Becoming a paid influencer is the job of many people’s dreams. And that’s not surprising at all. With the most successful influencers making as much as $300,000 per post, we totally get why you want to get sponsored on Instagram. 

But if you’re starting from zero, you may have no idea what to do. The words ‘branding’ and ‘media package’ may have your head spinning, and you have no idea what you should ask or who to contact to make a brand deal. Don’t worry! That’s why we’ve created this guide to tell you how to get sponsored on Instagram.

The Getting Sponsored on Instagram Checklist

Before you can get sponsored on Instagram, make sure that your preparation hits every one of these points. Here’s your definitive checklist to getting sponsored on Instagram: 

  1. Define Your Brand
  2. Research Your Audience
  3. Increase Your Engagement 
  4. Have a Consistent Posting Schedule 
  5. Reach Out to Brands Directly 
  6. Display Your Contact Info
  7. Don’t Undersell Yourself 

Let’s take a look at each of these steps in a little more detail.

Define Your Brand 

There’s a reason the top-paid influencers are associated directly with an image or feeling. If somebody says “Jeffree Star” to you, you know exactly what you’re getting – edgy, rock-glamorous makeup. If your Instagram is all over the place, brands won’t have a feel for your target audience, and they won’t be willing to associate their hard-earned reputation with you. 

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When it comes to your brand, think about what types of sponsorships you’d like to attract. If you want makeup deals, focus on creating a space within the beauty community. If expenses-paid trips are more your thing, re-focus your Instagram to travel – even if that means taking smaller trips at home! 

Think about connecting your Instagram to another online presence or business. Brands want to see you’re a real person, and they also want to know exactly how to align themselves with you. The more niche you can be, the better. 

2. Research Your Audience 

I can’t stress enough how important this step is. Knowing your audience is critical to the success of your posts, and to the types of brand deals you can negotiate. Why advertise if you don’t know who you’re advertising to? If you haven’t already switched to a business profile, do that. Take some time every day to look at your insights. Look at who you’re attracting – and think about who you want to attract! 

Create content that will draw in the kind of followers you want to have in your community. Knowing your community will help you in the long run when it comes to pitching brands directly. Brands are primarily interested in who is more likely to engage with them – they want to know who their product will reach!

3. Increase Your Engagement

Remember those insights I mentioned? Yeah, they’re a lot more important than you might have originally thought. 

Did you know that influencers with less followers but higher engagement rates often get better brand deals? It’s true. That’s because brands want to advertise to people who are actively engaged in the community. After all, they want to advertise to people who are actually going to buy their products. If you want to get sponsored on Instagram, knowing your audience is absolutely critical.

Keep a close eye on your engagement rate. Don’t get too stressed out, though . The average Instagram engagement rate is around 3%. Stay higher than that, and you’re golden. If you notice your engagement rate dropping, create some hashtags or community-based events to get it back up. This is also a good time to circle back to step #2 and see why your audience isn’t engaging. When you’re in the early stages of building your brand, this will really make you stand out from the crown. Your engagement rate is key to getting sponsored on Instagram – so take care of it!

4.Have a Consistent Posting Schedule

Brands don’t want to sponsor invisible people – and followers don’t want to follow them! Not only will posting consistently increase your engagement rate, it shows brands that you have the dedication and foresight to work with them.

If you’re using an Instagram scheduler, you can show brands how you plan to incorporate their advertorial content into your personal posting schedule. Your consistent presence on Instagram also means that you’re very visible on Instagram, which brands like and you can use when negotiating a brand deal. Brands want to be on your followers’ minds after they see your post or watch your story, so make sure you’re on their minds first.

5. Reach Out To Brands Directly 

Any freelancer can tell you that a key part of the job is knowing how to pitch yourself. Getting sponsors on Instagram is no different. While really big influencers may be batting brands away like flies, the job is getting more and more popular: get ready to do some work yourself. 

Reach out to some smaller brands yourself. Don’t wait for the opportunity to fall in your lap. Explain why you’d be a good fit for sponsorship, your audience, and your rates. (Bonus: It’s always good if this is a brand you’ve spoken about on your Instagram before.) To find brands willing to sponsor you, look at influencers in your industry, or upcoming brands that have already invested in influencer marketing. 

6. Display Your Contact Info 

If a brand does want to sponsor you, they probably don’t want to handle contract negotiations via Instagram DM. That’s hard to keep track of, and it lacks the professionalism of an e-mail. Make sure you have contact info listed on your bio, whether that’s an e-mail or a website. 

No need to be boring, though – you can always dress it up with emojis. Speaking of your bio, clearly display who you are and what you do in it. This will help brands get a better sense of you and the type of people who might follow you, making you more attractive to them.

7. Don’t Undersell Yourself 

Creating a media packet is a great place to start when you begin to look for sponsors on Instagram. The industry standard is $10 per 10k followers, but if you have some extras you can throw in, like story links or perhaps an Instagram takeover, feel free to charge extra. Your sweet engagement rate can also drive up the cost of your services!

The work you do is work. It’s easy to dismiss influencer marketing, but it’s actually some of the most powerful advertising out there. It’s easy to dismiss creative work as ‘not real work’, but it is, and you deserve to be compensated for it.

Be Patient

Rome was not built in a day. Neither was the career of the most successful influencer. Getting popular is one thing, but staying popular is another. Getting sponsored on Instagram can be a long road, so make sure you’re in for the long run before devoting your life to it.

While following our checklist will help you on your journey to getting sponsored on Instagram, you ultimately have to put in the work. Have great content, an engaged audience, and know your worth, and Instagram sponsors will come. If you only want Instagram sponsors for the glory of it, you’ll likely attract the kind of deals you want to avoid. The universe rewards great work. Go forth and do it.