Instagram Collaborations: An Easy Guide to Gaining Followers

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Heidi Lang

Instagram Growth | Sep 29, 2022

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

Brainstorming ways to gain followers on Instagram? It’s time to dabble in the art of teamwork with Instagram collaborations. Joint posts or using the Collab feature are excellent ways to tap into a new audience without extraneous work. Plus, it never hurts to have another friend in the Instagram game. Partnering up with another account is an important tool to have in your social media tool kit. Consider it just as essential as posting consistently and following Instagram users that follow you back. Put the social back in social media by asking a brand or fellow content creator to collab on Instagram. Keep scrolling to read our top tips to increase your follower count through partnership.

What Are Instagram Collaborations

First things first: what are Instagram collaborations? The original definition of the term refers to working with or “collaborating” with another account on Instagram. This can take the form of putting together joint posts on each other’s pages. Another option is having an account guest host on your Stories, Reels, or IGTV program. However you decide to carry out a collaboration, the end result should delight both your audiences and increase your numbers.


As Instagram adds new features to its roster however, the term “collabs” has taken on a new meaning. The app now has an Instagram Collabs option that allows you to co-author posts with other accounts. This side-steps the hassle of creating duplicate posts for each page. Another bonus is it gives your followers easy access to exploring your collaborator’s account as well.

How To Pick Your Instagram Collab Partner: 3 Tips for Success

Before you begin sending out DMs, let’s start with step one: how to pick the right partner for Instagram collaborations. With the ease of the internet it’s tempting to fire off messages to any account you admire. Avoid burning yourself out and take a more strategic approach. Only message accounts that are a good fit for you and your brand. This way you’ll reach out to the people who are the most likely to want to work with you. This will also keep your digital reputation professional, purposeful, and personalized. Here are four factors to have in mind when picking your collaboration costar.

1. Look for a Similar Follower Count

Whether you’re looking to collaborate with other brands on Instagram or an individual, check their follower count first. The ideal account will have a comparable amount as you. In order for your partnership to be successful, it needs to mutually benefit both parties. That means your collaborator should be getting roughly the same out of this relationship as you are.

Another reason to approach Instagram collaborations with someone boasting a similar follower count? You’re more likely to be in the same places in your online careers and therefore have similar desires and expectations. Keep your objectives aligned so you can both succeed.

2. Identify Instagram Collab Partners With Similar Goals

On the subject of objectives, let’s move into our second tip: picking a partner with goals similar to yours. Here, the term “goals” has multiple definitions, but each is important for you to consider. Think about immediate goals for the collab. Does the influencer or brand in question want the same amount of engagement or new followers as you? Do they see eye to eye with you on marketing methods?

You should also consider if your future collaborator has the same goals on a broader scale. Do they hold the same or close values as your brand does? Is their messaging in agreement with yours? These points are important to consider so your Instagram collaborations feel authentic and consistent.

3. Seek Out a Similar Target Audience

The reason why you want to collab on Instagram with a party close to your target audience? Because the odds are better that their followers will have interest in you and your brand and vice versa. Trying Instagram collaborations with someone opposite of your target demographic is less probable to produce the same strong numbers. Doing this may also seem inauthentic or “off-brand” to either of your followers.

The key is to find an account alike enough to yours that you appeal to the same crowd without redundancy. Here’s an example. If your Instagram sells and advertises pans, you may not want to collab with another pan-centric account. But you may want to work with a cooking influencer. Or a brand that sells a complementary product like kitchen cleaning supplies. Strike the right balance to see the most positive impact on your growth.

How to Collab Post on Instagram

Once you’ve chosen your collaborator and you’ve worked out the details together, it’s time to get to posting. The best way to showcase your content is with the Instagram Collabs feature. Here’s how to Collab post on Instagram:

  1. Create a Feed post or a Reel as you normally would.
  2. Once you get to the screen where you would usually write your caption, tap the Tag people menu.
  3. Tap Invite collaborator.
  4. Hit Post.

There you have it, you’ve just created your first Collab on Instagram. Your partner will receive a notification of your invitation. When they accept it, the post will appear on their feed as well.

