Brand awareness and loyalty

How to Use the Instagram Collab Feature on Posts and Reels

  • 11 Minutes
How to work Reely well together

Social media marketing is all about collaborations and partnerships. Great partnerships lead to great things like new followers, more engagement, improved Reach, and many other great opportunities. 

You’ve probably noticed that the trend on social media has been to work with influencers and partners to create collaborative content that benefits both parties involved.

Previously, it was common to tag people or mention them in your content for this type of collaboration. This is great, but the Collab feature lets you go beyond that and have shared Instagram posts, and Reels show up on the Instagram feed for followers of accounts.

How do you do this? 

Why should you bother doing this? 

This guide walks you through the Instagram Collab feature, four good reasons you should use it, and how to use it. We also share some ideas on how you can put Instagram Collabs to work for your brand.

What is the Instagram Collab feature?

In mid-2021, a new Instagram feature started appearing for many content creators. This was the Instagram Collab feature. It tested two users sharing the same content in their own Feeds or Reels.

Later in 2021, this feature rolled out to the general public.

What does it mean to collaborate on Instagram? Instagram explains Collabs as follows:

“You can use Instagram Collabs to co-author content with other accounts. The public original author can tag another private or public account as a collaborator. Then, the other account can either accept or deny the request. If the other account accepts, the post will also show on their profile and be distributed to their followers in Instagram feed.” 

In simple terms, a Collab post is a piece of content that appears simultaneously on two different users’ feeds or Reels. All comments, likes, and shares on this content are also shared between the two accounts.

What does a collaboration post look like in real life? Here’s an example from our own @getskedsocial collab with @thedigitalbuzz

Collab posts aren’t limited to feed posts, of course. You can also create Instagram Reels in collaboration with another creator or brand account. 

Collabs can be a powerful tool for content creation as well as influencer marketing. While this isn’t a new feature anymore, many brands and content creators still aren’t making use of it. It’s time to change that!

Why use Instagram Collabs?

You know what the feature is; now it’s time to understand the why. 

Why should you use Instagram Collabs for your Instagram account? An Instagram collab post is excellent for so many reasons. Below are our top four.

Reach a new audience

Whether it’s an Instagram Reel or a regular feed post, a Collab post shows up on both profiles. This allows you to reach new Instagram users via your collaborative partner’s audience.

These posts can be a great opportunity to introduce a new audience to your brand or your Instagram account. It can also help showcase your product or services. 

Collaborating with the right partner with a target audience similar to yours can often be very beneficial for reaching new audiences and gaining new followers.

Boost your engagement 

Double the exposure also means double the engagement. Your Collab post will collect likes, comments, shares, etc., from both your communities and combine them for the post. Irrespective of the source of engagement, both your accounts will get credited for exactly the same engagement rate for the post. 

“Trick” the algorithm

The double engagement is also fantastic for “tricking” the Instagram algorithm. A strategic, well-thought Collab post should generate more engagement than your average solo post. However, since the engagement is combined, it doesn’t matter if it’s coming from two separate accounts; Instagram views it as engagement on one individual post.

This high engagement rate, therefore, signals to the algorithm that your post is interesting to a larger number of users. This, in turn, compels it to show the content to even more of your followers or new audiences on Instagram. 

Drive more sales

If you sell products, you probably already love shoppable Instagram posts. Collaborating on this content with another brand or creator can expose your products to a broader audience, thus increasing your chances of making more sales via your Instagram Store.

How to get started with the Instagram Collaboration feature

Ready to create your first ever Instagram Collab post? It’s actually super easy.

As the original author of the post:

  1. Start by opening the Instagram app—obviously.
  2. Create and begin the process of uploading the new post to your Feed or Insta Reels.
  3. Before you post your content, it’s time to add your co-collaborator to the post. Tap tag people option and choose the ‘Invite collaborator” option to get started.
  4. Search for the username you need and select it to add them as a collaborator. Click Done.
  5. Post your content.
  6. The Collab tag shows up in the header of your post. So if we were to collaborate with Instagram on a post, it would show up as “getskedsocial and Instagram.”

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Collab posts must be initiated from a public account.
  • Your collaborator must also accept the request for the content to show on their profile grid. 
  • The original author of the post is the post’s primary author. If the original author blocks the collaborator or the collaborator blocks the original author, the collaboration will end. 

To accept a Collab request:

  1. Tap on the notification on your Activity page or check your DMs to view the Collab request.
  2. Tap ‘Review’ and then ‘Accept’, and you’re done. 
  3. The post header will now show your account as the co-author of the content. It will appear on your profile grid and within your followers’ feeds.

8 ideas to use Instagram Collabs

So we’ve established the what, why, and the how-to. Now, it’s time to discuss something fun—some ideas to make the most of this fantastic Instagram feature for your brand.

Here are eight ways you can use the Instagram Collab feature to create Reels and feed posts with a partner account.

