Learn how to create Instagram collaboration posts, what the Instagram collaboration rules are, and the benefits of using this feature.
Instagram is well-known for supporting its creator community as well as rolling out new features to help brands take advantage of the platform’s marketing potential.
One such feature is the Instagram collaboration post. In this article, I’ll break down what it is, why to use it, the Instagram collaboration rules, plus some tips for using Instagram collabs well.
What is an Instagram collaboration post?
Instagram collaboration posts have two posters. Yes, you heard that right! With the Instagram collab post feature, you can invite another user to, well, collaborate with you on a post or Reel.
You can find this post from Bloomingdale’s and artist Kerri Rosenthal about their collaboration on a fashion line on both users’ profiles.
When someone accepts your invitation, that content shows up on their feed as well as yours. The post will feature both your handles, and you’ll share likes, views, and comments, which allows you to capitalize on the exposure and engagement of each other’s communities.
Instagram released this feature back in October 2021, calling it a new way to co-author Feed posts and Reels. In recent years Instagram has been releasing new features to support its creators, as the platform has no doubt realized they’re an integral part of the IG ecosystem. Collab posts, which let creators share the spotlight with brands even more than before, are just one of those features.
Instagram’s tweet announcing collab posts back in October 2021.
Collab posts can be used in a variety of ways by different combos of users: by brands and creators, by two brands, by two creators, by an NGO and their spokesperson, by Thelma and Louise, by Romeo and Juliet, and so on.
Why use Instagram collab posts?
So what’s different with collabs? Why even bother using it? The main benefits of Instagram collaboration posts are exposure and engagement. First, when you use a collab post, both users’ names appear at the top of the post for all to see. To navigate to the collaborator’s profile, you simply have to click their name.
With tags, you had to tap on the post to see the names of the people tagged there (1 tap), and then tap on the name to go to the collaborator’s profile (2 taps). This means that to check out the profile of the collaborator mentioned in a collab post, there’s one less click involved. That might not sound like a lot, but any reduction of friction in the user experience is positive.
Let’s look a bit deeper at some of the benefits of using Instagram collab posts.
Get discovered by a new audience
An Instagram collab post shows up on both your and your collaborator’s profile. And this means you get your content in front of their audience. This helps you get exposed to a whole new set of people.
For brands, this means you can introduce your products to potential new customers. And for creators, this means your content gets placed in front of a much wider audience. In both cases, a collab post could lead to new followers to your own account.
Get a jump in engagement
Another cool thing about Instagram collab posts is that you share their engagement with your collaborator. This means that the collaboration content will get all the impressions, likes, and comments from both profiles, not just yours.
On the surface level, this is obviously positive, since everyone wants more engagement. But it also has a slightly more hidden benefit, too. The Instagram algorithm will notice this boost in engagement, which means IG might show your content to more people than before.
Increase your sales
You can combine Instagram collab posts with another powerful Instagram feature: Shopping. Shoppable posts tag your products, and users can click on them to go right to your online store. When you use a collab post with IG Shopping tags, more people will see your products and get the option to buy them, which can lead to increased sales.
Collaborate more simply
Using the Instagram collab post gives you a more streamlined way to collaborate. You and your collaborator no longer have to post duplicate content. Instead, you can just share in the glory of only posting once.
And when it comes time to analyze results, you don’t have to swap private insights with your partner. You can both track the views, likes, comments, and other analytics on your own, from the same post.
By posting the same content to @nike and @nikewomen with an IG collab post, Nike’s marketing team can more easily track the analytics flowing into the content from the two separate profiles.
How to create an Instagram collab post
- Create a post or Reel as you would normally.
- Go to the Tag people section, where you’d usually tag the people who appear in your content.
- Choose Invite collaborator and input the username of the person you want to collab with.
Here’s a picture I took while on vacation in Hawai’i this past summer. Let’s say I wanted to collab with @visit.hawaii. This is how I’d invite them to my collab post.
What are the Instagram collaboration rules?
There are two Instagram collaboration rules to keep in mind when it comes to using the feature:
- You can only collaborate with one other user per post.
- The other person has to manually approve your collaboration request.
- You can only invite someone to collaborate before you post.
You might notice in the image above, that once I had chosen a collaborator, the option to Invite changed to Edit. This is because you can only collaborate with one other user per post. So choose who you invite to your collab post wisely. Once they approve your request, the content will get published to their feed as well.