Wondering how to add a collaborator on Instagram after posting? If you’re trying to invite them to a Collab post, the answer is unfortunately, you can’t. As of right now, there’s no option to retroactively add a collaborator. You’ll have to delete the post and repost it, this time making sure to invite your collaborator during the process. However, if you want to skip the hassle, you can edit your post and tag your partner. In fact, giving a collaborator credit is one of the many great reasons why you should tag someone on Instagram. However, only use this option if your partner has agreed to this solution. Here’s a quick guide on how to tag someone after posting:

  1. Navigate to your feed and tap on the post you want to edit.
  2. At the top right of your post, you should see three small dots. Tap on the dots.
  3. On the menu that pops up, tap the Edit option.
  4. The Tag people icon will appear on the bottom left corner of your post. Tap on it and add your collaborators.

Now your Instagram collaboration is back on track. You’ve given your partner appropriate credit and you’ll still gain the benefits of sharing your audiences.

How To Collaborate With Brands on Instagram

Besides gaining followers, making money through Instagram is a top reason to join forces with another page. If this is your goal, then how to collaborate with brands on Instagram is no doubt your number one question. Start by researching brands that align with your personal brand and page aspirations. Find products that make sense for what you’ve already put out on your Instagram. Then, look at other pages similar to yours that have a branded content label or use affiliate marketing codes. Take note of how they promote products including hashtags and captions. You can keep this as inspiration when it’s your turn. Finally, reach out to brands that already interact with you. Is there a brand commenting on or liking your posts? This is the perfect gateway to a conversation with them about sponsorship.

Brands That Collaborate With Small Influencers on Instagram

Fun fact: even major national brands like Nike, Sephora, and Coca-Cola use Instagram collaborations with micro-influencers. So why do brands want to work with small influencers? Because smaller accounts tend to have more engaged followers. Brands have discovered that these pages have a tight-knit, trust-worthy connection with their audience. Therefore if they advertise a product, their followers are more likely to engage with the content.

A great example of this is Sephora’s beauty influencer program. Every year the beauty brand picks a fresh batch of micro-influencers to be a part of their coveted #Sephorasquad. The members of the cohort post reviews and other product-centric content. This results in increased sales for the retailer and a bigger following for the influencers.

However, the list of brands that collaborate with small influencers on Instagram is always changing. Brands cycle through seasons of marketing initiatives. So instead of trying to track them all down, put your time towards honing your content. Focus on organic growth options like getting yourself on the explore page. That way when the time is right, brands will easily notice you. Once you have strong content and loyal followers, you’ll have the best odds of collaboration.

How To Ask for a Collaboration on Instagram

Trying to figure out how to ask for a collaboration on Instagram? We’ve got you covered. Once you’ve selected your partner and you have your collaboration ideas ready, it’s finally time to draft your request. Our number one tip is to email rather than DM the influencer or business you want to work with. Many pages open to collaboration requests will list a business email in their Instagram bio. The only exception to the email rule? If you can’t find an email listed or the influencer specifically prefers DMs for business inquiries.

When asking for a collaboration on Instagram, keep your message short and professional. Be sure to personalize your email as well so it doesn’t feel like a template. Include a link to your Instagram along with hard data like your engagement numbers, demographic information, and monthly growth. When you’re happy with your message, give it a final proofread and hit send.

How To Accept a Collaboration on Instagram

We’ve covered asking for a collab but what about how to accept a collaboration on Instagram? Here’s a simple breakdown of your next steps.

  1. Congratulate yourself. All your hard work has paid off and now another influencer or brand wants to work with you. Don’t forget to take time to pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Plus, you can take this opportunity to take stock of what you did that was successful so you can replicate it in the future
  2. Carefully review their proposal. Make certain that you’re comfortable with their collaboration requests and ideas. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask.
  3. Pen your reply. Once you’re ready to accept, reply back to the message they sent promptly and politely. Express your gratitude and your excitement to work with them as well. Include any concerns or modifications you may have regarding their Instagram collaboration ideas. Then, suggest a timeline for getting your collab posted. This is also an appropriate place to talk about pricing. While money may not come up with an individual collaborator, it may with a brand. Add your sign off and hit send.

Conclusion: Using Instagram Collaborations Wisely Can Expand Your Exposure

Delving into the world of Instagram collabs can feel daunting. But with a little research and hard work, this new tool is sure to expand your reach organically. This method won’t just add to your numbers and credibility. It will also keep you from resorting to bad ideas like Instagram bots to grow your brand.

Collabs aren’t the only partnership you can use to grow your brand or business on Instagram. If you’re looking for specialized help on your Instagram strategy, try out Path Social. Our proprietary AI targeting algorithm and team of in-house experts are ready to help you achieve organic and lasting growth. Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today.