Brands that incorporate a unique branded content strategy on Instagram are in the right place: Instagram is the top platform users choose to stay in touch with their favorite brands. Branded content on Instagram enables brands and collaborators to reach millions of customers, share their unique brand story, and connect meaningfully with their audience.
Developing interesting and compelling branded content ideas is key to capturing audiences’ attention and encouraging them to engage with your brand. In this article, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of branded content, examples of strategies that can help, as well as content ideas to boost engagement, build brand awareness, and connect with your target audience.
What Is Branded Content On Instagram?
Branded content on Instagram refers to any piece of content marketing, such as posts and stories, created to promote a specific business, product, or service. Instagram-branded content is not the same as Instagram advertisements. While you can promote or ‘boost’ both of them in a paid strategy, branded content is specific to a partnership between a business and a creator or influencer, rather than a simple ad.
Branded content benefits both parties: brands tap into the credibility and influence of a content creator or influencer, and content creators can monetize their content and social media presence, either from brand payments or platform payments Branded Instagram content includes sponsored posts, product reviews, and shoutouts that are typically tagged or labeled as a “paid partnership with ‘x’ brand” or “gifted product” for example.
What Are Instagram Branded Content Tools?
Many of these partnerships wouldn’t exist without the platform itself pushing and promoting ways to partner through the app. Instagram branded content tools consist of specific tagging features and insights for businesses and creators within the app – which help facilitate collaboration on sponsored content and provide transparency for users. These features enable users to see which of their favorite content creators’ posts are sponsored or created in collaboration with a brand, since any brand-to-influencer exchange now needs to be disclosed to the audience, even for free products.
Branded content tool features also help brands approve branded content, view branded content insights, metrics, reach, and engagement, as well as measure branded content performance. Those tools enable businesses and creators to tag each other in their posts and stories and share them with their respective followers.
Types of Branded Content on Instagram
Instagram-branded content can be shared and promoted in the form of videos, images, stories, or long-form videos, also known as IGTV.
- Images can be displayed alone or in a carousel to present user-generated content, introduce new products, connect with other channels, and showcase simply branded content.
- Reels, Instagram’s short-form video, receive on average twice as much engagement than any other form of content on the platform as they grab user attention and compete with TikTok.
- Stories are a fast and easy way to share images or videos to showcase unique moments and experiences, ask questions, present products, and, for users with 10K+ followers, add a swipe-up link to direct consumers to your website.
- IGTV, also known as Instagram Television, is a longer-form video format, keeping followers engaged for a longer period of time by providing deeper engagement and insights into your products or services.
Benefits of Branded Content on Instagram
Branded content on Instagram is an effective and efficient way to strengthen a brand marketing strategy. Businesses will benefit from using this powerful tool, as branded content can increase brand awareness, enhance engagement, reach targeted audiences, create creative brand storytelling, and facilitate influencer collaboration.
Increased brand awareness
One of the most notable benefits of branded content is brand awareness, as brands become more recognizable by potential customers, often reaching the hundreds of thousands of followers, or in the millions, of a popular influencer, or influential account. High-quality branded content is a great way to showcase your brand and enable a strong and consistent brand image to attract your target audience and retain your current customers.
The shareability and highly engaging nature of branded content on Instagram is a great opportunity to capture your audience’s attention and engage with them in a meaningful way. Such was Starbuck’s famous #RedCupContest where over 30,000 customers sent pictures of their red cups in an effort to win a Starbucks gift card. Creating relevant, valuable, and enjoyable content makes it easy for your audience to engage with it by liking, commenting, and sharing with family and friends.
Targeted audience reach
Branded content is a way to create content that addresses audience-specific needs and interests, such as how-to videos based on FAQs or even user-generated content showing the experience with your products or services. Branded content also reaches a wider audience, and expands overall reach with the help of content creator and influencer collaboration. For example, a travel and adventure influencer partners with a camping gear brand. Any sponsored post or video showing how much they love the new sleeping pads or inflatable pillows will be seen by their already widely followed and curated audience of adventurists and campers.
