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How to Collaborate on Instagram in Four Simple Steps

Social MediaDiana TrinhComment

I see many businesses hesitate to collaborate with bloggers and brand influencers on Instagram because they don't know how to go about it. I've got a few (successful!) collaborations under my belt and learned the ins and outs of working with a blogger or brand influencer for a collaboration on Instagram. And let me tell you something: each one can vary. Because each blogger works their business differently in terms of choosing and styling products, posting on Instagram, and of course, everybody's favorite topic, payment, that means each collaboration can differ. The basics of collaborating with a blogger or brand influencer that stay the same.

Collaborating with a blogger or brand influencer doesn't have to be difficult. In fact, with my four easy steps to collaborating on Instagram, you're next collaboration should be a breeze.

Four Easy Steps to Collaborating on Instagram

1. Find a blogger or brand influencer you want to work with.

It's important to find someone you want to work with, right? You can just scroll through your Instagram feed and pick anybody, right? Well, that's not exactly how it works. You can't just pick anybody. You need to pick someone that works well with your products and your business.

For instance, if you sell clothing and accessories for women who rock the boho-chic style, you wouldn't want to work with a city style blogger. The two wouldn't mix well. The pictures wouldn't look right and that blogger's Instagram followers wouldn't be interested in your business at all because they are probably interested in the same city style as the blogger, not the boho-chic style.

Rather than finding someone on the opposite end of the spectrum, focus on finding a brand influencer that has a similar style and aesthetic to you and your business.


Take an hour to hang around on Instagram and see who you would like to collaborate with. Make sure their style and personality would mesh well with your brand.

2. Yes, the number of followers you have matters.

I'm not one to really care that about how many followers I have. Yes of course, I like to grow my social media following, but I focus on my social media account's engagement as opposed to the number of followers I have. That said, when it comes to collaborating, your numbers do matter.

When looking for bloggers or brand influencers to work with, you need to make sure their style and personality will work with your brand and that you have a similar amount of followers. I've worked with bloggers who have had approximately 10,000 more followers than the shop's Instagram account I was managing — those seem to be the easiest collaborations to move forward with. There's no harm in seeing if a blogger with a much larger Instagram account (we're talking like thousands more) would be interested in collaborating with you, but it may be more difficult to work out a collaboration with them.


Back to that list of bloggers you would like to collaborate with — who has a closer following to you. Remember to keep it within the 10K range of your own Instagram account following.

3. Contact the blogger or brand influencer!

First, I want to make a public announcement. Please stop asking to collaborate with people through direct messaging! Not everybody checks their DMs consistently, so your message can go unread. You are trying to wrap up a business deal — and a business deal is rather professional, so a collaboration request should be coming through a professional e-mail address.

Go the extra mile and look for their e-mail address. Some post their e-mail address in their Instagram bio for easy collaboration access. Others host that information on their website. Head over there and check out that blogger's contact or work with me page to find the e-mail address. And if all else fails, ask what the best way is to reach them about a collaboration. Maybe it will turn out to be direct messaging and if that's what the brand influencer chooses, that is definitely ok. However, if you as a business are making the first contact or reach for a collaboration, it should come from a professional e-mail address.


Contact the blogger or brand influencer you would like to work with via e-mail. It looks way more professional!

4. Decide on the details of your collaboration and collaborate.

I can't even begin to explain how many types of collaborations you can host with a blogger or brand influencer. Yes, I can because I have a list below full of them. But hashing out the details of the collaboration with the brand influencer you are collaborating with is important. It all starts with the types of products the brand influencer will be receiving — are there set products in place that need to be promoted or does the blogger get to choose what they would like to feature?

Speaking of features, what kind of Instagram feature will the blogger be doing and how many? Usually, the more posts that will be featured, the more money or some form of compensation you will need to give to the blogger.

Everybody hates talking money, but it's the conversation that needs to happen. Is there payment required upfront or after the collaboration and how much or does the blogger just receive free products? Details like this vary the most when it comes to each different collaboration, but the set up is rather the same in that you need to straighten out all the details.


Square away all the details from the products to the Instagram posts to compensation. Your collaboration will run smoother if you get everything squared away first and foremost.

My four step process to collaborating with a blogger or brand influencer is rather simple. When we talked before about hashing out all the details of the collaboration, one of the most important parts of the collaboration is figuring out beforehand what kind you want to have! How and why do you want the brand influencer to promote your products on Instagram? I've got my three ideas for you.

My 3 Favorite Ways to Collaborate on Instagram

1. For lifestyle images and brand awareness

You need photos of your products, right? Who better than to model them than a blogger that works in your field! Collaborate with a brand influencer to get beautiful photos that you can share everywhere and get their followers to notice your brand in however the blogger decides to share your photos. This is a more lenient way of collaborating.

