Instagram Paid Partnerships: Everything You Need to Know About Influencer and Brand Collaborations

Profile photo of Heidi Lang, author

Heidi Lang

Instagram Growth | Nov 13, 2022

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

Chances are, your Instagram feed is full of a variety of influencers. From food and clothing to travel and fitness, there’s a social space for everything. And with this level of awareness comes the opportunity to profit from it. You’ve probably noticed your go-to influencers sharing their favorite things and promoting them with a discount code or special link. Perhaps you’ve even been well, influenced, and purchased the item yourself. Congratulations, that is their entire goal. This social phenomenon is known as an Instagram paid partnership. And, in fact, it’s one of the top ways that influencers can make money. Interested in learning more about the background, methods and types of Instagram paid partnerships? If so, you’re in the right place. Below, we’ll cover everything, from how to get into these partnerships to the red flags to watch out for.

Women recording an Instagram paid partnership on her smartphone.

What Is an Instagram Paid Partnership?

So, wondering what Instagram paid partnerships are? In short, they are a collaboration between an influencer and a brand or business partner. Essentially, the brand is paying the influencer to promote their products on social media channels. This can include Instagram feed posts, stories, reels and live video. In some cases, the brands will also give the influencer a discount code or link to share with their followers. These are known affiliate links, or affiliate marketing, another popular type of social media promotion. When a member of the public buys something using the link or code, the influencer will receive a percentage of sale. Keep in mind that branded partnership content is different from the ads that appear on the social media platform. If you follow either party involved, you will see this content in your stories or feed.

As you may imagine, there are many working parts involved in Instagram paid partnerships. If you are working on becoming an influencer, this revenue path may be something you are interested in pursuing. And, presumably, you have a lot of questions. For example, what are the Instagram rules and regulations for this type of marketing? Can just anyone engage in Instagram paid partnerships or do you have to have a certain amount of followers? And, of course, you are probably wondering how much this concept pays. Of course, the key details of the partnership can vary by brand and by influencer. You should always discuss and agree upon the specifics before entering the partnership.

Person holding smartphone, showing app to create content for Instagram paid partnerships.

Rules and Regulations for Instagram Paid Partnerships

As social marketing has evolved over the past years, so has Instagram’s regulations surrounding it. In fact, they have certain guidelines that must be followed. For example, when you post an Instagram paid partnership, you need to add a paid partnership tag to the image or video. Don’t worry, we will dive deeper into exactly how to do that below. This tag is shown at the top of the content and lets followers know that the influencer and brand worked together for the post. This way, it increases the level of transparency among the social media platform and the audience. When you see the paid partnership tag, you will know that the person has a business relationship with that partner. You will also know that they received compensation for the post, whether by money or free products and services.

It’s not just Instagram that sets the rules. In recent years, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has put forth their own guide of regulations, titled “Disclosures 101 For Social Media Influencers”. One of their biggest issues? Transparency. If your audience can’t tell that you are part of a paid partnership, you may be violating the FTC’s guidelines. Of course, Instagram also regulates what is promoted in Instagram paid partnerships. Although it shouldn’t be surprising, influencers and businesses are unable to promote illegal goods or services. This includes, among other things, drugs, weapons, adult products and state lotteries.

Neon light sign of Instagram notifications.

How Many Followers Do You Need to Get Instagram Paid Partnerships?

The success of any influencer often lies in the amount of followers they have amassed. This number has a direct effect on their partnerships and business deals. From nano influencers to mega influencers, numbers can vary from thousands all the way up to millions. Some content creators prefer to keep their following small, opting for a close knit community as an audience. Although they might not have a high number of likes, they typically have a higher engagement rate. This means their small but loyal following actively participates in their posts, commenting and clicking on links. Other influencers like to reach a wider audience and strive to increase their following. These people are typically full-time influencers and often have a team in place to help them create and promote business deals.

The truth is, you can make money with Instagram paid partnerships no matter the level of influencer you are. Wondering how? One of the main analytics that brands and businesses look at is an influencer’s engagement rate. That’s right, the phrase we mentioned above. Don’t worry, we will further expand on that below and cover what rate brands and businesses are actively looking for. Companies also look for influencers that best align with their products or services. They realize that people with like-minded audiences will help to best promote their products, even with a smaller following. 

