Sponsored Posts - What Are They And How Should You Use Them?

Sponsored Posts – What Are They And How Should You Use Them?

January 3, 2023

Looking to improve your social media ROI or lend a serious boost to your reach, engagement, and conversions? Social media users often turn to their favorite platforms when considering making a purchase, yet they’re increasingly annoyed with ads. Find out how sponsored posts can boost your social media ROI without annoying your audience.

Sponsored posts are paid ads that look like a regular social media post. The most successful ones avoid promotional copy and instead include creative and compelling content that engages users. Sponsored ads may be promoted content by a brand or partnership post in collaboration with an influencer. 

Keep reading to find out why sponsored posts matter to brands and get tips to help your team create them in a way that’s effective for increasing  conversions and engagement.

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Sponsored posts are ads that are formatted to appear as if they’re social media posts. They appeal to users with compelling content that fits the personality of the platform and the brand audience.

Instagram partner post example 2

Source: Instagram

Sponsored posts, which are a type of native advertising, come in many styles and formats, including boosted posts and influencer partnerships using image, video, or Story posts.

Facebook paid partnership example

Source: Facebook

This type of advertising requires a disclosure that lets readers and viewers know they’re looking at an ad, but viewers often don’t care because the content can be just as interesting as an organic post.

For example, HGTV personality and social media influencer Bryan Baeumler paired up with building products company Dricore for a sponsored post. The ad looks like a typical Instagram image post but states “Paid partnership with Dricore products” at the top.

paid partnership ad instagram example

Source: Instagram

Not all sponsored posts are paid partnerships. Businesses also create ads that look like social media posts, or boost organic posts, because it helps them reach a wider, targeted audience.

In the example below, JP Morgan Chase & Co’s sponsored LinkedIn post uses an image and inspiring story, instead of promotional copy, to form a connection with readers.

 “Access to quality, affordable housing matters. Meet the woman building back West Baltimore with the help of JPMorgan Chase.” The post fits into the LinkedIn platform beautifully and appeals to a typical LinkedIn user.

LinkedIn promoted post example

Source: LinkedIn

Most social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tiktok offer a variety of sponsored post options.

Whether you’re partnering with an influencer to promote your products, creating ads that look like posts, or boosting successful organic content, this type of advertising can be an excellent way to boost your reach, engagement, and conversions while increasing your ROI — on nearly any social media platform.

Why Pay For Sponsored Posts?

Like any type of paid advertising, sponsored posts can reach more people than organic posts.

why use sponsored posts

When partnering with an influencer, you reach a new audience that’s likely open to considering your brand or product.

  • On Instagram, more than 85% of consumers say they would consider trying or recommending a product when the content is considered shareworthy.

When running promoted posts, you get all the advantages of traditional advertising (such as selecting a targeted audience and tracking ad performance) with the ability to reach as many people as you decide.

As each year passes, more and more people turn to social media to help them make purchasing decisions.

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On Instagram alone, there were 3.8 million posts with the hashtag #ad in 2021 — an increase of 27% over the previous year, according to a report by Statista.

Statista ad post stats

Source: Statista

Sponsored posts are typically more entertaining, interesting, or compelling than traditional social media ads.

Which explains why sponsored posts — ads that focus on connecting with users instead of promoting — are enjoying such popularity and success.

Brands that downplay promotional content and focus on creative, original posts that users enjoy will always do better on social media. If this is the type of content you’re willing to create, sponsored posts may be an excellent investment for your company.

5 Tips to High-Performing Sponsored Posts

Sometimes brands get sidetracked when creating promotional posts, and they may forget what makes them effective in the first place. To help your team create successful campaigns, follow these 5 tips to make the most of your sponsored posts.

  1. Make it a great fit for the platform.

    For a sponsored post to achieve any level of success, it should fit in well (like, really, really well) with the social media platform you’re running it on. Keep in mind that you want it to look and feel organic.
  2. Create entertaining, informative, or inspiring content.

    Ask your team to come up with the best, most creative and original content they can think of. This type of advertising requires you to make a genuine connection with the reader. There’s so many ways to do that! You can use humor, information, inspiration, irresistible media, or whatever you do best, to connect with users.
  3. Avoid promotional copy.

    Don’t fall back into old patterns! Avoid promoting yourself or including CTAs in the main part of sponsored posts. You can put some of those details in the caption, but keep in mind that your images, videos, and headlines should aim to engage (not sell to) people.

For example, let’s look at two different sponsored posts by @elephant.inabox.

The first example, a partnership ad with @Facts, did okay and received 482 likes within the first hour. The ad included casual product images with a quote from what appears to be a positive customer review. 

It does look like a regular post, but it’s image and text are still promotional.

Instagram paid partnership example

Source: Instagram

The second example, from the same company but in partnership with @memes, received a whopping 3,300 likes within the first hour

It’s no coincidence that in this example (unlike the first one) the post avoids all promotional copy and instead uses the headline “When you open up a box and an entire couch comes out of it” next to playful images of a man’s face. 

Instagram paid partnership example2

Source: Instagram

The ad was a perfect fit for the platform and target audience, and the non-salesy approach gave readers a fun and entertaining message that hinted at the product without becoming an annoying promotion.

4. Test posts on your page before launching them as paid ads.

If you’re going to boost a post, make it one of your best, most engaging pieces of content. Or, create an ad and run it as an organic post first to see how your current audience responds. Use analytics to gauge its effectiveness and to learn how to improve your boosted posts over time.

5. Ask influencers for ideas and input on partnership posts.

Most influencers became influencers because they’re geniuses at engaging their audience. If you’re collaborating with an influencer for partnership posts, ask them what type of content and format they recommend, and trust that they know how to connect with their audience.

Keep an open mind so that you can let them do what they do so well — engage their audience!

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When crafting sponsored posts, consider how you might increase engagement and conversions without coming across as promotional. Develop content that fits into the platform and, if possible, test it out on your own audience, before turning it into a paid ad.

Tips to create the best sponsored posts

Sponsored Posts For 2023 And Beyond

Sponsored posts are an excellent way to capture the attention of social media audiences, most of whom are tired of being sold to and prefer to avoid promotional content. 

You can browse examples of sponsored partnership posts on Instagram by searching #sponsored or promoted ads by searching #ads, or searching for similar on other social platforms.

Have you tried using sponsored posts for your brand? If so, have you had any success? We’d love to know what’s worked or hasn’t worked for you! Drop us a note in the comments below and share your experience with other marketers and creators.

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