2. For a shoutout

Have an awesome sale or promotion coming out and want to get more exposure to it? Work out a deal with the blogger or brand influencer to shout out your sale or promotion at a specific time. Collaborations like these may be a little pricier; however, it can lead to more sales.

3. To host a giveaway

Get a blogger involved in your giveaway! Have he or she join you in sharing that giveaway and notifying the winner. It's a fun way to build up excitement if more people (especially a blogger) is buzzing about a giveaway and it's likely to lead to more entries too.

Need a few more Instagram tricks to keep your Instagram account growing and engaging? I've got some up my sleeve with my Instagram Survival Guide for Boutiques, Shops and Product Sellers.


Melissa Hebbe is a social media strategist for boutiques, shops and product sellers and blogs all about social media marketing over at Since Melissa likes to keep the social in social media, she believes all platforms are a great way for boutiques, shops and small businesses to stay connected with their customers and audience.

Connect with her on Social Media!

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What to post on Instagram

Social MediaDiana TrinhComment

One of the biggest questions I get is, “What exactly do I post on Instagram if I’m not selling a physical product?” Entrepreneurs and other bloggers may have a harder time figuring out what to post on Instagram because unlike fashion bloggers, beauty bloggers or those who sell a physical product - we may not always have something to showcase.

Not knowing what to post on Instagram deterred me from using Instagram all-together. Last year, I focused on Twitter and Facebook, but this year I’m putting all my efforts into Instagram. Within 3 months I was able to build a following, find my tribe and best of all - get real engagement from target audience.

I know what you’re thinking, “My life isn’t exactly picture perfect all the time, what am I going to post? How am I going to post content everyday?”

I’ll let you in on this little secret - you can post basically anything as long as it meets these three standards:

1. It has to be a high quality image (don’t ever post, just to post - come on now).

2. Your target audience has to resonate with it.

3. Your captions have to stay consistent throughout your Instagram.


Number one is pretty self explanatory and I talk about it extensively in my Free 5 Day Instagram Audit Course. My 5 Day course talks about how to edit and curate photos so you don’t ever have to worry about uploading a photo that doesn’t match your feed or that doesn’t resonate with your target audience.


Not interested in signing up for the course? You can take a look at this in-depth blog post that goes into how to take high quality photos for your Instagram.

Number 2: Your target audience has to resonate with it. 

This gives you so much flexibility in the type of content you can post up. Think about your ideal client, what exactly are they struggling with? What is their typical day like? What do they like to do for fun? What exactly does your service offer them? Best of all, you can really connect to your audience by posting things that they’ll look at and go, “I totally get that!” or “That is so me.”

As someone who targets bloggers from all niches and entrepreneurs, I have more freedom because I can post different types of photos to capture their attention. 

Remember - use your photo to capture your follower’s attention and then use your caption to win them over!

For example: You could post up a photo of your desk with papers all over the place, your huge cup of coffee and your business books piled up in one corner. What do you think people think or feel when they see that photo? If they’re an entrepreneur they would totally go, “That’s what my desk looks like on a daily basis!”

OR: If your audience is a strong, independent woman who loves having a good time and appreciates a bottle of wine, heck - you could even post up a photo of a glass of wine and a cheese plate. Either way, your target audience is going to love it because they totally get where you’re coming from. But then again, who doesn’t love an awesome cheese plate and a glass of wine?!

Number Three: You can post anything you want, as long as your voice stays consistent and you don’t forget about your mission.

 How do you keep your voice and message consistent? You make sure that your captions are always talking about what you offer, how you can help, and what you’re going through. Remember, you are on Instagram to give people a chance to get to know you better, a chance to peek inside your life, and also you are there to provide them with awesome content.

Here’s what I mean. If you’re a web designer who has been posting up photos of their work and you go out, have a wonderful time with friends and want to post up a photo of your dinner with a seaside view (hey- a girl can dream, can’t they?) then you can post up that photo and go, “Treating myself out to a wonderful dinner. As someone who works from home, I spend most of my time in my house - huddled behind a computer, but today I realized that all my hard work and knew that I needed to treat myself.”

But imagine if all I posted was amazing food photos with the caption, “Ate this at ______ the other day, so delicious!” and then I suddenly began to post about my business and mentioning my services, people who have been following me for a while would go, “What the heck? Why is this showing up on my feed? I don’t remember following her.” Your audience has gotten so used to you posting up about food, and talking about food that when you mention your business, they can get uncomfortable.

No matter what I post, I always make sure that the message ties into my business /my audience can connect with what I’m saying OR I am giving them the real me - it helps them think of me as a person, and not a brand.

