand approaches you, make sure that you check their account. Sometimes people will impersonate them or representatives of that brand. There’s no harm in going straight to the source to make sure that you’re actually talking to them.

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