Creating sales-focused content on social media isn’t enough for brands. To really tap into the power of networks, they need  branded content on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and every other platform.

On Instagram, branded content is defined as “a creator or publisher’s content that features or is influenced by a business partner for an exchange of value.”

How to generate branded content on Instagram?

1. Create collaborated posts

Instagram recently launched a feature where two accounts can upload a collaborative post. This post or Reel is visible on the main feed of both accounts. 

Whenever you’re posting branded content made by an influencer, send  the collaboration invite to the influencer before you publish it.

The branded content will not only appear on the brand’s Instagram handle but also on the influencer’s, which expands your exposure. 

2. Use the paid media partnership feature on Instagram

Go to Business in Settings and then click on Branded Content. Turn on the “Required Approval” option.

Now, creators can send you the “Paid Partnership” tag request for their posts. This is the best method to increase visibility and reach without violating ASCI guidelines

3. Encourage user-generated content

The best way to get organic followers (hands down) is by converting user-generated content into branded content on Instagram.

  • Create fun challenges and encourage people to participate. 
  • Make a unique hashtag for these challenges. 
  • Ask users to use the hashtag as well as tag your brand’s page in the challenge post.

Music labels use this trick to make songs viral. They organise dance challenges, asking users to recreate a hook step of the song and post it on Instagram.

In return, they provide incentives like sharing the best video on their page. It creates a win-win situation. People get exposure and the brand goes viral. Think Gaana creating HotShots.

However, this strategy works best if you are a popular brand that many people already know. If your brand is comparatively new, keep a prize for winners. It can be goodies or monetary incentives. 

Awareness campaigns are also very effective for encouraging organic content creation. The #RedCupContest of Starbucks and #IHackedLife by Lenovo are two very successful examples of user-generated content. 

4. Utilise all types of branded content 

Different types of content appeal to a different sections of your target audience. Some may love a branded Reel and others may prefer a static post. So, when producing branded content on Instagram, use as many formats as possible.

Static Posts: Use only that content which keeps the message and product in focus. Add captions to describe your intent behind the post. 

Stories: Establish a personal connection with your customers using Instagram stories. Show behind-the-scenes pictures and videos, how you spend your day at your workshop, any upcoming project of the brand, etc. 

Reels: Create Reels that you think customers will share more. For example, problem-solving or “hack” reels get more views. 

Grid Videos: These videos should engage people within the first few seconds. Start by stating a problem or hypothesis that your customers often face. Then go on to explain how your brand “solves” it. 

For some inspiration on creating different types of Instagram Ads, swing by here.

Posting branded content on Instagram? Follow these tips

1. Always narrate a story in your branded content

People scroll through thousands of pages of content every day. They don’t retain all they see. For brands, that means low recall. Plus people use Instagram for entertainment. So if your content just talks about features, it won’t have an impact. 

Connect your brand or product to an emotion and convey it through a story, and users will pay attention. The story should be relatable and catch the viewers’ attention within the first 10 seconds. It could be funny, emotional, or informational, depending upon what reaction you want to incite amongst the audience. 

2. Keep branded content true to your voice

Growing your reach through branded content on Instagram is not a herculean task. But, yes, it has to stay true to your brand values and voice. Stick to it and the strategy pays in spades.

Think Zomato’s light-hearted approach and frequent updates on current affairs with a twist of humour. Or Tinder’s heartfelt love stories of people from different backgrounds.