I posted a photo of a mug that says, “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss” and even though my caption has nothing to do with this mug, I got so many great responses and engagement from this post. As you can see from the caption, I talked about my MAY goals. I used the photo to capture the attention of my followers and used the caption to invite my followers to talk about their goals as well.

Here’s another great example from Louise from the solopreneursidekick. Her photo just shows a nicely styled flatlay that consists of flowers and a laptop, but her caption is filled with information that provides her followers with amazing ideas and high quality content.

Now, here are some ideas on what to post for those of you who are still struggling:

1. Behind the scenes photos:

If you’re working on an e-book or drafting up some amazing blog posts, then post a photo of your workstation or behind the scenes photos! You’re giving your followers a sneak peek at what’s to come and getting them excited.

2.  Challenges:

If you want to start building up your tribe on Instagram and get seen as an authority figure, start doing a challenge. The first thought that came to my mind was if you’re an organizer - you could have a 5 day spring cleaning challenge where you would encourage followers to post up photos of their before and after photos. You would then lead the challenge by taking a before and after photo of your cabinet, kitchen, bathroom, etc!

3. Mini Courses:

Host a free mini course where you talk about certain things for a certain amount of days. Make this content available on Instagram only and make sure that the tips are short and to the point (this isn’t a blog post!). You could set up a mini course on how to build your email list in 5 days and post up a tip every night on Instagram.

Join my party on Instagram! 

Click here to follow me.

How I got 50 Instagram Followers in a day

Social MediaDiana TrinhComment

The other day, I went car shopping and managed to grow my Instagram following by 50 followers. In ONE DAY. It was crazy, you’re probably thinking, “How did you grow your IG followers so fast?” or the other question is, “You’re car shopping, why weren’t you paying attention?” Because, my sister makes all the decisions and I’m just there to sign the paperwork! But anyway, I’m going off topic. So, here’s exactly how I was able to grow my following so quickly and why this won’t be happening again… unless I lock myself up somewhere and just spend the night on Instagram.

Here’s how:

  1. I posted 2 photos in a day at optimal times. 

You can figure out that people tend to search Instagram during their lunch and at night after they eat dinner and are just laying around. For myself, I posted at 1 PM and again at 9 PM. After the time change though, I have started posting at 10 PM. You can use an app like iconosquare to see what your optimal posting times are. Please note that you can do the FREE trial for 7 days and then it is paid. BUT by using the free trial you will be able to find your optimal times and stick to that schedule. In the future though, it is good to invest in it if you are serious about your Instagram because your audience is always changing. Posting 3 photos are great, but no more than 3.

* I find that with each post, I get more followers so I try to post at least 2 times a day. Make sure that you are still posting with high quality content. If you don’t have high quality content, don’t post at all.

After looking through my hashtags, I found someone whose feed I liked and was my target audience. As a designer and social media manager, my audience are creative entrepreneurs and bloggers who are looking to step up their business with gorgeous graphics or social media consulting. Sound like you? Check out my services here.

After you find someone who is your target audience (remember look through the hashtags so you can find someone who posted recently):

2. Go through their photos and like 3 of their most recent photos.

3.  Comment on the photos that you can write a RELEVANT comment on.

This is key, don’t write, “Oh that’s wonderful!” that is just wasting your time and their time. If you find a photo where the caption really connects with you, or the photo really speaks to you, write an amazing comment. The more sincere and amazing your comment is, the more likely that person is to follow you back. The reason why this works so well is because even if that person doesn’t follow you back – others will see your comment and think, “She seems like an engaged user and I totally can relate to her comment! I’m going to follow her.” This WORKS. I do this all the time. In my paid course, I break down why this is so effective and why those who comment more get more followers (and no, it’s not just because the person whose feed you are commenting on will follow you back).

4. If you REALLY like their feed (because i don’t believe in following everyone who follows you) go ahead and follow them.

I repeated this over and over again, making sure that my comments were great and that the target audience could benefit from my services.

When you are first starting to build your Instagram, you may find that a small percentage follow you, but now that I’ve been using this over and over again I find that I get a 80% follow rate.

Some things to think about when you are having trouble choosing the perfect person to follow.....

In my paid course, I talk about how to find the perfect person to follow but here’s a quick overview:

  1. Make sure that they are engaging on Instagram, if you see them replying back to comments then they will be more likely to follow you.

  2. Make sure that they don’t have a huge amount of followers, if they do then your comments may go unnoticed or your activity on their feed may not be seen due to the high amount of notifications they may get. For me, I make sure to target smaller accounts with less than 1,000 Instagram followers. 

Love this post? You'll love my FREE IG course even more! This is a section taken out of the free course that is jam packed with things like creating the perfect bio, instagram no no's and even more!