More and more brands are realizing the potential of influencer marketing to reach their target audiences. As a result, the number of brand-sponsored posts on Instagram is skyrocketing.
In fact, in 2021, there were 3.8 million Instagram sponsored posts一a 27% increase from 2020. This is only increasing. So, there’s a fantastic opportunity for budding influencers to get sponsored.
You don’t have to have thousands of followers, either. In fact, brands prefer micro-influencers for their highly engaged audiences and authentic content. But with so much competition, you need a strategy to secure sponsorships.
So, how do you get sponsored by brands?
In this guide, we’ll take you through the top ways to get sponsors on Instagram. We’ll also show you how to manage your finances as a sponsored influencer so you can grow your brand successfully.
Why Influencers Need Sponsors
Partnering with well-known brands is one of the best ways to make money on Instagram. You can use your sponsorship income to grow your brand and reach a wider audience. This, in turn, can open up new revenue streams and help you realize your creative vision.
You may already mention your favorite brands in your posts. With sponsorship, you get paid to do it. Plus, many brands send gifts to their influencer partners, giving you the tools to create content without spending a cent.
How to Get Sponsored by Brands on Instagram
There are several steps you can take to secure sponsorship deals on Instagram. Let’s go through them.
Include Your Contact Information on Your Instagram Bio
Your Instagram bio is an ideal place to advertise to potential sponsors.
In it, briefly explain who you are and what you do. Include your contact information, like your email address, and add a link to your website or blog so brands can see your work. (If you don’t have a website yet, we’d highly recommend getting one as a way to build your brand and give added value to your followers).
You could also add a press page to your website outlining your services and value to sponsorship partners. Then, once you start getting sponsors, you can add them to your press page to show your experience.
Post Consistently and Respond to Comments
Instagram’s algorithm favors new, fresh content, so you should aim to post at least once a day. Use your Instagram metrics (such as engagement) to figure out what works best for your audience.
For instance, they may be more active in the mornings than in the afternoons. Or they may prefer several posts a day over daily posts.
Also, always respond to comments. This makes your audience feel heard and appreciated, which helps you build a loyal following.
Of course, as your audience grows, it may not be practical to respond to each comment individually. But you can still set aside some time each day to answer questions and post a thank you message.
Use Hashtags and Geotags
Hashtags are a great way to get more likes on Instagram. They also make your content easier for brands to discover. Hashtags should be relevant to the type of content you create. Also, avoid broad hashtags.
For example, #fitness has nearly 400 million posts, so it’s hard for fitness content with that hashtag to stand out. A more specific hashtag like #FitnessTips or #FitnessAtHome has fewer posts, so it’s easier for people to find you.
Geotags can also help brands find your profile. For instance, say you’re a fashion influencer who posts from a city like Miami or London. If you add a geotag, you can appeal to fashion brands interested in reaching people in that area.
Create a Posting Schedule for Consistency
It’s important to maintain a consistent posting schedule. Posting regularly keeps you in your audience’s mind and creates a sense of anticipation. Instagram is also more likely to feature your posts.
To ensure consistency, create a posting schedule to plan and schedule your posts in advance. This could be as simple as creating your content for the week and sitting down at the same time each day to post it. Or, you could use a tool like the Meta Creator Studio to publish your content automatically.
Utilize DMs for Brand Communication
The simplest way to contact a potential sponsor is by going to their brand page and sending a direct message. DMs have a character limit of 1,000, but that doesn’t mean you should fill it!
Keep your message clear and concise. Explain why you want to work with them and what you can offer一for example, an engaged audience, a new niche, or a fresh take on their brand.
Before you DM a brand, follow them on Instagram and like a few of their posts. Leave some comments, or tag them in your posts. Show them you’re genuinely interested in them, and you’re more likely to get a response.
Take Advantage of Instagram Stories
Brands want partners with strong audience engagement, and Instagram Stories is a great way to engage your followers. Instagram Stories are time-limited and tap-friendly, which makes them a highly appealing Instagram feature.
