Being an Influencer: Creating Branded Content on Instagram

Transparency is a key for consumers. For influencers, you need to tell your followers when you’re doing a sponsored post. Instagram now enables you to create branded content that helps you achieve transparency.

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Compared with business brands on Instagram, influencers have a much better reach on Instagram. Influencer content is now officially outperforming brand-created content, with 49% of consumers reporting they found brand-created advertisements “annoying or irrelevant”.

Contrastingly, 82% of consumers said they were very likely to follow the recommendation of an influencer they follow.

And with so many collaborations taking place between brands and influencers on Instagram, it’s hardly surprising that the social media giant, launched the Branded Content feature to enable businesses to promote organic posts from creators as feed ads within the app.

What is Branded Content?

Instagram defines Branded Content as “a creator or publisher’s content that features or is influenced by a business partner for an exchange of value (for example, where the business partner has paid the creator or publisher).”

This essentially means that if a brand has compensated a creator (such as an influencer, celebrity etc.) for content the creator has featured in a single Instagram post, the creator must in turn publicly disclose the partnership and tag the business account within the same post. The creator’s content, when created in partnership with a business, becomes ‘Branded Content’.

For example, let’s say a cosmetics brand sends sample products to a content creator who does reviews and product trials on their channel. If the creator publishes a post on their account tagging the retailer and featuring their product, the post becomes ‘Branded Content’.

What does Branded Content look like? When a creator tags a brand in a post, people will see ‘Paid partnership with [business partner]’ in the post’s header–where you would usually see the post’s location.

Instagram rolled out the Branded Content feature shortly after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) mandated that sponsored posts be disclosed so that users will know which posts are organic (or not).

The Branded Content feature can be beneficial for both brands and creators alike. But although creators have the overall control over their content, they can’t use a single post to tag more than one business partner. However, an Instagram creator can still work with other business partners on numerous campaigns to earn a higher income.

Branded Content Ads on Instagram

When a creator partners with a business to create a branded content post or story, the creator can give their business partner permission to turn their content into an ad.

With permission from a creator, businesses can promote a branded content post using Ads Manager, which will then appear as an ad on people’s Instagram feeds. Brands now have the ability to reach people who are relevant to their business, beyond the creator’s followers.

As a creator, you will need to use the ‘Branded Content’ tag in your organic branded content in order for a post to be used in an ad.

How to Create and Promote Branded Content on Instagram

Whether you’re a brand looking to distribute your message to a wider audience, or a creator seeking out profitable brand partnerships, read on to find out how to create and promote branded content on Instagram.

1. Request or Approve Branded Content Partnerships

Instagram accounts by default require approval for tagging in Branded Content. If you’re a creator looking to tag a specific brand in your next Branded Content post, you must request permission from the brand you want to partner with.

If you’re a brand, you will have the option to approve a creator’s request to tag you in their Branded Content post. To do this, simply:

  1. Go to your Instagram profile on the mobile app and click on the 3-line button in the top-right corner.
  2. Select Settings from the menu and then tap on Business.
  3. On the next screen, tap on Branded Content.
  4. On the Branded Content Approvals screen, you can toggle the Require Approvals button to enable or disable this feature.
  5. Tap on Approved Accounts to go through the process of adding an Instagram account that you want to partner with.
  6. Once you tap on Approved Accounts, you’re taken to the following screen where you can search for any Instagram account. Type the name of the account and click on the “search for [name]” to pull up a list of relevant accounts. Tap on the account you wish to partner with.
  7. Tap the arrow to return to the previous screen where you can save your changes, adding the accounts as approved partners.

Once a creator is approved by a brand, they will be able to immediately create content and tag you as the brand as a partner.

2. Set up Brand Collabs Manager

In order to receive insight into the organic performance of Branded Content, the tagged business profile must set up a Brand Collabs Manager account to view tagged content.

Image source: Facebook

The page defaults to Apply as a Creator; however, Instagram business profiles need to click on Join as an Advertiser at the top right of the screen to begin the setup process.

