How To Create Effective Instagram Sponsored Posts That Bring People Joy

Co-written with Eliot Robinson from @dunk.

If you want to learn more about other strategies that’ll help you be discovered by a lot more people quickly on Instagram, read these articles on how to create effective how to create effective Instagram story ads, how to automate Instagram interactions, the best Instagram bots that’ll keep your account safe, how to find the most effective hashtags, how the Instagram algorithm works, and an important piece on why your Instagram isn’t growing.

Don’t create “ads”!

We’ve all been served “ads” since the day we were able to turn a screen, and given our familiarity with the medium, most of us have a general pre-conceived notion of what “good advertising” looks like. It usually involves slick editorial graphics or photography, sharp and catch-y text and a very clear visual communication of exactly what it is that they’re selling and how it’s great for the people who buy it.

Create emotions!

Effective Sponsored Posts don’t require Ad Agencies or a lot of money, they require empathy and attention to detail when understanding what type of content creates joy and emotion on Instagram. When you create emotion, people are a lot more likely to want to learn about what you have to say, instead of being turned off by feeling “sold to” right off the bat.

1. Let the data tell you what generates emotion in your audience by measuring your posts’ engagement rates.

A simple and objective way to measure which photos and videos create emotion is by measuring the amount of engagement (likes and comments) a post receives. The higher the engagement, the larger the number of people that found an emotional connection with the post at one level or another.

In the example above, the data tells us that the audience for this account clearly has a stronger emotional connection to photos of the macrame makers themselves (it’s easier to have an emotional connection with a person than with an object) with large, elaborate and colorful macrames (mastery of the craft = admiration = emotion). If I were to do a Sponsored Post based on these insights, I‘m likely to get the best results from photos featuring a macrame maker holding a colorful and elaborate macrame piece.
  • People create emotions: We are social beings, seeing other humans pulls on our evolutionary strings and creates emotions, which generates engagement.
FYI — here’s an article about the best Instagram content scheduling and post automation tools. Using them will help your posting process a lot more efficient 👍🏽
Cute animals, unsettling (in a good way) photography or delicious looking food are usually sure bets to make us stop and look at something.

2. AB test to make your sponsored posts as effective as possible.

Now that you have a better idea of what type of content might be the most effective for you, it’s time to put them to the test and understand what will give you the best results!

You can either edit and tweak them so they are relevant as an ad or you can create new ones that mimmic their visuals and content.
Instagram has updated the look of this screen but all of the guidelines stated here still apply in the same way.
It’s no surprise that the photo that had by far the best results was the one with the most bright, colorful and dense visuals.
Be empathetic when creating Sponsored Posts. Ask yourself what sort of Ad would make you less annoyed if it came across your home feed. Sponsored Posts that offer you value with exclusive discounts, etc, will likely do better than a Sponsored Posts that’s only trying to sell you something.
The cost per link click was lower when the content was improved. The ad is more effective. FYI — here’s an article about the best Instagram content scheduling and post automation tools. Using them will help your posting process a lot more efficient 👍🏽

3. Once you know what works, don’t be afraid to spend money!

After many rounds of testing, you’ll eventually find the Sponsored Posts that get you the best results and the lowest costs per click. Don’t be afraid to spend money on it to grow sales and followers fast! Instagram ads are relatively new so strike now while you can still get great results from them. Like Facebook, the costs are only likely to go up in the future as more and more people realize how effective they can be! Believe me, they work…I now earn an income from my Instagram as well as monetize my Medium because of them.

If you want to test other strategies other than sponsored posts to reach people on Instagram, read these articles on how to measure what an influencer is worth, how to find the most valuable influencers on Instagram, how to reach out to influencers, everything you need to know about TikTok Bots, and how to measure your influencer marketing ROI.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my article! If you enjoyed it, you can support me by signing up to my Instagram Small Business class, sharing this article and giving it a bunch of claps. You can also follow me on Instagram to get updates whenever I publish a new piece ❤

@pinlord 📌 @potteryforall 🌱 & @macramemakers 🍶on Instagram. Demystifying how Instagram works👌🏽 Follow for updates: