An Instagram exec shares strategies for brands and influencers



  • Kristie Dash is the fashion and beauty strategic partnerships manager at Instagram, where she works to promote new features like Reels with influencers and brands.
  • Dash discussed how Instagram responded to early criticism of Reels, how influencers and brands can make the most of Instagram’s features, and how it’s working to help creators make money on the platform.
  • Subscribe to Business Insider’s influencer newsletter: Insider Influencers.

Don’t call Reels a TikTok ripoff.

When Instagram launched its 15-second video feature in August, The New York Times called it a “dud.” Some TikTokkers dismissed it as a copycat.

But Kristie Dash, Instagram’s fashion and beauty strategic partnerships manager, had long been encouraging influencers and brands to experiment with short-form video. 

“It really is the short, snackable [videos], these visual moving moments, that could be…five-to-10 seconds long filmed on your phone. It’s that type of video that’s really performing,” she told Vogue in November 2019. 

Creators have now amassed millions of views on their Reels videos and some have even gained followers because of it. Instagram also listened to the initial criticisms from creators, expanding the time frame from 15-seconds to 30-seconds and adding new editing tools in September, Dash told Business Insider.

Part of Dash’s job is to sell Reels and other Instagram features to brands and influencers and give their feedback to Instagram’s product developers.

A former fashion and beauty journalist, Dash had stints at Condé Nast’s Teen Vogue and now-defunct Lucky magazines under Eva Chen. She’s working under Chen again, who’s now Instagram’s director of fashion partnerships.

“It was our job to tell people’s stories in the pages of a magazine, where on Instagram, we’re essentially taking that skillset and passing it on to the creators and brands that we work with,” Dash said. 

Dash guides brands and influencers seeking to monetize on Instagram

While Dash still gets a lot of questions from users about how to get more followers, she’s especially focused on how to help brands and influencers seeking to make money on the platform. While brands are still mastering short-form video marketing, creators have already shown that Instagram is where the brand partnerships are — especially in fashion and beauty.

Dash tells creators and brands that the two areas they most need to master are Instagram’s video features like Reels, IGTV, and Instagram Live; and shopping features Instagram Checkout, Live Shopping, and Shopping for Creators.

Creators and brands should be quick to try new features and include features like polls that can get audience reaction and feedback, she said.

She said it’s too early to know what formats work best, but Instagram has found tutorial-style “infotainment” videos lend themselves to product placement and brand partnerships.

When it comes to working with creators, she tells brands that Reels is great for bright, colorful products like cosmetics that can be shown quickly in a short-form video, while Instagram Live is better for storytelling.

Live is also becoming a growing place for e-commerce with its new Live Shopping feature, where influencers can tag a shoppable product in a livestream and link to Instagram’s e-commerce Checkout program.

Instagram is ‘slowly, but surely’ finding ways for creators to monetize

While Instagram is known for its influencer pages filled with product photos, monetization has been slow to come to the app.

Instagram influencers make most of their income through brand partnerships on the app, whether in the form of paid posts, sponsored takeovers, or brand ambassadorships. But other social media programs let influencers monetize their audiences with ads or creator funds. 

Instagram is testing 15-second video ads on IGTV where creators will get 55% of the revenue, akin to Google’s YouTube model. It’s also testing badges, where followers can tip creators on Instagram Live.

These monetization features are still being tested, and Dash wouldn’t say when they would be available to creators broadly.

“We’re finding more ways for creators, slowly, but surely, to fully make a living on Instagram,” she said.

To read more about the influencer industry and Instagram, read these Business Insider stories:

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