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November 19, 2021

In case you missed it, Instagram recently rolled out a whole bunch of cool new features. Among them are desktop posting capabilities (about time!), a new fundraising option, and some enhanced interactive music effects on Reels – in an effort to continue competing with the latest from Tik Tok.

But the most interesting of these new features is something called “Collabs.”

What are Instagram Collabs?

Collabs essentially is a feature that allows two different people to co-author a single post or Reel. Now let me be clear in explaining that this is not a content creation tool. It doesn’t offer collaborative editing capabilities similar to the Tik Tok Duets feature.

What co-authoring and collaborating means in this case is that two accounts share the same content, credit, and engagement on a single post. To better understand what this means and how this looks, check out this Collab from Hollywood’s favorite odd couple:

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Note both account names credited at the top of this post where, in the past, it would have typically been one. Also note how this post appears on the profile/grid of both of these users:

Upon clicking into this post on either of these two profiles, you’ll find identical content, likes, and comments. To put it simply, it is the same post that lives in two different places on Instagram and in front of two different sets of followers.

So what’s the point? Why does this matter?

The point is that Collabs has the potential to revolutionize how brands and influencers or other partners collaborate with each other publicly. It offers the most seamless option we’ve seen thus far on Instagram to not just share each other’s content, but to share each other’s audiences.

No more clunky third part tools for sharing each other’s posts. No more “just throw it in the Stories.” No more screenshots captioned with “head over to ______’s page to learn more.” Collabs will be the most simple and effective way to streamline these partnerships and conversions, given the easy access to each other’s profiles.

We’ll take a closer look at how brands are already diving head first into Collabs, but first, let’s quickly cover how to use the feature.

How do Instagram Collabs work?

Whether you’re a brand partnering with an influencer, two organizations raising awareness for a shared cause, or simply a couple that wants to show as many people as possible how in love you are, posting an Instagram Collab couldn’t be easier. Just follow these seven simple steps:

  1. Click the post/create button [ + ] in the top right corner of your Instagram app.
  2. Go through the typical process to publish a post. When you reach the final caption step, select Tag People.
  3. You’ll see an option here that says Invite Collaborator. Select that.
  4. Type in the username of the account you intend to Collab with.
  5. Click Done to send the invitation to the account selected.
  6. Share your post.
  7. When your post is published, the collaborator will receive a notification that you want to post a Collab. They must select Accept for it to go through.

Voila! You’ve got yourself a Collab. Now your content is in front of two different followings.

How are brands using Instagram Collabs?

Now that you’re an expert at using this new feature, let’s take a quick look at some #inspo for how to use it. Collabs have only been around for a couple of weeks, but users have wasted no time in diving right in.

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Here’s the most obvious use of Instagram Collabs for a brand. Co-authoring fun branded content with one of your most valuable influencers. Red Bull has a very respectable 15 million followers. But the Brazilian soccer superstar Neymar boasts a whopping 165 million. By collaborating on an authentic little video like this that his most loyal fans crave, there’s a good chance a solid chunk of them are migrating over to Red Bull to look for more after watching.

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Instagram takeovers are a great way for brands to allow influencers to create content for them and share their message. In this example, we see YouTube partnering with creator Tarek Ali for a takeover, using Collabs as a simple and efficient way to co-announce said takeover.

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For good measure, here’s one more example of a brand-influencer Collab between Applebees and what appears to be a popular food photographer. It’s your standard #ad or #sponsored post you’re used to seeing, with the Collab essentially acting as a paid partnership tag.

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Save the Children is an international humanitarian organization with over a million followers. Save the Children Action Network is the political advocacy arm of that larger organization, with just over 3,000 followers. By co-authoring this content, the larger account is doing the smaller one a solid by sharing its reach.

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Similarly to Save the Children, here we see how two related brand accounts can co-author relevant content. Sportscenter and NBA on ESPN are two of many sibling programs under the same ESPN umbrella. It makes a ton of sense for them to Collab with each other as much as possible to share and secure each other’s audiences.

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Here’s a cool Philly-local example of two businesses with a real-life product collaboration. With Collabs, they can team up to showcase it to their combined followings in the digital space.

Looking for more cool ideas to make use of Instagram Collabs for your brand? You know where to find us.

About the Author

Kyle Krajewski

As an associate creative director at ChatterBlast, Kyle leads visual and graphic efforts across the company. You can often find him frequenting the number of dog parks in South Philly, where he resides with his fiancé Breezy and shepsky Brenda (IG: @brendatheshepsky).

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