What Are the Golden Rules of Instagram Sponsored Content? 

For brands, both big and small, Instagram offers prime real estate to advertise products and services. While there are various advertising opportunities on Instagram, traditional ads are not the only way for brands to get noticed. 

Instagram-sponsored posts by influencers/content creators are one of the most popular modes of advertising in a more ‘organic way.’ The brands pay a sponsorship fee for the posts to the creator or provide the product /service for free in exchange for the post. A sponsored post can include content that belongs to the user or is provided by the brand. 

To nail Instagram-sponsor content, here are the golden rules to keep in mind:

If it is sponsored, declare it

Consumers can be influenced to buy a new product or try out a new service only if they trust the person posting about them. Not disclosing that a post is sponsored by the brand can impact the credibility of both the creator and the brand. 

It’s best to be direct about the sponsorship. Add statements such as “I was sent this product to review” or “I was invited to try out this service” in the caption so that there’s no room for confusion. Make sure to place them in a way that is hard to miss.

Sponsored content can also be published as an Instagram Story, and creators can give the brand a shoutout. Using the Mention sticker in such Stories is an excellent idea as it can be used for tagging the relevant brand to announce the partnership. Also, consider adding relevant hashtags such as #ad in the Story and disclose the brand relationship through written content as many users watch them with the sound off.

Lastly, advertising councils/trade commissions in certain countries have also published guidelines on influencer marketing campaigns. Both brands and creators should review the guidelines applicable to them to comply with the specific disclosure standards. 

Be direct with the hashtags 

The hashtags use in the caption for disclosing the sponsorship are equally important. In the past, creators have used hashtags such as ‘#collab’ or ‘#spon’ to acknowledge the sponsorship, but these are not enough. The hashtags should clearly explain the nature of the relationship to anyone looking at the post. That’s why hashtags such as ‘#sponsor’, ‘#paidcollaboration’, or ‘#ad’ are better options as they convey the message right away. 

Positioning the hashtags is also important. They should be clearly visible in the caption. Don’t bury the sponsorship hashtags with all the other hashtags, as there’s a chance someone may overlook them. Instead, add them at the beginning of the caption to make them more visible. 

Respond to comments 

No one can control whether the comments to the sponsor posts will be positive or negative. However, responding to the comments is within the control of the creator. It is important to reply to all the comments to show that customer feedback matters. Ignoring a negative comment will only result in a flurry of nasty comments on subsequent posts. 

Replying to the comments also boosts engagement and increases the chances of the post showing up on the feed of other target users. For sponsored posts, this is extremely important as the higher the visibility, the higher the chances of potential leads turning into paying customers. 


Don’t hide the truth about affiliate links 

Sometimes sponsored posts may also carry an affiliate link or code provided by the brand. Usually, the influencer sharing such links receives compensation for every purchase that customers make using the link.

In such cases, it is important to let the customers know that the creator will receive a commission if they purchase using the code/link provided.  

Make it a collaborative process 

While sponsored posts on Instagram are an excellent way for brands to increase awareness. They also impact the creator’s relationship with their audience. In fact, for a vast majority of creators, such posts serve as their primary source of income. 

Therefore, it’s essential to keep the content as authentic as possible. Discussing an outline for the post with the brand before shooting and editing sponsored posts/videos using an online video editor to make sure there’s nothing deceptive that can mislead the audience can result in well-executed brand partnerships.

For instance, if the brand wants the sponsored post to talk about the health benefits of using a certain product, the creator should ask for proof that backs up the claim. If the brand cannot provide any evidence. The creator shouldn’t claim how useful the product is for health as that would be highly misleading and unethical.

Ready to create scroll-stopping Instagram-sponsored content?

Brands are constantly trying out new strategies to establish themselves in a saturated market. Partnering with creators for sponsored posts on Instagram is one of the best ways to create long-term brand loyalty.  Such posts can also boost the growth of the creator and add to their follower base, provided they follow the rules of content creation.