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What Is Influencer Whitelisting? Pros, Cons & Expert Tips

Want to understand influencer whitelisting and learn how to use it like a pro? This post has you covered! Learn why you should be using this underrated marketing tactic to get in front of a bigger, more targeted audience. 🎯

Sarah Wisbey
May 8, 2024
8 min. read
Article Content
What is whitelisting in social media?
Why is influencer whitelisting useful?
What does a whitelisted social media post look like? 
Different types of influencer whitelisting
For Brands: Why should you use influencer whitelisting?
For creators: Why should you use influencer whitelisting?
How do you access an influencer's Facebook or Instagram profile for whitelisting?
How to get access to an influencer's TikTok profile for whitelisting
THE Easiest way to get access to influencers' accounts for whitelisting

With 71% of consumers saying they prefer seeing personalized ads to generic branded ads, it's never been more important to tailor your ads for your audience. An effective way to do this is with influencer whitelisting. 

In this post, you'll learn everything you need to know about what is whitelisting in influencer marketing and how to use it effectively.

We'll show you the different types of influencer whitelisting, some influencer whitelisting examples and lay out the pros and cons of whitelisting for both brands and influencers.   

Let's dive in.

Prefer a video? Here you go!

What is whitelisting in social media?

Influencer whitelisting is when an influencer gives a brand access and permissions to use their social media profiles to share sponsored content. If you are an influencer and whitelist a brand, you grant the brand access to your Facebook profile, Instagram handle, TikTok account or other social media handles. The brand then has direct access to your audience and can advertise to them directly via your account. They may choose to boost existing content or share new content as a "dark post".

Why is influencer whitelisting useful?

Influencer whitelisting makes the user experience more seamless because the influencer can still share authentic content that will resonate with their audience.

At the same time, the brand gets access to a new audience, maintains control over who the sees the posts and can easily access campaign metrics without relying on the influencer to report them.

What does a whitelisted social media post look like? 

The goal of a whitelisted post is not to look like an ad, it will blend in as much as possible with the influencer's existing content.

So, what's an example of whitelisting

A whitelisted Instagram post may look something like this:

influencer whitelisting example

In this Instagram post, the influencer explains how the product benefits her daily life and why she uses it. The post is marked as an ad but is much more subtle than a brand shouting at you directly about how great their product is from their brand's main Instagram account.

As a user, instead of seeing a paid ad directly from the brand popping up in your feed, you'll see someone you chose to follow sharing a product they think you may be interested in, using the content style you're used to seeing from them.

The sponsored content blends in seamlessly with the organic content which is the ultimate goal of whitelisting.

It's almost impossible to tell whether the influencer is managing the post themselves or if they've given permissions to a brand to take care of it for them.

Different types of influencer whitelisting

There isn't one single way to run an influencer whitelisting campaign on Meta platforms, TikTok or YouTube. Let's take a look at the most common ways to whitelist an influencer with examples from Instagram:

TLDR: There are 4 main types of influencer whitelisting: Boosting branded content, Partnership Ads, Darkposting, Allowlisting.

1. Boosting branded content

This is when the influencer creates authentic content that tags the brand they're working with. The brand then gets access to the influencer's account to boost the post so a wider audience sees it.

What does branded influencer whitelisted content look like? 

Let's take a look at a whitelisted Instagram post, it may appear like this on the user's timeline: 

influencer whitelisting example

As you can see, the brand is tagged and it's marked as an ad, but you have no way to know whether it's the influencer of the brand who's managing the post.

Why is boosting branded content an easy way to whitelist influencers? 

The content is authentic as it's made by the creator themselves and is a quick and easy way to get branded content seen by more of the influencer's audience.

The brand doesn't have to create anything, they just need access to the influencer's account which they can easily get using a tool like Leadsie. It's a scalable way to get the content in front of a large audience and can be done for multiple creators at once.

What are the drawbacks of boosting branded content?

When you boost branded posts, you get content access but not access to the influencer's full account or access to lookalike audiences. The content's reach has a limit because you can only boost the post to the creator's existing audience.

2. Partnership ads

With traditional influencer marketing, the creator is in control of running the paid partnership or posting sponsored content for brands on their Facebook and Instagram or TikTok profile, YouTube channel, Pinterest, Twitter etc.