Creative brand storytelling
With branded content, your brand can present itself in a way that traditional advertisements can’t, with a multitude of content formats to choose from to tell a strong and compelling story. Content creators and influencers can take you behind the scenes of their small business, into their homes, or out on their adventures. This type of content allows you to showcase your brand creatively and engagingly, as well as capture customers’ imagination and connect with them on an emotional level.
Long-lasting partnerships with content creators and influencers help you make connections, reach potential new customers, build more faith in your brand, and build a strong online reputation. Consistent and happy collaborations with your audience’s favorite influencers or content creators build trust amongst your community, as it presents your brand as consistent and trustworthy.
How to Set Up Instagram Branded Content
You must have an eligible business or creator account to be able to set up Instagram branded content, as in the regular application branded content features are not available. As a brand or business partner, a few steps need to be taken on your side to set it up.
- Open the Instagram app
- Go to your brand profile, then Settings
- Tap the Account/Business tab
- Go to the Branded Content section
- From there you can manually approve tags
- Under the Tag Request section, you can check who requested a paid partnership tag, and approve or decline. The default setting is that brands need to manually approve brand partner requests.
Inspiring Ideas and Examples for Branded Content on Instagram
Strong and compelling branded content helps your business capture customers’ attention and encourage them to interact with your brand. Check out our top Instagram post ideas to propel your marketing content strategy to the next level, from behind-the-scenes sneak peeks and influencer takeovers to creative product shots and product demonstrations.
1) Behind-the-scenes sneak peeks
Customers enjoy authenticity and connecting with their favorite brands on a deeper level. Behind-the-scenes content is an opportunity to humanize your brand and showcase the humans behind the brand with content such as how your product is made, a day-in-the-life videos, and even bloopers from your day-to-day operations.
2) User-generated content campaigns
Customers seek other users’ feedback before they make purchase decisions. User-generated content campaigns are a great way to turn your customers into advocates and use their experience with your products and services to show potential customers your brand quality and trust.
3) Influencer takeovers
An influencer takeover is a unique marketing tactic to cross-promote content, as this implicit endorsement enables both parties to vouch for each other. During a takeover, a brand and a creator, influencer, or other brand join forces for a set period of time, as the creator takes over the brand’s Instagram account and posts on their behalf.
4) Product demonstrations and tutorials
How-to videos and demonstrations are a great way to respond directly to some of your customers’ most-asked questions and issues. Tutorials on how to use your products offer highly valuable insights and truly helpful content to your customers.
5) Stories and highlights
Stories are the perfect opportunity to showcase your brand story and personality. Highlights allow your brand to organize them into themed collections for easy access. They are a great way to introduce snippets of your brand journey, present key information, and even reveal upcoming products or services.
6) Interactive quizzes and polls
Customers love to interact with their favorite brands. Quizzes and polls are a great way to engage with your audience, learn more about them, follow up on content, as well as ask them what product they prefer and what they would like to know or see next.
7) Inspirational quotes and motivation
Short snippets of inspiration in the form of quotes and motivational content are interesting branded content ideas. This type of content, when chosen wisely, will resonate with your audience and create connection opportunities, as they might share their own as well or be compelled to share it with others.
8) Collaborations with other brands or influencers
Collaborations with creators who know your industry and complement your brand products and services are a great way to connect with a wider audience. The right brands or influencers will make your offering compelling, authentic, and engaging to their community, as their audience is most likely interested in your offering as well.
9) Creative product shots
High-quality product shots bring your products to life by showing them off from multiple angles. This type of branded content provides customers with a better idea of what they can expect from your products in real life.
10) Telling customer stories
People of all ages and walks of life love stories. Your brand can use Instagram-branded content to share true moments of your brand journey, stories related to your industry, customer success stories with your products or services, or even funny office moments to name a few. It is up to your business to find the stories that matter to your brand and audience the most.
Create an Instagram Content Strategy With ICUC
An effective Instagram-branded content strategy begins with understanding your brand goals, in addition to your current audience and target customers. Our ICUC specialized strategy team is always looking for ways to innovate to boost engagement, build brand awareness, and connect with your audience to reach your social media goals.
Schedule a call with us to discover how we can help you build a social media strategy with innovative ideas for branded content on Instagram.