How Much Do Instagram Paid Partnerships Pay?

Now that you know just what an Instagram paid partnership is, you might be wondering if it can actually be profitable. The answer? Yes, it can. In fact, this role is a full-time job for many influencers. However, it may take awhile to reach this level. For those starting out, they can sometimes receive their pay solely in free gifting from the company. It can be a way to get your foot in the door and create a larger, long-term presence for future collaborations. However, entry level influencers can typically expect to make anywhere from $75-$200 per post.

Once an influencer crosses the threshold of a million followers, business can really start pouring in. At this level, most people have the verified blue check mark next to their Instagram handle. This serves as an additional level of authentication. These influencers also have access to the swipe up feature on Instagram stories, which adds another profitable business opportunity. With the right management and negotiations, mega-influencers can expect to make tens of thousands of dollars – just for one post.

Smartphone laying on top of a closed laptop computer.

How to Get Paid Partnerships on Instagram

If you have been working on becoming an influencer, you may be wondering just how to get paid partnerships on Instagram. We’re here to help with a few tips to help you break into profitable social media marketing. To start, many influencers typically work with an influencer agency. These companies take on both established and up-and-coming influencers alike. Wondering just what they do? An agency acts on behalf of the influencer and works to secure business deals. They can be especially helpful when it comes to contract negotiations and, of course, compensation. However, for some people, an influencer agency might not be possible at the time. Not to worry! There are still plenty of ways to gain Instagram paid partnerships on your own.

Women showing her friend content for her Instagram paid partnerships.

How to get Instagram Paid Partnerships: Increase Engagement Rates

First, let’s take a closer look at one of the analytic tools we mentioned earlier. One of the main attributes that brands and businesses look for when it comes to Instagram paid partnerships? The influencers engagement rates on Instagram. If this term is new to you, allow us to break it down. An influencer’s engagement rate is a metric used to measure the average number of interactions your content receives per follower. It compares your total number of followers to your average numbers of likes, reactions, shares and comments per post. Essentially, it’s a measure of how well your content performs. Engagement rates can also show if there is a disconnect between what you are sharing and your audience. For example, perhaps you’ve grown your audience but not with the target customer for your content.

A strong engagement rate can help to justify an influencer when it comes to companies looking for partnerships. It shows that you are interacting with the right audience and can properly campaign for their brand. So, what target engagement rate do companies look for when it comes to Instagram paid partnerships? According to recent reports, anywhere from 1% to 5% is the sweet spot. Wondering how to increase your Instagram engagement? Experiment with different types of posts to see what your audience reacts strongly to. Do they prefer feed posts or reels? You can even use the Instagram poll sticker in your stories to find out. Additionally, lean into popular hashtags and trends. Adding hashtags to your posts that are relevant to your industry can increase your visibility on the social media app. Tune into trending songs, games or dares to stay relevant and at the forefront of the industry. 

How to Get Instagram Paid Partnerships: Target the Right Brands

Another way to secure Instagram paid partnerships? Promote yourself so that the brands or business you are targeting take notice. When it comes to social media influencing, it’s always best to find your niche. This is the social space where you can identify your target market. For example, you will want to make sure that you are gaining followers who are truly interested and invested in your content. This will help to boost your authenticity to brands that share the same vision. The more awareness you give to yourself, the better. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them via direct message and post comments on their content. You can also tag your target brands in your own posts and mention them in stories and reels. Self-promotion can go a long way on Instagram so don’t be afraid to give it a try.

Women filming content for her Instagram paid partnership.

Ways to Promote Instagram Paid Partnerships

Of course, the success of an Instagram paid partnership greatly depends on how you promote and share it. After all, the key to making money is to have your followers purchase and consume what you are selling. Getting visibility to your content is key and can widen your audience. You’ll also want to be sure to follow all established rules and regulations set forth by both Instagram and the FTC. This will ensure that what you are sharing is transparent and viable. Below, we’ll cover a sampling of ways to promote paid partnerships on Instagram.

