6 Creative Ways Brands are Using Instagram’s New Collabs Feature

By Mike Metzler

December 20, 2021

Organic reach rejoice! Instagram introduced a new feature called Collabs that has brands, publishers, and influencers very excited. With Collabs users can co-author posts that appear on each account’s followers’ feed simultaneously. In short, you can now capitalize on the reach of two accounts with one post. Per Instagram:

    • Both names will appear on header
    • Share to both sets of followers
    • Live on both profile grids
    • Share views, likes, and comments
    • Original poster owns the post
    • Collaborator can choose to remove the post from their profile grid and/or remove themselves as a collaborator

From a metrics point of view, the views, likes, and comments live in the original poster’s analytics but get the added benefit of the collaborator’s reach. Brands have been quick to utilize the feature in creative and strategic ways.


Here are six ways brands are using the new Collab feature.


Sports teams promote players.
Clemson Football reposted a Twitter post that blew up following an incredible touchdown by running back Will Shipley. The IG post included the popular tweet and collabed with Shipley’s personal Instagram account. The post generated 44,000 likes—more than double their average engagements per post of 15,000 during the 30-day period leading up to that post.


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A post shared by Clemson Football (@clemsonfb)

Following the success of their first Collab, the Clemson football Instagram page used Collabs to introduce 12 of their new recruits, tagging each one of their player’s Instagram.

clemson instagram collab

Combine massive audiences for a home run.
When one of the biggest sporting events of the year finishes up, it deserves more than just a standard Instagram post. This carousel post by ESPN celebrating the Atlanta Braves’ World Series win featured @MLB as a collaborator. It generated 822,000 engagements on the post, which was 3.2 times greater than ESPN’s 30-day average engagements per post.


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A post shared by ESPN (@espn)


Use Collabs to promote content with shared interests.

In the world of college sports, teams are often a bigger draw than the leagues they play in. This is the case for the Big Ten Network volleyball account at 43,400 followers versus the University of Wisconsin volleyball account with 96,300 followers. The Big Ten Network volleyball account used the Badgers’ account to boost their reach to an audience with an identical shared interest.


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A post shared by B1G Volleyball (@b1gvolleyball)


Another example was when ESPNMMA, an account that usually covers the UFC and other mixed martial arts leagues, collabed with ESPNRingSide, ESPN’s boxing account to promote a post where a UFC fighter took aim at Canelo.


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A post shared by ESPN MMA (@espnmma)

Bring attention to social causes through brand partnerships.
The National Basketball Coalition is a new initiative of NBA players, coaches, team governors, and executives that aim to fight for racial equality and social justice. In this post the National Basketball Coalition collaborated with the NBA to increase their reach and audience and raise awareness for their message. Collabs such as this allow for accounts to get the benefit of reach from their more established partners.


Branded partnerships can now tap into the reach of the brand and influencer.
One example that is sure to be utilized by brands big and small is the use of an influencer in brand partnerships. The punter from the University of Toledo, Bailey Flint, partnered with local t-shirt and screen printing brand JŪPMODE to sell t-shirts for charity. The collaborated posts have 600 to 800 likes per post; substantially higher than Jupmode’s average of around 100 likes per post.


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A post shared by Bailey Flint (@flinley)


Streaming services use collabs for content discovery
Few things are more important to streaming services than new content discovery. Collabs offer the ability to bring awareness to new content in a way that a simple tag in the copy could never do. By sharing the audience of the much larger streaming page, new shows and movies can find their audience and build their community much faster (and cheaper) than was previously possible on social.

In this example, HBO Max collaborated with The Righteous Gemstones to bring attention to the trailer for the second season of the show.


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A post shared by HBO Max (@hbomax)


Things to consider

In our search for creative Collabs, we found examples where a Collab not only didn’t increase reach, but actually performed below average. Here are three things you should consider before posting a Collab:

  • Audience – Is there a shared interest between the two audiences? Promoting something to an audience that has no interest in a specific topic is a surefire way to fail on Collabs.
  • Timeliness – Do both accounts agree to participate in the Collab in a timely fashion? Collabs require the original poster to request the Collab and for the other account to accept. If the brand is not aware a collab is coming or doesn’t accept the collab immediately, it could reduce the effectiveness of the Collab.
  • Collaboration – Do both brands agree to be present on the Collab? Both brands should be active in commenting and responding to comments on the post. If one or the other brand doesn’t help activate the post, is it really even a Collab?


Untapped potential

With organic reach shrinking almost daily and media publishers constantly diversifying their audience with new accounts, we predict you’ll soon see more major brands using their large following with likeminded influencers and partners to build and increase their reach whenever possible. Don’t assume your post is going to do well just because you have a larger audience, but for brands who consider all of the advice mentioned above, Collabs offer truly untapped potential for brands who approach them creatively and in the true spirit of collaboration.

Looking to measure the success and analytics of your Instagram collabs? Demo Conviva Social Insights today to see how you can increase your engagements, save time, and drive revenue using your social channels.