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How to Use Instagram Branded Content (For Agencies)

Jimmy Rodela

March 28, 2022

How to Use Instagram Branded Content (For Agencies)

Instagram branded content is like a cheat code for reaching new audiences. 

Think about it—it takes a LONG time to generate views and ramp up followers on Instagram. And, when it comes to social media marketing, clients tend to have unrealistic expectations on campaign timelines. 

With branded content, you can leverage the presence built by existing influencers so your clients can get results right now

You just need the right strategies and IG tools in hand to make it all work.

But first, let’s make sure you understand exactly what “branded content” is. 

What is Instagram branded content?

In simple terms, branded content on Instagram are paid content that can help your clients hit their marketing goals.

Branded content runs through paid partnerships between business partners (brands) and Instagram influencers.

If an influencer tags a product or service on Instagram Reels, Stories, or Feed posts, that’s branded content at work. 

In most cases, branded content will have the “Paid partnership with” tag along with the brand’s name:

Screenshot of Instagram's branded content “Paid partnership with” tag
Image source: Instagram.com

This will allow your clients to reach their target audience through the influencer’s own social media presence.

As a bonus, it will also make their brand appear more authoritative and trustworthy in the eyes of Instagram users. 

TL;DR: Branded content marketing is a specific way of doing influencer marketing. You forge influencer partnerships, let the influencer handle creating content and promotions, and compensate them as agreed. 

How to use Instagram branded content

Now that you understand how branded content works, it’s time to make it work for your clients.

1. Look for the right influencers

To succeed with branded content, the key is to look for relevant influencers that can reach your clients’ target audiences.

You don’t work with someone in the fashion or health industry if your client is a VPN company. Rather, you need to look for someone in the tech or cybersecurity space. 

The good news is, you can easily find the right influencers with the help of Google. 

If it doesn’t present you outright with a list of potential brand partners, it’ll definitely show you the right resources.  

Screenshot of Google search
Image source: Google.com

Alternatively, you can use influencer discovery tools to identify and build relationships with influencers. 

Some of the best ones include: 

  • HypeAuditor
  • Pixlee
  • trendHERO

How do you attract potential influencers?

A proven strategy is to follow them, engage their content organically, and reach out through Instagram DMs. Anything authentic, such as sharing the publisher’s content and writing the funniest things to comment on Instagram ought to get their attention.

If you have the budget, you can also hire Instagram management services to do anything related to influencer marketing. 

2. Enable branded content tools

The next step is to make sure your client has a business account on Instagram. 

To do this, select ‘Business’ when switching to a professional account. 

Screenshot of Instagram branded content tools
Image source: Instagram.com

When done, you need to enable Instagram’s “Branded Content Tools” for businesses. This will allow you to use the paid partnership tag to promote your business through influencers. 

To do this, go to your ‘Settings’ page and tap ‘Business.’

Screenshot of Instagram branded content tools
Image source: Instagram.com

This will pull up Instagram’s list of marketing and advertising features. 

From there, tap ‘Branded Content’ and then ‘Set Up Branded Content Tools.’

Screenshot of Instagram branded content tools
Image source: Instagram.com

Lastly, tap the blue ‘Enable’ button to enable branded content tools for your Instagram account.

Screenshot of Instagram branded content tools
Image source: Instagram.com

A confirmation message will appear letting you know that the setup is complete. 

Just remember to observe Instagram’s eligibility guidelines for brands on Instagram:

Here’s a simple checklist to keep in handy: 

  • Be sure to read and comply with the Instagram Community Guidelines
  • Make sure you have the rights to post each content you publish
  • Avoid sharing misleading and false information
  • Be consistent with content quality

3. Set up your tag approval method

After setting up your branded content tools, the next step is to choose your branded content post approval method. 

You can choose between automatic and manual by tapping the toggle on the branded content page:

Screenshot of Instagram branded content tools
Image source: Instagram.com

Using automatic approval may allow anyone to associate themselves with your brand and promote your products. However, it’s best to have a list of approved content creator or influencer accounts. 

Manual content approvals let you control the type of accounts whom you want to associate with. 

If you want to preemptively whitelist creators or influencers, head back to Instagram’s branded content tools and tap ‘Approve content creators.’

Screenshot of Instagram branded content tools
Image source: Instagram.com

Next, simply use the search bar to look for content creator accounts you want to approve. Upon finding them, tap ‘Approve’ and you’re all set. 

Your approved accounts should appear on the list below with the option to remove them.

Screenshot of Instagram branded content tools
Image source: Instagram.com

If a new influencer tags you in their branded content, you can manually approve tags through here.

4. Track and scale influencer relationships with Vista Social

Automating branded content approvals is a great way to build your relationship with influencers. To keep the connection growing and profitable, use a tool like Vista Social to consolidate relationship tracking.

Screenshot of Vista Social's homepage

With Vista Social’s ‘Inbox’ feature, you can track conversations with paid partnership influencers—alongside chats with audiences.  

Screenshot of Vista Social’s ‘Inbox’ feature

Other than discussing existing promotions, take this as an opportunity to brainstorm future projects. 

This leads us to the next section.

Best practices for using Instagram branded content

If you know the value and importance of influencer marketing, you need to pay close attention to your branded content strategy on Instagram. 

To make the most out of your paid partnership with influencers, below are some of the best practices you ought to remember:

1. Request to promote branded content posts 

Instagram allows business partner accounts to share branded content posts as Feed and Stories ads. These are called “branded content ads,” and they’re a great way to take advantage of your influencers’ existing posts. 

But first, the creator must enable this option from their branded content tools.

Request for them to make the necessary changes and help spread their content through your clients’ own channels. Branded content ads can be shared through their Instagram Feed or Stories format. 

2. Experiment with other collaborations

Other than branded content on Instagram, you should find new ways to leverage your partners’ reach. 

For example, you can discuss the best questions to ask on Instagram Story and launch a giveaway. 

You can also take your partnership out of Instagram and into other social media networks. After all, most Instagram influencers have accounts on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and so on. 

Exploring other ways to collaborate will allow your clients to expand their online reach and lure in potential customers. 

3. Give them early access to products

With your clients’ permission, you can spur branded content creation by providing freebies and early access to approved creators. 

This approach doesn’t take a lot of planning and can elevate your clients’ image to their target audiences. Most importantly, it’s a surefire way to maintain a positive relationship with influencers—as long as you don’t send subpar or defective products.

4. Evaluate the results

Instagram lets business partners track the performance of branded content posts. Of course, this can also be done with the help of an external social media management platform like Vista Social. 

Keep an eye on the reach and engagement generated by sponsored posts. 

If the results are underwhelming, reevaluate your strategy with the particular influencer. You can try a different approach, make adjustments, or—if necessary—end your influencer partnership.  

Use Instagram branded content now

Ready to use branded content and be heard on Instagram? 

Picture this: Your client becoming a high-value business partner that the Instagram audience and influencer community talk about. And it’s all thanks to you and your willingness to go the extra mile.

You can take the first step by looking for influencers and sending those relationship-building DMs.

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