On Instagram, more than 17 million posts have the hashtag #ad. Another 4 million have #sponsored.
Sponsored posts are how many influencers make a living. Some make six figures or more from them.
Take Emma Cortes, who started a fashion blog in 2014, as an example. When she signed her first brand partnership as a part-time content creator in 2016, it was an unpaid brand ambassadorship, she told Insider.
Fast-forward six years and Cortes is a full-time influencer with 47,000 Instagram followers and earned more than $300,000 in 2021. Most of that revenue came from brand deals, she recently told Insider.
But getting that first brand deal can be challenging for influencers. So how have they done it?
Insider has interviewed dozens of influencers who have worked with a variety of brands – From Nissan to Lululemon to Credit Karma about how they secure brand deals on Instagram.
Some creators use third-party influencer-marketing platforms like Fohr or Izea. Others find strategic ways to get on a brand’s radar, such as pitching marketing agencies or a company’s employees on LinkedIn.
But even for creators who are starting out with under 10,000 followers on Instagram there are paths to getting sponsored. Many “nano” influencers start off by working with brands as ambassadors (like Cortes did) and sharing affiliate links that demonstrate they have the ability to drive customers to a brand.
To help content creators better understand how they can get sponsored on Instagram, here’s a compilation of our coverage around how influencers get brand deals.
Getting the right pitch is a key
Whether it’s over email or Instagram DM, what influencers include in a pitch can make all the difference.
“I like to use the word ‘offer’ instead of ‘collab’ to remind micro influencers that you have to offer the brand influence something that’s valuable,” Julie Tescon, a nanor, told Insider. “You can offer anything that the brand normally would pay for.”
Here are 9 examples of how influencers are pitching brands, from the exact pitch they send to unique strategies:
Tori Dunlap, a personal-finance influencer with 613,000 Instagram followers (and 1.7 million TikTok followers). She shared two templates she uses to pitch brands on Instagram.Nick Cutsumpas, a plant and lifestyle influencer with over 60,000 followers.He pitches brands content packages for long-term partnerships.Ashley Jones, a micro influencer with 50,000 followers on Instagram.She shared her starting rates for brand deals and how she pitches brands over DMs.Emma Cortes, a fashion influencer with 44,000 Instagram followers.She shared the email template she uses to turn gifting offers into paying deals.Gigi Kovach, a lifestyle influencer with 14,000 Instagram followers. She shared the 200-word email pitch she uses to reach out to brands.Khadijah Lacey-Taylor, a nano influencer with under 10,000 followers. Here’s how she pitched brands by showcasing her video content on Instagram.Julie Tecson, a nano influencer with about 7,000 Instagram followers. She shared three types of pitches she sends to brands.Laur DeMartino, a part-time content creator and full-time college student with about 5,000 followers. She uses LinkedIn to find brand contacts and includes a 9-page media kit when pitching brands.Amber Broder, a skincare nano influencer and full-time college student with about 2,300 followers.She shared how she pitches brands as a content creator emphasizing her engagement rate.
Media kits help demonstrate what an influencer can offer a brand
“A lot of people might think, ‘Oh, if you have a thousand followers, no one’s going to pay you for that,'” Kayla Compton, a lifestyle nano influencer, told Insider. “But if you have a very engaged audience and you can target people really well and have a good connection with your audience, brands will pay for that.”
She like many other influencers uses a media kit to help showcase to brands how even with a few thousand followers, she can still drive engagement.
Here are 6 examples of media kits influencers use to get sponsorships:
Alexa Collins, a lifestyle influencer with 1.2 million followers. She shared her 8-page media kit.Macy Mariano, a fashion and lifestyle Instagram creator with about 100,000 followers. Check out her 9-page media kit.Jade Darmawangsa, a tech and business a YouTube creator (382,000 subscribers) with 52,000 Instagram followers. She shared her 4-page media kit.Lauren SoYung Lim, an influencer 26,000 Instagram followers (and 130,000 TikTok followers). She shared the 9-page media kit she used to pitch brands.Jen Lauren, a YouTube nano influencer with 4,000 subscribers.She shared her simple 3-page media kit.Kayla Compton, a nano influencer with a few thousand followers.Here’s the 8-page media kit she uses.