Post summary: How to get sponsored on Instagram and monetize your following. In this blog post, will go over the essentials of how to secure Instagram paid posts.
To get sponsored on Instagram and monetize your following, a checklist of “must-do’s” would need to be in place and ready to send out to secure Instagram sponsorships. You need QUALITY content, know how to send proposals, strong negotiation skills to secure Instagram sponsored posts, and knowing how to treat it like a business. We will cover our workflow and share the strategies that have helped us secure brand and travel sponsorship on Instagram in the past five years.
One of the ways to make money on Instagram – and assure to get sponsored on Instagram – is through brand collaborations. With enough following and engagement with your followers, you can approach brands and start a conversation for potential Instagram sponsorship if you and the brand share the same type of audience.
To seal an Instagram sponsorship, a collaboration between brands and influencers usually begins as a “non-paid” collaboration. It means that once you’ve contacted the brand and agreed on the partnership, they typically provide something for free in exchange for making a post (or two) on your social media accounts.
In the travel industry, Instagram sponsorship is most prevalent in contacting hotels and airlines where they usually provide complimentary lodging or airfare tickets. With that said, it’s often a lot more challenging to get sponsored on Instagram in the travel sector compared to other industries, unless your following is in the millions.
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1. Prepare Your Media Kit
But before you get sponsored on Instagram through brand collaborations, you need to prepare a media kit, which is a document that details key statistics on your blog or Instagram page. In the blogging and influencer world, media kits typically include audience information such as age range, location, blog traffic or number of followers, and previous Instagram sponsorships you’ve had with other brands.
2. Creating an Online Brand
Having a solid online brand gives you an edge before you get sponsored on Instagram, either through paid Instagram sponsorship or using Instagram to promote products or services through affiliate marketing or dropshipping.
But what are the critical elements of creating your online brand? If you are shooting to gain a following in the travel industry, there are three elements that you need to focus on to capture the attention of brands and new followers alike: content and voice.
I’ll break it down below:
How to Get Sponsored on Instagram with Your Content
Content means your photography and video.
Considering Instagram is a highly visual platform, your brand image defines the quality and style of your photography and videos. As you’ve most probably seen with popular travel pages on Instagram, they have a very distinct style in their photography and videos that makes the overall look of their feed look polish and “branded” – which eventually leads to paid Instagram sponsorships.
The way they create this mood in their feed could be their photography techniques or sets of filters that used on every photo or video.
If you have high quality content that receives strong engagement, you can eventually get sponsors on Instagram to produce similar content for the brand.
Sidenote: it’s also essential, especially nowadays, to explore going “off-brand.” People are very much interested in getting to know the person behind the account that they are following. You can still get sponsored on Instagram even if you go “off-brand” and share a little bit more of your personality and connect to your audience on a different level.
Instagram ‘voice’ refers to the distinct expression of your brand through words, which are mostly the captions for your content.
When trying to find your brand’s voice, think of how you want to come across, i.e., personality (playful, cheeky, or serious), or in vocabulary (plain and straightforward vs. rich and poetic).
Once you have your brand all figured out, brands would be able to determine if you share a similar target audience and if a collaboration would be a good fit.
3. How To Grow Your Followers on Instagram
Once you’ve defined your branding on Instagram, it’s time to focus on posting consistent content and using the right hashtags to grow your followers on Instagram.
Back when Instagram implemented any algorithm changes, it was a lot more simple to gain followers by having one of your content show up on the “explore” page, where users can directly see similar material to the ones they are following.
Nowadays, it’s a lot more difficult considering the algorithm changes have made it a lot more competitive to show up on the explore page.
We recently tried this method by Gary V., where you select nine popular hashtags and nine popular accounts, and leave meaning comments and engage in discussions on their posts.
By doing so, you are taking part in a community and could eventually show up in the comments section, just like below:
Considering that this post is part of the “9 most popular post” of a hashtag or nine most popular accounts in your niche, your username could show up in the comment section, giving you exposure to users who are in your niche.
