What Is Sponsorship?

Sponsorship is a partnership between businesses or brands and well-known content creators or influencers with large social media followings involving the promotion of the brand, a product, or a service.

Typically, influencers create and publish content on their social media channels highlighting the sponsoring brand's items, campaigns, or services. The promotional content can include images, videos, articles, or blog posts and is usually accompanied by a disclaimer that it involves a sponsorship or ‘paid promotion.’

More About Sponsorship

While word-of-mouth advertising and other methods of promotion of products and services have been around for a long time, a sponsorship is a more formalized arrangement involving an individual signing off on a brand and its offerings.

So, what is a sponsorship in the modern context?

A sponsorship, usually executed on social media, refers to an arrangement between companies and influencers to jointly advertise the brand’s products and services to the latter’s network or followers. The company typically pays the influencer in cash, products, or other incentives for creating and sharing content that features the sponsoring brand.

Common social media sites used for sponsorships include Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. These platforms enable brands and influencers to interact and work together to reach and engage their target audiences.

Sponsorship is undoubtedly one of the best ways for a business to promote its products to a broader audience. With the increasing number of influencers and the extensive social media audiences they have access to, any brand can successfully enhance its online visibility and promote its products.

Also, the influencer’s word and their content are generally seen as trustworthy by their followers. Thus, good influencers can aid in greatly expanding a business and its reach.

Depending on the nature of the partnership and the goals of the company and influencer, sponsorships as part of social media marketing can take various forms, including

Sponsored posts: The influencer creates and posts content, such as text with photos or videos, highlighting the sponsoring brand and the uses and merits of its product or service. These posts are often identified as sponsored content with hashtags like #sponsored or #ad to denote the paid partnership.

Product placement: The influencer tries to organically include the sponsoring brand’s products in their content. They could, for instance, use the product in a review, demonstration, or tutorial video.

Contests and giveaways: The sponsoring brands collaborate with influencers to host a giveaway or contest for the target audience. To enter the contest and win the brand’s products or other prizes, participants must meet the terms put forth by the influencer, which typically include guidelines for commenting, liking, and sharing.

Brand ambassadorships: These are partnerships between the brand and influencer that generally last for a long term. The brand makes the influencer its ambassador, who promotes its products or services on social media platforms.

A sponsorship is beneficial for both the brand and the influencer. It gives a good opportunity for the brand to leverage the influencer’s popularity and reputation to raise brand awareness, spark conversations, and connect with a specific audience. Influencers, in turn, are compensated and gain free access to products and services.

The image below shows an Instagram user highlighting the brand GHDhair’s product and identifying the brand sponsorship as a ‘paid partnership.’


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a social media sponsorship?

Social media sponsorship refers to a partnership involving a sponsor collaborating with a social media influencer or content creator. The latter promotes the brand, product, or service on social media platforms to their following and the brand’s target audience.

Typically, the sponsor provides compensation or benefits to the influencer in exchange for the content created and endorsements made to the influencer's audience.

What are the benefits of social media sponsorship for sponsors?

Social media sponsorship offers several benefits to the sponsoring brand or organization toward generating leads and driving sales, including the following:

  • Enhanced brand visibility
  • Targeted reach to an engaged audience
  • Credibility through influencer endorsements
  • Access to the content creator or influencer’s creativity and expertise
  • Access to new market segments

What are some of the widely used social media apps that facilitate sponsorship?

Here are some of the popular social media apps that facilitate sponsorships:

  • On Instagram, brands can collaborate with influencers for sponsored posts, Stories, and IGTV videos to advertise their products or services.
  • On YouTube, content creators partner with brands for sponsorships. These include brand or product mentions and reviews placed within their content.
  • TikTok is immensely popular among young audiences. Brands collaborate with TikTok influencers to create short videos showcasing their products or incorporating branded hashtags.
  • On Twitter, influencers and brands partner for sponsored tweets or hashtag campaigns featuring brand mentions or promotions.
  • Facebook offers opportunities to create sponsored content to reach the brand's target audience through influencers and content creators.
  • LinkedIn also supports influencer marketing and sponsorships. In collaboration with sponsored brands, influencers can post articles, videos, and other media targeting professionals and business-oriented audiences.

How can one measure the return on investment (ROI) on social media sponsorships?

A brand can follow these steps to measure its ROI on sponsorships campaigns executed on social media:

  • Set clear objectives: Increase brand awareness, sales, website traffic, or engagement metrics.
  • Track key performance indicators: They help assess the success of sponsorship, like engagement, click-through rates, conversion rates, revenue generated, and brand mentions or hashtags.
  • Use tracking links: Use tracking links or codes in the sponsored posts to track conversions or sales.
  • Analyze and monitor: Analyze audience sentiment and feedback to gauge the overall perception of your brand and campaign.
  • Compare the cost with outcomes: Compare the costs associated with your sponsorship (payments to influencers) against measurable outcomes.

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