How to Use the Paid Partnership Label on Instagram

So, wondering just how to use the paid partnership label on Instagram? You’ll need to add it for every sponsored post you share in order to add the brand partner to your content. However, keep in mind that the business will have to approve the request. Once they do, you’ll receive a notification and both names will appear with the content. After publishing the post, both parties involved will have access to its insights. Another thing to keep in mind? The Instagram paid partnership label is only available for business and creator accounts on Instagram. This is something that you can change in your Instagram settings and you’ll need to select a category that best describes what you do.

How to Add the Paid Partnership on Instagram Post

After you’ve successfully created the content for your Instagram paid partnership, it’s time to post it to your feed. While you do that, you may be wondering how to add the paid partnership on an Instagram post. To do this, simply follow the steps below after you are in the Instagram post editor.

  1. Select the photo, edit or add any desired filters then tap next.
  2. From here, hit advanced settings.
  3. Next, you’’ want to toggle to add paid partnership label.
  4. Tap add brand partners, which will allow you to add up to two brands. Use the search box to find their Instagram handles.
  5. When you are ready, tap done. Then continue to share to your Instagram feed.

You can also add the Instagram paid partnership label to stories. To do this, choose your photo or video. Next, tap the tag icon at the top of the screen. Again, toggle to add paid partnership label and select up to two brands. From here, simply select done and continue to share your story. For both feed posts and stories, you can also turn on the allow brand partner to promote feature. This lets the brand partner run ads using your content. However, keep in mind that content with more than one brand partner added cannot be promoted.

Dual Instagram Post for Instagram Paid Partnerships

Another feature used for Instagram paid partnerships is the dual Instagram post. This feature allows you to share joint content in conjunction with other users. Essentially, you are co-authoring your Instagram feed posts and reels with other users. Both users receive recognition for the posts and share likes, comments and views. The content will also appear on each user’s profile page. This feature is especially helpful so that influencers and brands are not doing double the work. It is also a great way to expand your audience reach by targeting both users’ followers. To create a dual Instagram post, we’ve outlined the steps below.

  1. Open your Instagram app. Look to the upper right corner of the screen and tap the plus sign. Next, select post from the bottom row of options. You can also swipe left from anywhere on your feed and select post from along the bottom.
  2. Select an image from your phone’s camera roll or take a picture with Instagram’s built-in camera. Then, hit next in the upper right hand corner.
  3. From here, you’ll be able to add a filter and edit the image. When finished, select next one more time.
  4. On the final screen, you add a caption, location or share to additional social media platforms.
  5. To create a dual Instagram post, select tag people from this screen. Hit invite collaborator and use the search box to find your desired user. Remember, they will have to approve and accept as a co-author of the post.
  6. Select done then post your content by tapping share.

The best part? This feature is available to all users, not just for Instagram paid partnerships. This allows everyday Instagram users to post content in conjunction with friends or family.

Person holding smartphone looking at Instagram paid partnerships.

Fake Paid Partnerships on Instagram and How to Spot Them

Of course, it’s always important to exercise caution when it comes to social media. This is true for everyone involved in the Instagram paid partnership, right down to the audience. In fact, fake paid partnership content has even started to pop up. In fact, it’s often hard to tell it apart from authentic partnerships. It imitates the real deal by featuring brand messaging as well as the right hashtags and Instagram handles. You’ll want to always watch out for the Instagram paid partnership tag, an easy way to identify actual content. Also keep an eye on the number of posts they share as well as signs of fake followers.

Unfortunately, scams and fake accounts are quickly becoming commonplace on the internet. Spam accounts, commonly referred to as Instagram bots, are another issue to identify when it comes to Instagram paid partnerships. This is something that a business should look out for as it targets potential influencers for their Instagram paid partnerships. If an influencer seems to have a large number of bot accounts, it can indicate that their following is not organic and authentic.

At Path Social we’ve built up an in-house platform of Instagram influencers and a proprietary AI targeting algorithm over the past decade. That’s how we reach organic users who are targeted, interested, and engaged. And that’s why no one can replicate our results, which means you’ll build an Instagram community that lasts! Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today.