The Process To Get Sponsors on Instagram:
To get sponsors on Instagram and make it your full-time income through brand sponsorship, you are going to need to treat it like a online job from the start. It took us about a year and a half to figure out an actual system and process when speaking to brands for potential partnerships. The moment we figured out our workflow when speaking with brands, the more efficient we were able to secure sponsorships and getting paid.
4. How to Get Sponsors on Instagram – Brands
When approaching brands to get sponsored on Instagram, the first thing you need to consider is if your audience aligns with the brand. I remember when I first started to get sponsors on Instagram, the majority of my content revolved around adventure travel.
Although I already had a sizeable audience, it was challenging for me to find Instagram sponsorship opportunities with luxury hotels because most of my audience started from the adventure travel content.
It was when I started shifting my content to include luxury travel, where I began securing brand sponsorships on Instagram in the luxury niche on a consistent level.
With that said, make sure that your content is aligned with the niche of your brand to justify that you share the same target audience. Take the time to curate your feed, whether it’s video or pictures, to position yourself under the same umbrella as your targeted brand.
Once you’ve branded your feed and engaged your audience with your content, it’s time to start reaching out to brands with your proposal.
Your proposal will typically include a quick highlight of your audience: number of following, geographic location, age range, and the predominant sex.
After giving an overview of your audience, you go directly to your pitch and the concept behind your proposal. A pitch describes in detail visuals behind the campaign, and how you plan to produce that in your content.
After you pitch the content, you go directly to your deliverables and fees. An example would be the following:
For x campaign, we propose the following:
2 images = $x amount
1 video = $x amount
5 stories = $x per story
While it’s important to mention the points above in your email, it is always a good idea to create a pdf document that outlines your proposal (look at Canva for pre-made templates) and send it as an attachment along with your email. Remember, be professional from start to finish!
5. Get Sponsored on Instagram – Hotels
Approaching Hotels for a potential Instagram sponsorship is all about managing expectations. Many of our followers, including friends and family, only see the finished products (videos, pictures, and Instagram stories) when we book hotel collaborations. For them, it looks like we were just on vacation the whole, when in fact, we were working more than we had our downtime.
Let’s take a look at what to expect when booking a hotel Instagram sponsorship:
Who to contact (email script)
The person to contact for hotel collaboration is usually the marketing in charge. We used to make the mistake of direct messaging the hotel on Instagram, instead of messaging the key decision-maker directly. Usually, there are dedicated social media teams who handle the account, whose main responsibilities are posting content instead of negotiating with influencers.
Below is our email template that we send our proposal:
Hello xxx,Our name is xxx and xxx and we run @youraccount, with a total combined of over x amount of followers.
We are a photographer, drone operator, videographer, and travel and lifestyle influencer and the founder of x accounts (we have several accounts), a social media travel/adventure/luxury travel/lifestyle influencer on Instagram. We have close to x amount of followers on TikTok as well.
Here are our social media accounts:
Instagram @x x amount of followers
Instagram @x x amount of followers
Facebook @x x amount of followers
We are visiting x city from date to date, and we are very interested in working with you through a comped stay in exchange for the promotion of your hotel/resort. We’ve worked with several luxury hotels and resorts and around the world, with our content regularly getting reposted and going viral. Below are a few statistics of successful campaigns we’ve done in the past that produced results for our partners.
Our content is regularly posted on large luxury travel hubs like @x accounts (popular accounts) and many others, ensuring excellent visibility and reach for any of our posts.
What we are requesting for this collaboration.
– 1 villa/suite for minimum 3-4* nights
– Full Board Accommodations
– Activities that you want us to cover.
We would also like to have the option for in-villa or in-suite dining, so we can also take photos of in-villa breakfast or lunch, which is always a great way to showcase the villa experience.
– Complimentary transfers to and from the airport / our previous or succeeding destinations
*Please understand that content creation is very time-consuming, and we want to make sure we have enough time to create quality content for the brand, as well as take into consideration weather conditions and transfer time.