When influencers post content they've been paid for, or a product they received for free, they have to declare the partnership or use the #ad #sponsored or #gifted hashtags. 

Some countries require by law that paid social media posts are declared. You can learn more about Facebook and Instagram's branded content policies here.

With traditional sponsored influencer content, typically you'll notice at the top of the post, the influencers tags the partnership, like this:

Partnership ad example

It isn't possible to tell if the above post is whitelisted or not, but if the influencer has complete control over the audience who sees this post, and the metrics of the post's performance, this ISN'T whitelisting.

Why? Because with these types of influencer ads, the brand has zero visibility over the campaign metrics and fully rely on the influencer's reporting to understand performance and their return on investment in the partnership.

However, if the brand wants to whitelist the post, they can get access to the creator's account which will grant them control over who sees the post or create new ad variations using the influencer's handle and content. They can then experiment with different text, imagery and CTAs to see what resonates best with consumers.

What are the benefits of whitelisting partnership ads? 

When you whitelist partnership ads, the brand has more creative flexibility and more autonomy over the type of content posted.

With access to the influencer's audience, the brand has more control over who sees the content, where the ad budget is spent and can use the audience data to create lookalike audiences for future campaigns.

Is it easy to get access to an influencer's audience to run partnership ads?

You can get access to an influencer's Facebook and Instagram audience via Meta Business Portfolio, you'll need to be added as a partner to the influencer's account via Meta Ads Manager: 

Facebook page sa

If that sounds too complicated, you can share one Leadsie link and the influencer can grant you instant secure access to their account.

What are the drawbacks of whitelisting partnership ads? 

With Meta partnership ads, there may be some limitations to the audience access you get as a partner if the influencer puts restrictions on it.

3. Dark posting

Another way to whitelist influencers is with dark posting. This gives a brand more scope for experimentation and testing different ad variations.

What are influencer dark posts?

When you create a dark post, it means you run a sponsored ad, but the post doesn't show up on the influencer's feed, only on the news feed of people specifically targeted. 

Why should you use dark posts when influencer whitelisting?

Creating dark posts is part of an effective whitelisting strategy because:

  • The brand can use their access to the influencer's audience to target the most relevant people.
  • All the influencer's followers won't see the post, they will only see it if they're in the target audience segment. 
  • The brand can A/B test different ad variations without filling up the influencer's feed with different ads selling the same product.
  • They can use the influencer audience data to target different versions of the post to different audiences, 
  • They can experiment with calls to action and creatives to understand what gets the most engagement.

Dark posts are an excellent way for brands to use an influencer's credibility without relying on organic feed posts (which is what they normally do with non whitelisted paid partnerships or boosted content). 

Organic content only ever reaches the feed of about 5.5% of someone's followers. Putting money behind dark posts guarantees more people will see them and more return on the investment on the ad spend.

What is a dark post example?

Check out the below sponsored dark post—a post shared on the Instagram main feed under the influencer's user name (check out those view numbers): 

Example of influencer whitelisting post

This is a sponsored post for a tablet brand which is being advertised under the influencer's Instagram handle. It only appears on the Instagram user's timeline and not on the influencer's profile :

Whitelisted influencer profile

4. Allowlisting

When learning about whitelisting, you may hear the expression "allowlisting". This is simply another term used to reference brands whitelisting an influencer's social media accounts.

While some of the options mentioned above don't allow full control over the creator's social media accounts, when a creator allowlists someone, they hand over full permissions to them. This allows the brand full access to upload and edit content, view and advertise to the audience, see ad account metrics and respond to followers under the username if the creator doesn't restrict it.

Brands get this type of access through the relevant platform's Business Manager, Business Center or in the case of Meta, through Business Portfolio. The influencer needs to grant you full partner permissions for this.

Is it whitelisting if an influencer creates content for sponsored ads on your brand account? 

If you ask an influencer to create content for your brand's sponsored posts, this isn't whitelisting.

Here's an example of a brand using influencer generated content (IGC) for their sponsored Instagram post:


If the brand posts influencer generated content to their own profile, they have zero visibility on the influencer's audience or lookalike audiences which defeats the whole point of whitelisting content! The point being to get access to new audiences and broaden your reach.