And with respect to rule #3, make sure to invite your collaborator before you publish your post or Reel. Unlike with tagging, you can’t add them on later. If you forget to invite them, you’ll have to delete your post and republish it with the invitation.
Apart from this, there are some Instagram collaboration rules that apply when you’re working with paid or sponsored collabs. These rules deal with disclosing when social media content has been paid for (and by extension, is essentially an ad).
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the USA, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK, and various other government-run organizations across the world set out and enforce these rules.
For example, the FTC requires influencers to disclose any financial relationship with a brand, which includes getting paid to promote products. And in recent years, the FTC and its equivalent organizations have started holding brands more accountable for enforcing these disclosure rules.
Source: The FTC’s Disclosure 101 for Social Media Influencers.
So, when using an Instagram collab post for any type of paid partnership, it’s a good idea to make sure your brand and the influencer work a disclosure in.
Tips for using Instagram collabs
Now that we’ve looked at why to use Instagram collabs and how to set them up, let’s go over some tips to help you get the most out of your IG collab posts.
Partner with influencers and content creators
The influencer marketing industry has been growing steadily and dramatically over the last 5 or 6 years, and with good reason. Collaborating with influencers is a great way for brands to get introduced to new audiences and promote their products in a way that feels more organic than simple ads.
And the Instagram collab post feature is a great tool in any influencer marketers’ toolbox. It lets both parties share in the boosted engagement, and it makes analyzing campaign results much easier for the brand.
Just remember that the influencer you choose to collaborate with has to be the right one for your brand. You’ll want to find someone whose content topics and aesthetic align with your brand’s, and then check out their engagement rate and run a fake follower check to make sure their audience is authentic.
Also, keep in mind that simply using the Instagram collab post doesn’t disclose that a collaboration was sponsored. So if you paid an influencer to promote you—which you likely did in some way—make sure to also add a paid partnership tag, an ad hashtag, or something else to disclose your financial relationship.
Team up for Instagram collabs with other brands
Instagram collab posts are also a great way for brands to work together. The key here is finding a brand that isn’t a direct competitor, but that complements your brand and products enough to make the collaboration feel natural.
A common way for two brands to collaborate on Instagram is with a shared giveaway. This lets you pool your products, resources, and social media audiences to get even more engagement than you would on your own.
Or you can also collaborate with different accounts within your organization. This helps you more easily manage content and analytics.
@nytimes, my favorite newspaper, and @nyttravel, the newspaper’s travel department, used an IG collab post to both publish this 36-hour travel guide to Rome.
Use Instagram collabs for your UGC
UGC, or user-generated content, is a big part of a lot of brands’ social media presence these days. Content that’s essentially “free” is priceless. It saves brand time, energy, and resources when they don’t have to produce all their social media content in-house and can instead turn to users to source some of it.
User-generated content also lends authenticity to the brand’s online presence. When real people see other real people posting content featuring brands, it’s a layer of social proof that you just can’t get with ads.
So, to thank your users for that UGC, and to build loyalty and goodwill among your fanbase, why not repost their content as an IG collab post?
British fashion retailer ASOS is a brand that regularly reposts UGC from its community. They usually tag the user who created the content, but if they invited them to an IG collab post, users can share in the brand’s increased reach as a thank you for their UGC.
Announce content and giveaway winners with a collab post
I’m somewhat embarrassed to say I regularly participate in Instagram giveaways. But I’ve never won one yet. Who wins all these things anyway?
When brands announce giveaway winners, they usually do it in a post or story tagging the user. But a collab post would go a step further and put that user in the spotlight. This shows off who’s winning your giveaways, and shows that they’re real people, thus encouraging more participation next time.
What’s more, even if your winner only has a few hundred followers (like me), having your collab post appear on their feed exposes you to those few hundred people. And seeing that their friend, colleague, or acquaintance won something from your brand might just encourage them to head over to your profile, check you out, and maybe even give you a follow.
Instagram collaboration posts are a powerful tool for Instagram marketing, and there are many creative ways you can use them. Just remember your IG collab posts can only have one other collaborator.
This means they’re best for close collaborations between you and one other user, whether that’s a brand, content creator, another profile from your organization, or someone else with whom you have a special connection.