What We Can Offer:
Two Instagram posts on @x account, complete with tags, geotags, and hashtags as you would see fit
Two Instagram posts on @x account, complete with tags, geotags, and hashtags as you would see fit
Daily Instagram Stories on the aforementioned accounts, with tags, geotags, and hashtags as you would see fit.
One repost of contents created at the property on @x account (x amount of followers)
At least one TikTok video during our stay
High-Resolution photos for joint copyright use
Professional Hotel Photography + Social Media Coverage
We will be showing the resort from a visitor’s perspective. We can do drone photography if the weather permits. Our photos aim to showcase the beautiful environment, the luxurious suites or villas, the world-class cuisine, as well as the particular services that set them apart from other resorts, like their spas, activities, room service, one of a kind dining experiences, etc. Our photographs aim to give viewers the feeling of “wanting to be there.”
Attached is a Media Kit that includes page statistics and a list of previous campaigns.
The above email is something you can use, but adapt it to your profile and your account.
Negotiations (deliverables, days, full board, transportation)
Negotiating skills is a necessity for Instagram sponsored posts. From our experience, it usually takes a few days going back and forth discussing number and type of content to post, the number of days of your stay, possible perks, and if you are one of the lucky ones, the fees for the collaboration.
Let’s take a look below:
The deliverables (content) that you negotiate with hotels depends on the number of days of your stay.
The deliverables include the type of content and the frequency of your post: video, photos, IG stories.
Another factor that could play to the number of content you produce depends on the size of your following. Typically, the bigger your audience is, the bigger the leverage you have with your negotiations, including the agreed deliverables.
Once you’ve gotten the negotiating process going, it may take a few back and forth until both ends agree on the number of deliverables. From our experience, hotels will usually start with a high number of deliverables relative to the number of days of our comped days. If you feel that the number of deliverables is a bit too much, don’t be shy to negotiate on the lower end to ensure you are delivering content based on quality and not quantity.
With that said, it is also very much possible that hotels won’t ask for much in return!
What Else to Negotiate To Get Sponsored on Instagram
Besides content deliverables, there are a few other things that you can negotiate with hotels.
Full-Board – We suggest including full-board as part of your initial negotiation. Full-board ensures the hotel covers your meal from breakfast to dinner. Sometimes, hotels would throw in a free visit to the bar, as well as access to their spa.
If the hotel does not provide a full-board, many will usually offer breakfast as part of your board.
Transportation – Hotels are usually pretty good with negotiating pick up service to and from the airport, or whatever your next point of destination is (within reason).
Fees – Instagram paid posts with hotels are rare, even with the biggest influencers out there. The most luxurious hotels typically are the most popular ones and are almost always full capacity, even in the low season.
With that said, hotels are not known to pay even the biggest celebrities and Instagrammers for a collaboration.
7. Full-time work
The number one misconception that many perceive is that influencers, or digital nomads, are on vacation 24/7, especially when invited by hotels for Instagram sponsorships.
The false belief is understandable as many only see the finished product on Instagram, and not the hours spent on preparing the shoot, the shoot itself, and editing the content.
The key to a successful Instagram sponsorships is preparation. The effort required takes time, and you have to mentally prepare yourself for that the moment you secure Instagram sponsored posts.
The first thing you have to keep in mind, before arriving at the hotel, is that you have to treat your hotel collaboration as work.
Instagram sponsorships need to be treated with total professionalism.
To be clear, Instagram sponsorship by a hotel is not vacation time. Your collaboration is a business transaction, whether or not the hotel pays you. However, you can undoubtedly create free time for yourself, depending on how efficient you are to producing your deliverables.
For us, it took a few months before we were able to establish a system and process where it allowed us to be more efficient with planning and preparing so that we can have more free time to play in the hotel.
