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Instagram Best Practices for Branded Content

Branded content is social media content produced and posted by someone outside your internal brand or business, like an influencer. Also called a paid partnership post, it usually focuses more on spreading brand awareness than selling. This marketing technique leans on the partner's audience to lead generation and conversions. 

Some of the many benefits of branded content are increased exposure and brand awareness. Here, we're going to walk you through everything you need to know about paid partnerships, how they work, tips to share with your partners when posting, and how to track your branded content's performance! 

How Branded Content Works

Brands partner with specific creators or influencers to create content for the brand's desired marketing goal. While the partner has creative direction over the content, the brand can dictate which platform the creator posts to by specifically commissioning an Instagram post or story. 

When influencers post branded content to their platforms, they have to disclose that the post is an advertisement. Instagram now has a feature that allows users to do this without using #ad. This hashtag started to look spammy to some, and the new feature helps the Federal Trade Commission better monitor violations. The feature adds “Paid Partnership with” between the creator’s post and their IG handle. This feature is also available for some Facebook users who have a Business or Creator account. 

Related: Who Are Micro Influencers?

Influencer Partnerships

For Brands

To utilize the Paid Partnerships feature on Instagram, head to your settings, then click “Business,” and then  “Branded Content”. Click to turn on the “Require Approvals” feature so you’ll be notified whenever a creator tags your business in a story or post for approval. You can also search and approve accounts before they tag you in a post. 

Because influencers are paid for their sponsored posts, proper disclosure of paid partnerships is required. Brands can utilize the Paid Partnership feature to collaborate with influencers and increase their reach without worrying about violating FTC guidelines. Creators also have to be careful about using music in branded content, as they must adhere to copyright laws. To be safe, opt for royalty-free music.

Additionally, brands can use Instagram’s new Collaboration feature to create a group post. This feature allows two partners to share the same post (Reels included!) on both grids. Instead of just a screenshot or report, it's the same post— and both partners are displayed as co-authors. 

For Influencers

When creating a post, head to the advanced settings and click, “Tag a Business Partner.” It’s a little different when posting a story— click the link icon, then click “Tag a Business Partner”.

Related: How to Get Sponsored on Instagram: Guide for Influencers

How to Use Each Instagram Feature for Branded Content

Creating successful branded content on Instagram is all about knowing your audience. You’ll learn a lot from taking a look at your Instagram Insights-- including which post format will resonate best with you and your partner's followers. Here are some tips for posting branded content in all five formats:

#1 Grid Post

A grid photo can only convey so much. When you opt to use this format, you’ll want to fill in the information gaps with your caption. Use your caption to show your followers what the brand does and why you support them. 

#2 Grid Video

Users scrolling through their feed need to see something interesting enough within the first few seconds of your video to pause. Skip the intro and get right into the meat of your video for the best results. 

#3 Story

Post videos to your stories sharing your experience using the brand’s product or service, and show yourself using it. The video format gives you the time to share your story. What is more, Instagram Stories are a personal, intimate format perfect for building trust. 

#4 Reels 

Try to create a Reel you can easily envision being shared by your followers. That means creating a sponsored Reel that offers value. For example, you could post a Reel showing your audience how to use the sponsored product as a “hack.” 

#5 Carousel 

Use the carousel feature to create a sequenced narrative showing why and what you love about the brand. Use videos, photos, graphics, or a mix of the three. 

Related: 20 Content Ideas for Your Instagram

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Track Your Branded Content

Whether you’re an influencer posting branded content or a brand getting tagged in it, take advantage of the analytics Instagram provides! Your analytics and insights show what content strategies work and what don’t. Influencers will learn what products and post-types their audience appreciates, and brands will discover which influencers best impact reach and conversions. 

Related: Instagram Insights: Guide to Monitoring Your Instagram Performance

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Sarah Siems

Sarah Siems is the Senior Brand Partnerships Specialist at PLANOLY. She spearheads PLANOLY Presents and loves finding ways to build partnerships that bring value to our community.

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