3 Ways to Avoid Failed Sponsored Content on Instagram

In a world of disappearring Snapchat ads and linkable Instagram promotions, early-form sponsored content like promoted tweets and Facebook posts are becoming the new normal for traditional digital media buys. But when brands can’t afford a mega pricey in-app advertisement, and stray from these ‘traditional’ forms of sponsored content to utilize social influencers, it’s careful planning that ensures they’re still investing in a customized source of content creation and promotion.

Unfortunately, even the most creative of campaign concepts and top social influencers can fail if the sponsored content ask isn’t in perfect alignment with the influencer’s personal brand.

To help keep you, and your sponsored content efforts off the chopping block, we’ve identified the top 3 reasons why sponsored content fails on Instagram.

Posting Style

Choosing a quality influencer who posts in a style consistent with the tone of your desired sponsored content is crucial for fostering positive fan engagement. Pre-determining influencer characteristics and personas will not only make recruitment easier, but ensure the sponsored content won’t stick out on their feed. Most importantly, this will yield trustworthy content creators who can act as the perfect extension of a brand’s advertisements, or even provide content for future marketing efforts.

Try this: Find of a photo and/or video that’s similar to what your ideal piece of sponsored content would look like. Do a side by side comparison to your desired influencer’s feed and decide if that piece of content looks complementary to the organic feed. If it’s a stretch, move on. There are plenty of other social influencers waiting to help you achieve sponsored content glory.

Pictured below is an example Instagram feed that depicts sponsored content that does not fit into an influencer’s posting style. If you can’t tell which piece of content doesn’t belong, well, spotting bad influencer content is the least of your worried. The picture’s sticking out like a sore…finger. (ha)


Posting Frequency

Avoid contracting an influencer to produce multiple posts on behalf of your brand over a short period of time. Chances are that if your product just happens to appear in the background of a ‘morning routine’ photo 10 times in two weeks, the influencer’s audience will catch on. At this point, their followers may label this influencer as a “paid promoter” and devalue their social presence, and in turn, their ad value.

Try this: If you can’t change the campaign time line and desire X pieces of social content, consider increasing the number of influencers you tap for the project. More influencers over the same period of time will yield the desired amount of content without saturating an influencer’s feed with your brand.

Call To Action Complexity

Most influencer campaigns are designed to include a specific call-to-action in the caption. Be mindful of how well your CTA aligns with the typical caption content created by your influencers to avoid low engagement from their followers. For example, if you want to work with an influencer who typically posts inspirational quotes in their captions, asking them to redirect followers to a promo page for $8 off a product will appear incredibly inauthentic.

Try this: Before you enlist the help of social influencers, rewind into the campaign planning phase. Reassess what the ultimate goal of your campaign is and select the most important CTA from there. With this, finding influencers who are in alignment will be made much more simple.

Epic Content Failure

What’s the most epic content fail of all time, you ask? Well, that’s when you follow all of the tips listed above, find your dream influencer, coach them into posting the most ideal piece of content you could have imagined and then…the FTC comes after your brand for not including a sponsored post designation. This makes for quite the unpleasant follow-up for your team or client, all because of forgetting a simple #sponsored hashtag.

Lucky for you, our team has become pros on what makes a sponsored post FTC-compliant, and shared our knowledge here.

Learn the necessary steps to work with social influencers that produce successful, sponsored content by downloading our Instagram Influencer Campaign Planning guide.

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