Whether you’re an avid user of Instagram or a new blogger just starting out, you must have seen many posts with the hashtag #sponsored or #ad cropping up a lot recently on your feed. Are you curious to know how these posts come about? How do people land an opportunity to create a sponsored post for a brand on Instagram, and do they have to follow certain guidelines? Over the past year I’ve had the privilege to work with many brands, large and small, and would love to share with you what actually goes on behind the scenes! Read on for the low-down…
What are sponsored posts?
Let’s start with the basics. If a post contains the hashtag #sponsored or #ad, it means that the person is working with a brand to promote their product/service by posting the image onto their own social media page to share with their followers. They would have received remuneration for their post in the form of either gifting, a discount code to use on their website, direct payment or through the use of affiliate links where they can earn a small commission for every sale they make.
As a rule of thumb, influencers will strive to give you their honest opinion about the products/services they are promoting to remain authentic. So just because a post is sponsored does not mean that they are forced to say good things about the brand.
How do you get sponsored?
Usually if a brand has spotted your page and wants to work with you, they will reach out to you via email or DM you on Instagram asking if you would like to collaborate. They can also approach you if you have signed up to online platforms that connect brands with influencers. It can work the other way too, where you can approach a brand to ask if they would be interested to collaborate together.
Then after that, there’s a lot of back and forth with emails about what they would like you to promote, how they would like you to promote it, any specific time frame etc. I’m not going to go into detail about the emails as that would be another blog post on its own!
Are there any guidelines that you have to adhere to?
You must state in the description of your post that it is a sponsored post or an ad to make it clear to everyone that it is an advertisement. You can do this by using the hashtags #sponsored or #ad. If you don’t, you are actually breaking the law. At the moment as advertising on social media is still quite a new thing, this rule is not being consistently followed through for many influencers, which can make it difficult for people to distinguish between an ad and a normal post. But it is good practice to always state it as it will show your audience that you are honest and trust-worthy by being open about it. I hate when I see a post that’s clearly an advert and the person has not stated anywhere that it’s an ad – it’s just shady!
For some influencers, they will put a link at the top of their posts ‘Paid partnership with…’ if it is an ad, which is the equivalent to stating #sponsored or #ad.
Do you have to sign a contract?
Not necessarily, it can depend on how big the project is that you’re taking on, and every brand is different. Some brands will be fine with just an agreement through email, some will want you to read their brief and terms and conditions before stating that you’ll commit to the collaboration. Some may send you a contract where you have to sign it electronically and return it to them.
When to accept or decline a sponsor?
For me personally, I will only work with a brand that I really love or am interested in what they do. I have to feel like it will fit in with my personality, core values and my overall feed aesthetic. All opinions would always be my own and I would not be promoting something that I wasn’t proud of or dislike. For influencers, authenticity is everything. Collaborating with brands is exciting but remember to be true to yourself and what you stand for; you are allowed to say no if it doesn’t align with what you do! Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate with brands if you’re not happy with their proposal so that you can both benefit from the collaboration.
I hope that you found this an insightful and interesting read, thank you for stopping by! I am so, so grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had so far working with brands, and I hope to continue to grow and inspire others!
If you have any questions about sponsorships on Instagram, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll try and get back to you! 🙂