When we plan for our shoots, we usually spend a few hours or so scouting ‘instagrammable’ spots on the hotel, either on Instagram or on Google itself.
Once we have the idea of what the location looks like, it gives us a direction on what type of content we want to produce that’s unique to us and for the hotel. The types of content that appeal to us when we scout for locations are usually the interior of the room (bedroom or unique bathtubs are generally receives high engagement), or perhaps drone shots if the hotel is in an exotic location.
Having this “shot list” already in hand before arriving at the hotel allows us to spend our time mostly shooting the content, instead of wasting our limited time scouting for a location.
Once we get the shots, we usually spend the bulk of our time selecting the photos and editing them. Between the insane amount of pictures and videos we take, the challenge usually starts picking the “right” shots without taking too much time.
But once we get the shots, the rest of our time is spent on editing! We use Adobe Lightroom to edit our pictures.
Instagram Sponsored Posts: Content Deliverables
One of the key points you would have covered in your Instagram sponsorship proposal is the live post dates of your deliverables.
From our experience, hotels are usually flexible with the dates your content goes live.
However, we usually don’t take more than two weeks from the last day of our stay for our content to go live.
You do, however, need to stick with the agreed number of content in the Instagram sponsorship proposal. If the proposal outlines specifically the number and type of content for the collaboration, expect the hotel to follow up and make sure the deliverables follow the outlined proposal.
For us, keeping the promise (and in most cases, over-delivering) is important in maintaining a great relationship with the hotels. It opens another opportunity for another invitation, and in my cases, receive a recommendation, which is helpful for future Instagram sponsorships with other hotels.
8. Instagram Sponsorship with Tourism Boards
Approaching tourism boards for Instagram sponsorships is a lot more work and typically more challenging to secure than approaching a hotel. Tourism boards will look deeper to your audience and engagement and requires a bit more persistence to secure a sponsored trip. In this section, we will give you examples from our experience with negotiating, what happens during the sponsored trip, and the delivery phase of the collaboration.
Instagram Sponsorship Negotiation Process with Tourism Boards
Who to contact for Instagram sponsorship
We are very much grateful that we’ve attained the stage of having a network where we consistently receive invites to tourism campaigns, instead of actively searching for Instagram sponsorship.
But when we were starting, it wasn’t always easy to find the key decision-maker for tourism campaigns.
We recommend researching online for the email of the person in charge of the tourism board and be ready to send multiple emails with your proposals and media kit.
Instagram Sponsored Posts: Fees
The fees for an Instagram sponsorship press trip or tourism campaign revolves mostly on your audience size. The bigger your audience is, the more leverage you have for charging a higher fee.
For the most part, Instagrammers on the micro-level typically gets granted a “free” press trip, where the tourism board covers everything from flights, to room and board, and transportation, without any fees to the content creator.
On the other hand, Instagrammers on the macro level typically includes their fees on the proposal, depending on the campaign. We’ve seen Instagrammers in the 2 to 3 million following charge somewhere between $50,000 to USD 200,000 for an Instagram sponsorship tourism campaign that usually lasts from 4 to 7 days.
Instagram Sponsorship for Tourism Campaigns – Number of Days and Extensions
Whether you are on the micro or macro level, one of the things you negotiate with tourism boards is the number of days and extensions of your stay during your trip.
Many times, you can request to arrive a few days before or leave a few days after the end of the campaign.
Needless to say, prepare to pay the room and board (among other expenses) out of your own pocket if you wish to stay longer than the agreed duration of the trip.
Instagram Sponsorship with Tourism Boards – Flights
We’ve been fortunate enough (and grateful!) that we’ve been getting sponsors on Instagram where the flights are in Business Class, without having to negotiate.
However, we’ve also been on many press trips where the flights are in coach (which we are still thankful for!)
If the flight is a long-haul journey and part of the Instagram sponsorship deal is economy coach seating, it wouldn’t hurt if you can try to negotiate a business class upgrade.