Once you click to apply as an advertiser, you’re taken to a screen with a list of Facebook page accounts that are eligible for Brand Collabs Manager. Select the Facebook page that’s connected to your Instagram account. Then enter your email address and accept the terms of service.

Your application is quickly reviewed and you’re taken to the Brand Collabs Manager dashboard.

Note: If you don’t have your Instagram account connected to a Facebook page, you can still use branded content (tagging or being tagged), but you won’t be able to view insights as a tagged post.

After your Facebook page is connected to Brand Collabs Manager, you can access it in the future from your Facebook page. To do this, go to your Facebook page from the desktop or internet browser and click on Settings in the top-right corner.
Then click on Branded Content from the left menu list.

3. Tag a Business Partner With Branded Content in an Instagram Feed Post

Now that you understand the basics of Instagram Branded Content as a creator, and have acquired tagging approval from partner accounts, you’re ready to start tagging brands in your content. Here’s how:

  1. Create your Instagram post as you normally would. Upload your image or video (or multiples for a carousel) to Instagram and add your caption, tags, and location as needed.
  2. Before posting to Instagram, add your Branded Content partner. To do this, tap on Advanced Settings at the bottom of the upload screen.
  3. On the next screen, tap on Tag Business Partner. Note that the first time you do this, Instagram will take you through a couple of prompts to explain Branded Content.

You can also tag accounts as branded partners in your Instagram Stories. To do this, simply create a story post as normal, tap on the chain link icon at the top of the post, select ‘Add Business Partner’, and search and select the account you wish to partner with.

4. Promote Branded Content through Approving and Setting up an Ad Campaign

There are two main steps for creating branded content ads. First, branded content creators need to enable their business partners to promote their post or story as an ad, which they can do in advanced settings.

To grant permission to a brand to use your post as an ad, simply:

  1. Open the app and find the post which you want to tag your business partner.
  2. You can upload a new photo/video, or you can also use the content which you have already created but haven’t used for ads.
  3. Before uploading a new photo, go to the Advanced settings and tap on the Tag Business Partner button. In case if you are using existing content, click on the three dots and select the edit option. There you will find Add Partner option.
  4. In the Business partner settings page, click on the Tag Business Partner button.
  5. Search for the business account which you want to tag on your post and select that business account.
  6. Again go the Advanced Settings/Business Partner Settings and click on the toggle button “Allow business partner to promote”.
  7. Now you have tagged the business partner, post the photo to promote your content for the brand of your business partner.

Once a creator has granted permission for a brand to promote their content as an ad, the business partner will see the post on Ads Manager under existing posts and can choose to run it as an ad in feed or stories format.

You can find out more about how to set up a branded content ad here.

5. Measure The ROI of Branded Content

Once you’ve published or been tagged in an Instagram post, you will be able to review insights for branded content.

If you’re the one who created a branded content post, you’ll see all of your insights and post details just as you would on any other post.

For a feed post, tap on the View Insights button directly beneath the image or video of your post. For a story post, tap on the Seen By button in the bottom-left corner of your story and then go to the graph icon to view the post’s performance.

If you’ve been tagged as the branded partner in a post on Instagram, you need to use Facebook Brand Collabs Manager to view any post insights.

Get Started With Branded Content on Instagram

Instagram is a social networking platform of choice for brands and content creators to collaborate and reach a wider audience.

The Branded Content feature offers greater transparency in these partnerships, which in turn increases credibility and leads to profitable relationship between brands and creators.

If you’re creating content for which you’ve been compensated (or if you’re compensating people for content), make sure you’re using this tool and staying in compliance with Instagram’s policies.

Getting started with Branded Content on Instagram? In our new our course, Influencers Teach Instagram, we explain how you can become your own influencer. We’ve partnered with internationally recognised influencers which include award-winning men’s fashion influencer Rowan Row, who has over 1.1 million followers and leading makeup artist Jagoda Furtado who is followed by Anastasia Beverley Hills, Huda Beauty and Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty.

For more information, check our Instagram marketing course page.

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