When you whitelist content, you want access to a larger audience via the influencer. 

In the above example, only Almond Cow's existing and selected audience will see the post and maybe a few people from the influencer's audience if she shares it to her profile too.

For Brands: Why should you use influencer whitelisting?

TLDR: Get more exposure and better ROI on your ad spend.

88% of consumers say they have made a purchase based on an influencer's recommendation. 

More than 60% of social media users engage with sponsored posts. Don't underestimate influencers' power to persuade their audience into buying something. 

With 62% of social media users saying that they trust social media influencers more than celebrities, micro and nano influencers (influencers with a following up to 50k) have become the voice of authority among social media users with purchasing power.  

Brands can use influencer whitelisting for three primary purposes:

  • To get in front of wider, custom audiences
  • To A/B test different post types and use lookalike audiences
  • Scale their influencer ads with full access to metrics

Pros and cons of influencer whitelisting campaigns for a brand

Influencer whitelisting is one of the best ways for brands to maximise their ROI on ad spend and scale influencer marketing campaigns. 

When you work with the right influencers you can amplify your brand voice and get far more engagement and conversions than you would with a sponsored brand post. 

Pros of influencer whitelisting

  • You can reach potential new customers and advertise directly to an influencer's audience 
  • It can reduce CPA (cost per action) by 20-40% (according to Evan from Your Glow Up Agency)
  • People trust posts from influencer handles more than from brand handles 
whitelisted Instagram post example
  • You can easily measure and calculate ROI using Facebook Business Portfolio/Meta Business Suite/TikTok Business Center (it's tough to track ROI with non whitelisted paid partnership posts)
  • Get full funnel visibility 
  • You can create new lookalike audiences for future advertising based on the data from the influencer account
  • Whitelisted content has a much longer lifespan than sponsored content that appears on an influencer's organic feed
  • You can continuously A/B test whitelisted content (make tweaks to CTAs, change the copy, images or even target an entirely new audience)
  • Increase engagement on your sponsored content and your ad spend ROI 

Cons of influencer whitelisting

  • Influencers may not be reliable partners and can stop your ads at any point
  • Coming to a mutual agreement about content to post can be tedious 
  • Approval flows, and access requirements can make the process more complicated than running sponsored ads from your brand account
  • Influencers tend to charge more for whitelisting than they do for generic #sponcon

Expert tips: Influencer whitelisting best practices

We spoke to whitelisting pro Evan from Your Glow Up Agency, he shared his expert tips for running a successful influencer whitelisting campaign:

  • Find an influencer that is a great fit for your brand — you can't just use any random creator. There needs to be a good synergy between the creator and the brand for the ad to resonate with the audience and ultimately influence them
  • The creator needs to be properly incentivised because it's their profile and data you're getting access to
  • Don't run heavily branded ads, you want the content to look organic or UGC style, ads that are too heavily produced don't work so well

Common mistakes for brands to avoid when running an influencer whitelisting campaign

Getting access to the creator's account can be a huge sticking point.

Facebook Business Portfolio or TikTok Business Center don't make the process the simplest. Skip to this section to find out the easiest way to get whitelisting access.

You need make sure you always properly incentivise the creator as this creates trust between both parties from the get go.

The creator trusts you to take over their account, and share the ads you want to run. Paying them fairly for full account access and their audience data is an important part of a successful influencer whitelisting relationship. Thanks Evan for the tip! 

How much does it cost to whitelist an influencer?

The amount the influencer charges the brand for whitelisting content depends on the number of followers they have.

As a general rule, the more followers, the higher their price.

You can figure out a fair price to pay the influencer based on the cost per impression or cost per action. How many times do you want your ad to be shown to the influencer's audience? 

Based on the audience size, you could do a calculation like this: 

(Cost per action / 1000) x number of followers

So if someone has 100,000 followers and the cost per action (view, click, engagement) is $10, you would need to pay $1,000 to reach everyone in the audience at least once.

Multiple this number by the minimum number of times you want each audience member to see your ad and you have your budget for whitelisting influencers.