What Happens During the Instagram Sponsorship Trip
The moment you secure an Instagram sponsorship trip, get ready to work!
Just like booking a collaboration with hotels, we need to approach a press trip most professionally. When we were first starting getting sponsors on Instagram, it was a challenge for us to get out of the mindset that we were going on vacation.
Once again, a collaboration or Instagram sponsorship is a business transaction, whether or not you are getting paid. You are expected to hold your end of the bargain and deliver what was explicitly outlined in the proposal.
And your deliverables are clear even before both parties agree on the collaboration.
Before you leave for the trip, you usually receive an itinerary of all the places you will visit. With that itinerary given to us before departure, we typically research all the spots and “Instagrammable” places we want to shoot so that we have one less thing to worry about when we get to that location.
Once we arrive on location, everything usually moves pretty fast. We may only be in a location for a limited amount of time, so we have to be fully prepared that we have all of our equipment and shot list ready and set to go to ensure that we leave with the content we have planned.
From our experience, we rarely get downtime in our Instagram sponsorship trips. Even on the first day of arrival, our schedule is usually full from the moment we get picked up from the airport to the moment we go back to the hotel at night.
Again, it’s all about mentally preparing yourself to work the moment you book a campaign until you post your deliverables!
Instagram Sponsorship Delivery Phase
For the many press trips that we’ve been on, there’s usually an agreed date when our content goes live.
The timeline is something we are strict in following, most especially if we are getting paid Instagram sponsorship.
There is a rare case where your content would need to be approved by the campaign you are working with before it goes live. But for the most part, tourism boards give you full creative liberty in producing your content without further consent.
8. Get Paid to Post on Instagram
It’s best to have a managed expectation on when to expect to get paid after a campaign.
Each Instagram sponsorship is different, and many have their stipulations on when payment will be processed after you’ve given your deliverables.
For us, we usually get paid at least 30 days after we’ve posted all of our deliverables. There are a few instances, however, where we’ve waited a lot longer than 30 days. Still, we’ve also had a few cases where we received payment immediately only days after we completed the deliverables.
Every campaign is different, but it’s best to get payment questions out of the way during your negotiations.
Once you’ve posted your deliverables, be prepared to send statistics on the results of the engagement of your content. Pay attention to the engagement rate (likes, comments, and views/impressions), as these are the key metrics that matter most!
9. How Much Money Do Instagram Influencers Make
One of the most common questions thrown around, how much do Instagram influencers make?
I’ll break it down to three levels of Instagrammers, which determines their usual rates for each post they do for brands.
1) Instagram Sponsored Posts for Micro-influencers
These are every Instagram user who typically has a following between 1,000 and 50,000 followers.
The current rate for standard Instagram micro-influencer is usually $100 per 10k followers, which translates to .01 per follower.
2) Instagram Sponsored posts for Macro-influencers
For macro-influencers, who usually have a following of 50k- 1M followers, the influencer and the brand typically negotiate the collaboration fees.
There isn’t a standard one-size fit rate. There are different factors to consider, such as engagement rate, client budget, and other specifics regarding the campaign that determine the final rate a macro-influencer can charge.
I’ve seen Instagrammers who have over 200K followers and charge starting from $2000 per post.
This a whole different level of a brand collaborating with a celebrity (ahem, the Kylie Jenners of the world).
But brands typically pay MINIMUM six-figures per post for celebrities who have massive following such as the Kardashians.
How Do you Get sponsored on Instagram Conclusion
If travel is not your niche, you can potentially consider clothing brands that sponsor on Instagram.
If you’ve been thinking on how to leverage your social media (mostly Instagram and Facebook) to earn while traveling the world, I hope this article is a great reference when you are doing your research!
Our system and process above are how we were able to start traveling using Instagram (and launching Facebook ad campaigns), so we hope we were able to share something valuable for you to pursue the same!
But keep in mind that not everything happened overnight! With enough dedication, hustle, and a positive attitude, you are very well on your way to get sponsored on Instagram!