How To Get Sponsored on Instagram by Your Dream Brands

Profile photo of Karen Lin, author

Karen Lin

Instagram Tips | Feb 16, 2024

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

Instagram is more than just a social media platform where you can post pretty pictures and funny Instagram Stories. For many content creators, it’s also a place where you can find sponsorship opportunities and grow as an influencer. But how do you catch the eye of big brands you want to work with? Today, we’ll go through the ins and outs of how to get sponsored on Instagram for big and small influencers.

Influencer marketing is huge today, especially on Instagram where content creators pour their hearts into stunning photos and videos. For brands, this is a big opportunity. By working with influential creators, they can reach a wider audience and make more noise about their business.

Do you have what it takes to land your dream brand sponsorship? What do potential sponsors even look for when they select brand influencers? And can small-scale influencers find sponsorship opportunities, too? We’ll answer all your burning questions and more in this guide.

Two female influencers working on their sponsored post for a makeup brand.

What Are Instagram Paid Partnerships?

Let’s kick off this guide by defining what Instagram paid partnerships are. These partnerships—also called collaborations—mean a brand is willing to pay a content creator to promote them online. The brand intends to use the money to sponsor the posts an influencer creates for their followers to see.

Influencers are expected to create specific posts about the brand, whether on their feed or Instagram Stories and Reels. As a brand ambassador, they must endorse the brand’s products and encourage their engaged audience to try them out.

There are plenty of reasons why brands look to influencers to promote their goods and services on Instagram. For one thing, influencers have massive reach. That means reaching a wider audience, which is super important for boosting brand awareness.

Another reason is that influencers typically have higher engagement rates than brands. This is because users trust authentic people more than companies. That means people are more likely to listen to content creators talk about products than respond positively to ads.

However, influencers stand to gain a lot from sponsorship opportunities as well. Having that coveted “paid partnership” label on a post gives them extra credibility and social proof. People will see them as more legitimate and trustworthy if even big, renowned brands associate themselves with these creators. It’s a win-win partnership for both brand and influencer.

Market Yourself Well to Brands: How To Get a Sponsored Post on Instagram

If you want brands to sponsor some of your posts, you must build a solid profile to attract these companies. That means you need a sizeable reach, high engagement rates, and a loyal fanbase. These will allow you to catch the eye of potential sponsors and hopefully score collaborations with them.

Want to know the exact steps to be more attractive to brands? Here’s how to get a sponsored post on Instagram by beefing up your profile:

Grow Your Follower Count

As mentioned earlier, one of the reasons why brands love influencer marketing is because content creators have high follower counts.

When they sponsor an influencer’s post, there’s always a chance that a wider audience sees it and discovers the brand. That’s why working with macro-influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers is ideal for brands.

So, if you really want to get sponsored on social media, you must work hard to increase your follower count. The larger your fanbase, the more people will see your sponsored posts. Brands love this kind of visibility, which makes you more attractive as a brand influencer.

A high follower count can also make you look more credible to the average person. That means they will be more likely to listen to what you have to say. That’s another reason potential sponsors might scrutinize the size of your following.

There are many ways to grow your follower count. You can host giveaways, collaborate with other creators, and even use multiple hashtags per post for added exposure and discoverability.

Create a Good First Impression To Potential Sponsors

But your follower count isn’t the only thing potential brand sponsors will look at. They’ll sniff out every nook and cranny of your Instagram page, from your Instagram bio to your feed posts. So, make a good first impression when they look at your profile for the first time.

Ensure that your personal information is complete on your page. Use a clear, high-quality profile picture, write an interesting bio, and add your contact information. And most importantly, make sure your feed showcases your best, most relevant feed photos and videos.

If your profile is spick and span, it signals to potential sponsors that you are credible and professional. This will put you on their radar for any sponsorship opportunities they have in their influencer marketing plans.

Produce Original, Authentic, Engaging Content

It’s also important to put out high-quality, exciting, and relevant content to your target audience. Being visually stunning is one thing. But they must also resonate with your followers to engage with your posts. Churn out helpful, insightful content packed with personality.

Your posts should be original, not just reposts of memes, quotes, and stock photos. Reposting unoriginal content to populate your feed is tempting, but it’s not always a good idea.

According to the Harvard Business Review, influencers who create mainly original content attract more attention from other users. The brands lucky enough to work with them get higher engagement rates, too. 

Post Frequently, but Don’t Overwhelm Your Target Audience

Regularly updating and posting on your feed keeps you in your followers’ feeds. Your content will consistently be visible to them. And if your audience engages with your content, it gives you favorability in the algorithm. That means Instagram will keep pushing out your content more to your target audience—something that potential sponsors will love.

Posting frequently will keep your audience interested in what you upload next. When you have their attention and promote brands on your page, they will be very likely to see it.

However, make sure not to overwhelm your followers with too many posts. If you post irrelevant, low-quality content daily for the sake of posting, they may get put off by it. This can lead to people muting, unfollowing, or even blocking you.

We highly recommend building a content calendar to create an efficient posting schedule. By planning posts, you can stay on top of how much content you need to produce and publish.

a person typing on a computer

Build a Solid Relationship With Your Followers

Having many followers isn’t enough to get you sponsorship opportunities from brands. You need to have an engaged audience as well. You could have thousands of followers, but you can’t really influence them if they don’t interact with your content. That will make it challenging to convince them to buy products from your sponsors.

