The influencer space is still rather “new.” By that I mean there’s no clear cut way to navigate it.
With a major influx people trying to be the next big influencer, brands are seizing their opportunities to take advantage. As someone who has been in this game for 4 years on Instagram and 5 years with my blog, I’ve come to see and learn a ton.
A huge theme I’m starting to see is that brands no longer want to pay. With so many influencers dying to do collabs, brands have used the product-for-post method. What that means is companies will offer free products in exchange for social posts via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and/or Pinterest. This is all fine and well for people just starting out with a few thousand followers – I did it also. The product gets some PR and the influencer begins to create a relationship with the brand. Harmless right?
Over the last 6 months I’ve seen big brands offer me or girls I know products for a post. Let me be clear: they are not sending us these products for IG stories, the deal includes in-feed posts. My personal favorite is when I get an email offering 80% off of a product if I post to my feed! So in other words, not only are brands out here trying to get free work, they are also trying to get us to PAY to advertise for them! That seriously makes my head explode. Surely no one would be that desperate to do that? Wrong again.
Making an income as an influencer is hard enough and now our rates are not just being cut in half, but being paid is becoming against the norm. It HURTS my brain (and my heart) because marketing/advertising is a part of every business’ budget. It’s simple Business 101.
Let me say it again for the people in the back: brands.have.the.budget.to.pay.you. Third party companies (and I won’t name names) offer me $40 for an in-feed post as if I should be so thankful for the opportunity. And they get away with this behavior because for every “no,” they are receiving 12 people who will say “yes, please undervalue me.”
If you’re an influencer, please know you’re worth and have value for your time. Curating content takes a lot of creative work, and you should be compensated for it. Figure out how many hours creating x amount of photos will take you and do the math of what you would like to be paid per hour. If you need help determining your rate, Social Blue Book is a great tool.
I understand taking the hit sometimes for a dream brand or for a huge company that would look great on your one sheet. I did that with one major internet brand, but the benefits outweighed the rate in the end.
A couple questions I always get asked:
- Is it appropriate to be paid $100 for 3 in-feed posts and IG stories? If you have over 10,000 REAL and engaged followers, no it’s not.
- What’s the best way to determine my rate? It really depends on a variety of things, but I like the general $100 per 10,000 followers per post. IG stories and more than 1 post excluded. If you have a high engagement rate, don’t post every day, and/or have had success in driving traffic, you can increase the price.
- Is it wrong to negotiate with a brand? NO! I was recently super low-balled by a huge company and what they were asking for was going to take a ton of work so I was polite, honest, and came back with my normal rate. We went back and forth until finally, I gave them a price and told them if this didn’t work for them, we can always try again another time. Guess what? They took it. KNOW.YOUR.WORTH.
Standing your ground and knowing your worth is both beneficial for YOU and other people in the influencer space. Many of us are not okay with doing $50/post because we don’t have Instagram boyfriends who can quickly just snap a picture. I understand we all gotta eat, but let’s try to stick together so we can all eat well and not fast food.
The more we stand together and demand companies to pay our rates, the more they will have no choice but to actually do it. Point blank. The only reason why they aren’t right now is because there are people who are willing to do free (or close to free) work.
See ya’ll at the bank!