1. Announce an upcoming partnership

  • Have an event coming up? 
  • Are you featured in an upcoming podcast? 
  • Have you collaborated with a brand or an influencer on a marketing campaign?
  • Hosting a webinar or workshop together with someone?
  • Co-created a product or service with another person and ready to launch?

These are all great examples of collaborations you can announce via a Collab post. The post (in-feed or via Reels) is the perfect way to announce and promote your upcoming partnership. 

Create content for the announcement that would be relevant to both audiences. Decide who will be the original author of the post and that Instagram account will need to publish the content first. Once accepted, the post will appear to both your followers. 

This is a great way to build excitement amongst both sets of followers about these upcoming events or announcements. Co-posting can help you reach a bigger audience and drive better results if your announcement requires sign-ups or purchases.

2. Boost existing paid partnerships

Already investing in influencer marketing? Your #ad and #sponsored posts can get a further boost with the help of Collab posts.

If you’re collaborating with an influencer to create content for your brand, why not make the process better with a Collab post immediately? If you own the content, post it to your account as the original author and invite the influencer as the collaborator. Both followers see the content, and you don’t lose out on any of the engagement juice.

Note that a paid partnership should already follow the rules and include the correct content label and #ad hashtag in your captions. 

3. Team up for giveaways

As an Instagram user, you’ve probably seen a ton of giveaways on the platform. Brands and content creators alike host giveaways, and it’s not uncommon to see accounts team up to offer a giveaway together.

Before the Collab posts feature was a thing, each account participating in the giveaway would have to create their own individual post. Now, the accounts can come together on the same post to announce and promote their giveaways. 

A Collab post giveaway helps you collect joint engagement from both communities and, of course, gain more visibility for the giveaway campaign as well. It’s a win-win for both accounts involved.

4. Amplify creative partnerships

Partnerships on social media aren’t limited to being transactional. Many creators collaborate with other creators for purely creative purposes. Or, a brand may collaborate with a creator account to promote creative work. 

For example, as a photographer, you may collaborate with a magazine like National Geographic for a creative project. Nat Geo shares your photo to their account but also adds you as a collaborator. This spells instant exposure to the hundreds of thousands of Nat Geo followers for you. 

The Collab feature helps you amplify the creator you collaborated with, promote their work, and make it easy for them to share their work and collaboration with you.

5. Host a challenge together

Instagram challenges continue to be popular on the platform. They’ve always been an excellent way for brands to engage their Instagram communities.

Partner with another account to host a joint challenge together. For example, you may be a local gym hosting a 30-day summer fitness challenge. Partner with a local fitness-wear brand as you both will have a similar audience profile. You may even like to create a unique hashtag to promote your challenge and gather all participant posts under the one hashtag umbrella.

Announce the challenge using a Collab post. You can also continue to post about the challenge via joint Collab posts. This promotes your challenge to a broader audience and helps to garner more participation and reach for it.

6. Offer product bundles

Like giveaways, you may have seen brands on Instagram collaborate to offer their audience product bundles. This can be a win-win for businesses that complement each other with their products or services. It’s a fun way to offer even more value to your customers. 

For example, as a skincare brand, you may collaborate with a haircare brand and bundle a few of your products to offer your customers a special deal. This limited edition collection is attractive to both your communities, so a Collab post is ideally suited for it.

7. Come together for a good cause 

Is there a cause or charity you’re particularly passionate about? Are you doing some work or raising funds for this cause? The Collab post can help you amplify the cause further. 

For example, your business might raise funds for a local children’s ‘Learn to Read’ charity. Create a post to highlight this on your Instagram account. However, to get more out of it, invite the charity to collaborate with you on the post as well. It can help you create more awareness and bring more attention to the cause.

8. Add authenticity to your user-generated content

If you’re a brand that garners a lot of user-generated content from your audience, you better be making the most of it and sharing it with your community on Instagram. UGC is great for social media marketing, and Collabs can help you improve it. 

When publishing your UGC to your feed, give credit to the person who created the account. The average Instagram user (and fan of your brand) will love this. It makes your brand look more trustworthy. Plus, it lends an air of authenticity to your content and brand, which is always a bonus in the highly curated and perfect world of social media.

Wrapping up

The yet-underused Instagram collaboration feature is a helpful tool for brand and creator Instagram accounts looking to take their social media partnerships to the next level. The right Collabs will allow you to get more exposure and engagement for your content.

By the way, if you need help streamlining your social media content process, Sked Social can help. From planning your content to scheduling it for publication, Sked is the social media sidekick every Instagram pro needs.

Sign up for a free 7-day trial to see how Sked can help you do great things with your Instagram content.

Photo of Photo of Kyra Goodman

Kyra is a Junior Marketing Manager and "Spicy Meme Master" at Sked Social who loves to create content. Born and raised in Hawaii, her favorite things are traveling, yoga, beaching, coffee and baseball. Connect with her on twitter at @kyra_n_goodman.

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