I have a confession to make. I follow way too many mommy bloggers on Instagram. I can’t help it – I love the chevron-themed everything and the *squee* “My kids are so presh!” posts that seem to crowd my feed that’s otherwise filled with 20-somethings brunching it up. #Priorities.
Lately, medicine you may have noticed that a lot of blogs are taking to sponsorships, which brands will usually offer to top influencers in a given vertical to help spread the word about their products. You can usually find evidence of a sponsored post when the blogger either a.) fully discloses that a particular post is sponsored by a company, or b.) pointedly snap photos of a product with the same brand clearly visible throughout the post. There has been some backlash for such blogs, as readers can be very sensitive to blogs that oversaturate their content with sponsored posts. But up until recently, blogs were the primarily route brands would take for sponsorships until Vine and Instagram took the stage.
How Can Your Blog Get In on the Sponsorship Action?
For the sake of today’s post, we’ll start with Instagram, but if you’re interested in learning more about Vine as well, feel free to say so in the comments below! According to TechCrunch, Instagram is the 3rd fastest growing social platform – right behind Tumblr and Pinterest. In fact, as of 11/26/14, Instagram boasts the following stats:
200 million active users – that makes up almost the entire population of Brazil, the 5th largest country in the world in order of population. With that many people actively participating in Instagram, it’s an ample playing field for brands to take advantage of the platform to spread brand awareness.
So, what do these sponsored Instas look like? Ali Jardine, a popular Instagram user with over half a million followers, is one of the pioneers of monetizing Instagram through working with brands. She has had gigs with Dos Equis, and is currently working with Travel + Leisure. In turn, Ally has the opportunity to get paid for traveling and taking photos by tagging Travel + Leisure in all of her posts while she’s on location.
But Ali didn’t simply start out with half a million followers and sponsors at her door when she first started her account in 2011. Originally a painter, she started off using Instagram as a way to show her creativity without having to use paints. Instead, she posts aesthetically beautiful photographs that usually feature her children or landscapes as subjects, with all editing done on her iPhone. By simply using her iPhone as her main medium, Ali explained in a Business Insider interview that she is now able to make more money now than she would from a steady full-time job.
So, how can you start off down a similar path and begin making money using just your blog, your creativity, your smartphone, and your Instagram app? Here are a few pointers!
Consistency is Key
You can’t expect followers to just flow through without producing great, visually appealing content on a regular basis. You’ll notice that many popular Instagrammers post daily at the very least, to help appease their large audience and keep them waiting for more.
Keep it Natural
People can smell fake from a mile away — even on social media. Avoid peppering posts with multiple hashtags targeted towards sponsorships or promoting a brand. Keep it natural by posting only what you believe in, and simply tag the sponsor or use the campaign hashtag. Some Instagrammers even disclose which posts are sponsored.
Take Note of What Takes Off
As you grow your following and start posting more frequently, keep tabs on what content you post, when, and why. By taking a step back and think through why certain pieces of content did better, you can more accurately create content that your audience will enjoy and engage with, which translates to your success.
Take Advantage of Apps
As they say, “There’s an app for that!” Instagram already includes several filters to choose from to add an extra polish to your photos. However, some folks choose to use third-party apps for their photography. A few popular apps include:
- VSCO Cam
- Pic Stitch
- PicLab HD
Posting a bunch of photos that aren’t receiving any attention from other ‘grammers won’t garner you enough popularity to land a sponsorship opp. Be creative with promoting your account by participating in different contests. Or perhaps start one of your own. Engage with other Instagram users and strategically use hashtags and tagging to get the attention of the people/brands you want to work with.
Remember that communication isn’t a one-way street: be sure to reply to your followers! It takes time to keep an IG account up and active, sure, but if you can pull through and gain a following – you may find yourself joining the ranks of other IG celebrities and making some bank for your work.
Have you noticed an influx of Instagram sponsorships? Drop your thoughts below or tweet @marianna_morris about this new monetization strategy. We’d love to hear from you!