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How to Use Instagram Collab Posts (+ Collab Ideas to Boost Engagement and Reach)

Here's a quick rundown of Instagram Collab posts and why you should be using this feature in your social media strategy.

Mar 20, 2024 7 min readSocial Media Marketing
Photo of Kirsti Lang
Kirsti Lang

Content Writer @ Buffer

Connecting with other brands and creators on Instagram is a brilliant way to grow on the platform — and doing so is a whole lot easier with Instagram Collab posts. 

With this feature, you can share content in collaboration with up to five other Instagram accounts. This means your content, whether an Instagram Reel, photo, or carousel, will be shared from all these accounts rather than just your own. 

There are plenty of occasions where sharing an Instagram Collab post can be more powerful than simply tagging another account, which we’ll unpack below. 

Here’s everything you need to know about how Instagram Collab posts work, how to create them, and some ideas to help you make the most of the powerful feature. 

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What is an Instagram Collab post?

Instagram Collabs are feed posts that can be co-authored and shared by multiple accounts on the social media site. The original author invites the other accounts to the Collab when posting. If the collaborators accept, the post will be shared on all feeds.

Collab posts are available for all feed posts — Reels, single images, or carousels — but not Instagram Stories.

Instagram collaboration posts go beyond just tagging or brand partnerships — the feed post or Reel will shared on the feeds of all the collaborators, no matter who originates the post.

Instagram introduced the popular feature in late 2021 for up to two accounts, updating it in 2023 to allow up to six accounts to collaborate on a post (the original poster plus five collaborators). Collab posts can only be created in the mobile app, not on the web version of Instagram.

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Curious about when to share your Instagram posts for maximum engagement? We analyzed millions of posts to uncover the best time to post on Instagram in this guide →

How do Instagram Collab posts work?

According to Instagram, a Collab post between two accounts means:

  • All account names will appear on the header of the post
  • The post will be shared with the followers of all collaborators
  • The post will live on all profile grids
  • The views, likes, and comments will be shared by all accounts

While all collaborators share the post and engagement, it’s worth noting that the original poster still ‘owns’ the post. So, if that person deletes the post or deactivates their account, the post will disappear from all Feeds. 

If the original poster switches their account to private, only their followers will be able to see the post. Conversely, it is possible to invite private accounts to collaborate, but they’ll still need to accept all new follow requests that come via the post. 

Below is an example of how Collab posts look on the Instagram feed. Buffer “and others” appear as creators of the Reel, and collaborator Kirstie Wang’s Instagram profiles appear when tapping on ‘other.’ Kirstie's handle would have appeared there if we’d only collaborated with one profile.

The Reel appears in all Feeds in the same way, even though it was shared through Buffer’s account first. 

The benefits of Instagram Collab posts

Instagram collaboration posts are a great way to present content on Instagram with people you’re working with, including other small businesses, brands, and content creators. They offer a powerful yet simple and efficient way to boost the reach of your content, which can lead to these benefits:

  • Increase exposure: Instead of posting content to your audience alone, a Collab post allows you to share content with your co-author’s followers. This means you’ll increase the number of eyes on your posts, which will help boost your overall brand awareness.
  • Gain more followers: Hello, increased discoverability! You’ll show up in more feeds through your Instagram collab feature. It’s a great way to introduce your content to new audiences — and an opportunity to grow on Instagram. These Collab posts can also be seen as an endorsement from the brand or creator that you co-author content with, encouraging their followers to follow your account as well.
  • Boost engagement: There’s a good chance that more people will interact and engage with your Collab posts because of the increased exposure — something the Instagram algorithm loves! This means these posts can bring in more likes, comments, and shares than a normal Instagram post that only gets seen by your followers.

How to create an Instagram Collab post

To create a Collab post with another account, you need to invite that account to be a collaborator. Once they accept the invitation, the post will be shared from their account as well as yours.

That said, the original author owns the post, and if they delete it, it will also be deleted from the collaborator’s account. The original author also has to have a public profile to create a Collab post.