So, it’s important to build a solid, authentic relationship with your followers. You can’t treat them like numbers that will grow your reach and engagement rates. You need to have conversations with them and interact with them through comments, DMs, or Instagram Stories.

When you build rapport with your audience, they will trust you. And when you start promoting and saying good things about brands you work with, they will listen. That’s why brands love content creators with high engagement rates and a genuine relationship with their fans.

There are many ways to build this kind of friendship and camaraderie with your followers. Here are some ideas to draw inspiration from:

  • Hold Q&A sessions on Instagram Live and share personal stories with your fans as if they were your best friends.
  • Reply to comments that people leave on your posts. Thank them when they give you compliments, and try to hold a conversation with them.
  • Use interactive stickers (like polls, quizzes, and emoji sliders) to interact with your followers on Instagram Stories.

A female influencer talking with her fans on a live stream to build a strong relationship with them.

Can Small-Scale Influencers Get Sponsorship Opportunities, Too?

We’ve talked a lot about how a high follower count is attractive for brands looking for influencers to work with. This begs the question—can small-scale influencers with not that many followers land sponsorship opportunities?

Yes, they can. If you’re a small influencer wondering how to get sponsors on Instagram, don’t lose hope. Don’t feed into the belief that just because you’re a micro-influencer, it means you can’t land brand sponsorships. On the contrary, many brands look for smaller influencers for their campaigns.

Micro-influencers may have small, niche fanbases, but they’re known to have a highly engaged audience. Because they’re not mega-celebrities, people see them as more authentic and genuine. They often have a more personal connection with their fans than bigger creators. That makes them more trustworthy and thus more attractive to brands for sponsorships. Plus, their super high engagement rates can’t hurt, either!

As a micro-influencer, you need to understand that you might not be on these brands’ radars yet. So, do your due diligence in reaching out to them on your own accord. Shoot them an email to ask if they’re looking for small-scale influencers to sponsor. Don’t forget to share your media kit and key Instagram metrics with them so they can see your full potential.

However, it’s also important to manage your expectations. Small influencers who find sponsorship opportunities won’t be paid the same as celebrities. Many micro-influencers might even take on their first few sponsorships for free to build their influencer marketing portfolio.

Make Your Mark as a Micro-Influencer: How To Get Sponsored on Instagram for Free

Are you a micro-influencer struggling to find potential sponsors? Maybe you can consider doing free sponsorships first. Instead of giving you monetary compensation, brands might offer other alternatives to repay you for your work. You’ll be able to land a sponsorship fast and put yourself on the map for future opportunities.

Plus, it’s not like you’ll be doing sponsorships with no monetary payments forever. You will likely only do this for the first couple of times you work with a brand. After getting experience as a brand influencer, you can start charging future clients the rate you deserve. 

Are you interested in doing free sponsorships to kick off your micro-influencer career? Here’s how to get sponsored on Instagram for free while still getting tons of cool brand benefits.

Product Sponsorships

First, you can opt for a product sponsorship—a common collab type among micro-influencers. In this kind of partnership, brands will repay your hard work, promoting them on your page with free products. They may ask you to talk about these products on your profile as part of your agreement.

If you land this sort of partnership, you can have exclusive access to products before they launch. That’s a great way to pull in new followers who are looking for early reviews about these specific products. It’s a win-win for you and your sponsor brand!

An influencer unboxing a bag sponsored by the brand she’s working with.

Affiliate Links for Shopping Websites

Smaller influencers also sometimes participate in affiliate marketing programs to drive sales for their brand sponsors. The brands give these influencers unique affiliate links to share with their audience. Instead of the brand paying a sponsorship fee, they’ll promise a commission for every sale made through that link.

What’s cool about earning money through affiliate links is that it’s based on your performance as a brand influencer. The more you promote the brand and your unique link, the more people you can convince to buy the products. There’s potentially no ceiling for your earnings as long as you engage your audience and talk about the brand diligently.

A mini shopping cart with money inside next to a laptop.

Invites to the Hottest Brand Events

Some brands might also “pay” micro-influencers by allowing them to attend cool, exclusive brand events. In return, they may ask the content creator to post photos and videos from the event.

This is quite common in lifestyle brands. For example, let’s say we partner with a music label. Instead of paying you to promote their upcoming music festival, they’ll give you free tickets to the show instead. Then, you have the task of hyping it up and posting aesthetic content about it on your Instagram Stories and feed.

Aside from having the time of your life at these events, you can also do some networking while you’re there. Mingle with people in the industry that might offer you sponsorship opportunities in the future.

How To Get Sponsored Ads on Instagram With the Help of Path Social

If you ask influencers how to get sponsored ads on Instagram overnight, they’ll simply laugh. It takes quite a long time for content creators to land their dream sponsorship successfully.

First, They must build up their Instagram profile, maintain an engaged audience, and consistently produce high-quality, original content. Only then will big brands start to pay attention to them.

But some people aren’t that patient. Some look for the fastest route to a high follower count and outstanding engagement rates. If that sounds like you, you might want to consider hiring an Instagram growth service like Path Social.

Here’s how to get sponsored on Instagram with our help. Our proprietary targeting tool tracks your niche audience and leads them to your content. From there, you’ll gain tons of engagement on your posts and an army of new, 100% real followers. You’ll have a highly engaged audience and brands knocking at your door with sponsorship opportunities in no time. So, what are you waiting for? Grow your fanbase and land your dream brand deals with our help!