Instagram Stories encourage engagement with polls, quizzes, emoji sliders, countdowns, and more. You can also add overlays, captions, GIFs, and music to spice up your Stories.
Plus, since Stories appear at the top of your followers’ screens, they’re often the first thing they see一keeping you at the forefront of their minds.
Create a Proposal and Email Target Brands
Another way to contact potential sponsors is to email them a proposal. Research which brands work with influencers like you and create a list of target brands. Then, send a proposal. Your proposal should include information like:
- Who you are, what you do, and which content niche you’re in.
- Why you’re a good fit for the brand.
- The services you offer and what you could do for them.
- Data such as follower count and engagement rate.
- The kind of fee you’re looking for (with room for negotiation).
To maximize your chances of a positive response, personalize your proposal for each brand you send it to. With so much competition, generic copy-paste emails won’t cut it.
How to Manage Your Finances as a Sponsored Influencer
Once you start getting paid sponsorships, you’ll need to manage your finances. This not only helps you stick to your budget for content creation but also ensures you pay the right taxes.
Below are our tips for managing your finances as a sponsored influencer.
Choose an Accounting Solution Fit for You
Accounting software is a cost-effective and efficient way to manage your finances. It also keeps you compliant with the IRS or HMRC.
As an influencer, you’ll probably want to invest in specialist self-employed accounting software that caters to freelancers and sole traders. With it, you’ll enjoy a range of features to help you stay on top of your accounts, such as:
- Accurate cash flow forecasting.
- Automatic quotes and invoices.
- Easy VAT or FET calculation.
- AutoEntry for capturing and saving receipts.
- Real-time collaboration tools.
- Mobile app for on-the-go banking.
Compare a few solutions to see which is best for you.
Register for MTD
If you’re an influencer, you’re classed as self-employed for tax purposes. If you’re based in the UK, this means you may need to register for Making Tax Digital (MTD).
MTD is the UK government’s plan to digitize and simplify the tax process. If you earn over £10,000 and file for Self Assessment, MTD will apply to you. You’ll have to register for MTD by April 6, 2024, and complete your tax records online or with MTD-compliant software.
The IRS is also looking to digitize the tax system, so digitizing your taxes now with accounting software could save you time and effort in the future.
Take Advantage of Tax Deductions
As a self-employed influencer, you’re eligible for certain tax deductions. You can deduct a range of business expenses from your tax bill, including:
- Training courses.
- Equipment (such as a phone, camera, or computer).
- Travel expenses.
- Software and subscriptions (such as an image editor or email marketing tool).
- Marketing costs.
- Accounting costs (including the cost of accounting software).
- Bills (such as broadband or utility bills一your work-from-home costs).
Bear in mind, though, that you must use anything you claim solely for your work as an influencer. You’ll also need to keep thorough records of your business expenses to show the IRS or HMRC. With accounting software, you can easily scan receipts and track your expenses, making tax returns a breeze.
Research about Self-employed Taxes
Finally, you need to research which taxes you’re liable for as a self-employed worker. Both full-time and part-time content creators need to register as self-employed, even if they have another job.
In the UK, if you earn over £1,000 per year, you’ll pay your taxes via a Self Assessment form. In the US, you’ll pay with a 1099 form, which breaks down your income from each company you work with (if you’ve received at least $600 from them). Both countries will also tax you for the value of any products or services you receive.
Brand sponsorship is a fantastic way for content creators to grow their influencer business and earn money on Instagram.
To secure sponsorship opportunities, you need a solid strategy to build audience engagement and showcase your skills. That means posting consistently, pitching to brands via email or DM, and taking advantage of Instagram Stories and other features to boost engagement.
Once you secure sponsorship deals, it’s a good idea to invest in accounting software. With the right accounting software, you can manage your finances and meet IRS or HMRC rules for self-employed workers. So, find your ideal software, and enjoy the perks of sponsorship!