  1. To begin, click the + sign to create a new post and upload your image or Reel. Fill out the caption, and add a location, hashtags, or any other features you want to use with this post.
  2. Tap on Tag people.
  1. Tap on Invite collaborator. (Be sure not to go with Add tag — the post won’t appear in the other account’s feed this way!)
  2. Search for the account and click on their profile. Repeat this step to add up to five other accounts to the post. Tap Done.
  3. When you’re ready, tap Share. Your collaborators will receive a notification inviting them to collaborate with you on the post. Your content will appear to come just from you until they accept. Once they’ve accepted the invitation, the post will live on their grids and feeds.

How to accept an Instagram Collab post invite

If you’re a brand partnering with a creator, it could be more authentic to let the creator share and own the content. If you’re partnering with another creator or influencer, it’s really up to you who originates the post — there’s no right or wrong way to collaborate on Instagram.

If you’ve been invited to collaborate on a post, you’ll receive a notification in the messaging or DM section of the app. Here’s how to accept the request:

  • Tap on the messages icon in the top right of the feed on your Instagram app.
  • Tap the conversation with your collab partner to see the request.
  • Tap the collaboration invitation.
  • Tap Review.
  • Tap Accept.

To reject a collab request, follow the process above and tap Decline

How are Instagram Collabs different from tagging?

Great question! Instagram Collabs are different from tags and mentions in that they will appear in your collaborator’s feed and be shared with their followers. A straightforward tag or mention won’t be shared beyond your own feed and following. 

Another important distinction is that tags and mentions don’t require whoever is tagged to “accept” the tag — the post will automatically be added to their profile. It won’t live on their main Instagram grid in the way a Collab post will, appearing only in the tagged feed (found by tapping the tag symbol to the right of their profile, next to the Reels view).

Also worth noting is that you can mention other accounts in your Instagram Stories. You can't add collaborators to your stories — Collab posts are only available for Instagram feed posts (photos, carousels, and Reels). 

Instagram Collab post ideas

Here are just a few ways small businesses and content creators are using Instagram Collab Posts.

1. Brand partnerships

Instagram Collab posts are perfect for two brands that are collaborating on special promotions and want to get the word out to both of their communities — a social media marketing tactic where the benefits go both ways. 

Here, sourdough bakery Rize Up Bakery shares a Valentine's Day collaboration with Charles Chocolates.

The Cosmic Latte, an astrology account, also did a Collab post with a jewelry brand, Sequin Jewelry. The partnership showcased the best accessories for each horoscope sign.

2. Working with influencers and content creators

It’s no surprise Instagram collaboration posts are a great influencer marketing tactic. Collab posts are ideal for when brands work with content creators or vice versa because they allow both parties to share the posts together, representing the strength of the partnership. 

Having both names featured at the top of the Instagram Reel or feed post is a weightier endorsement than a simple tag or mention.

Seattle Chocolate is a company that cares about sustainability, so when they highlighted eco-feminist, artist, and activist Burcu Koleli, they tagged her as a co-author. This made her profile more visible – a huge plus, considering she has a smaller following compared to Seattle Chocolate.

Similarly, Twisted Green – an account that shares vegan recipes – partnered with content creator Jake Dryan, aka Plant Future, and used Instagram Collab posts to share their joint Reel.

Influencers or content creators who are working together can use Instagram Collab posts as well, as Zach and Tee of ZachandTee did with Alyssa of Gaming_Foodie for their joint cooking Reel.

3. Giveaways

If you’re posting a giveaway alongside another brand or content creator, the Collab post is a good option to share the giveaway news.

Here, content creator Meghan Yuri Young shares her giveaway with the nonprofit Twentytwenty Arts.

4. Product launches

When launching a new product alongside another brand, announcing the news through an Instagram Collab post is the way to go.

The Pastry Project used a Collab post to announce their new baking kit in partnership with Kola Goodies.

Have you had success with a collab post? We’d love to add you to this list! Comment below or find us on Instagram. We hope this post gave you some inspiration and ideas to include Instagram Collab posts in your social media strategy!

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