Influencer whitelisting budget example

Let's use the example from @freya.arts above. She has 228k followers:

whitelisting budget example

Say the cost per impression is $10, which would make the calculation: 

(10/1000) x 228,000 = $2,280

If you want everyone in her audience to see the ad once, you'd need to pay $2,280, if you want the whole audience to see it at least 3 times, it will cost $6,840.

So far, the whitelisted ad was shown 72,519 times which means $725.19 of the budget.

For creators: Why should you use influencer whitelisting?

TLDR: It's another revenue channel and you can use a brand's ad spend to get in front of more people.

If you're a creator or influencer, there are many pros to allowing a brand to whitelist your profile, as well as a few cons, let's take a look:

Pros of whitelisting for an influencer

  • You can capitalise on a brand's ad spend to capture a wider audience
  • The brand will advertise to your audience AND their audience, which means your profile will be put in front of more people
  • You’ll experience growth in followers and page/profile likes 
  • It's another revenue channel for you — you can charge a flat fee or percentage per post
  • You don’t have to do anything except create the content — the brand does all the work (creating, running and optimising the ads)  

Cons of whitelisting for an influencer 

  • If you allow a brand to take control of your advertising, you lose some control over what's shared under your handle
  • You share your audience you've spent a long time building (and getting trust from) with the brand 

Tips for influencers working with brands for whitelisting

As an influencer, be aware of a few things before you let a brand loose with your social media accounts!

Use these tips to avoid any whitelisting mistakes

  • Get clear outlines of the type of content the brand wants to share
  • Create a contract before giving the brand ad permissions
  • Provide brand guidelines for your account (tone of voice, visual guidelines)
  • Set up clear rules in advance so they don't violate your community guidelines
  • Put approval flows in place, so posts can only go live if you're happy  

How much should an influencer charge for whitelisting? 

You may decide to charge by post or by number of impressions.

Consider how much you charge for a standard paid post, probably somewhere between $500 -$5,000 depending on your follower count and average engagement metrics for sponsored content.

Remember, the brand will pay for your sponsored post to reach a wider audience, so you don't have to promote it yourself. A win-win! You get a wider reach and get paid to create the content of the ad.

If you want to base your fee on impressions or clicks, calculate how many people you estimate your post will reach and charge $5-$10 per impression/click/signup.

How do I set up an influencer whitelist on Facebook and Instagram?

TLDR: Use Leadsie

In order to create whitelisted posts on Facebook and Instagram, a brand needs access to the influencer's Facebook Business Manager or Meta Business Suite (now called Business Portfolio).

First, you need to make sure the influencer's Facebook and Instagram accounts are linked

Before the brand can start pushing out ads under the influencer's handle, the influencer needs to grant advertising permissions for Facebook and Instagram. Via Facebook, this can be a highly complex process, especially if the influencer isn't well versed with Meta Business Manager (now called Business Portfolio). 

You can learn the step-by-step process to request access to Facebook and Instagram ads in this postBut the simplest and quickest way is with Leadsie.

How can brands get access to an influencer's TikTok profile for whitelisting?

For TikTok, getting access to influencer profiles for whitelisting is a little easier. Creators can provide whitelisting access to brands directly from the TikTok app.

They need to ensure the post is authorised for promotion and then need to provide the brand with an authorisation code. 

On TikTok, brands can put money behind influencers' content, and it won't even seem like an ad. Sponsored content that appears organic performs exceptionally well on TikTok. 

How do you access an influencer's Facebook or Instagram profile for whitelisting? THE easiest way....

Luckily for you, Leadsie has made it easier than ever for influencers to give whitelisting rights to brands. 

If you're a brand or agency, you can use your Leadsie account to generate an access request link.

You send the link to the influencer; they sign into their Meta Business Portfolio (Business Manager account) and choose which assets they want to give you access to. 

Want to simplify getting access to influencer accounts and start influencer whitelisting asap? Get your free Leadsie 14-day trial by entering your email in the box below.

It's as simple as that! With Leadsie, you get access to the influencer's account in no more than 2 clicks:

Whitelisting with Leadsie
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Sarah Wisbey

Sarah is a pro at writing articles that accelerate SaaS businesses' organic growth. When she’s not caught up in the thrill of content writing, you’ll find her surfing in the Atlantic Ocean and running her own yoga retreats.