With all of the influencer advice we’ve given at Boost Society, some of the most common questions we get are about pricing yourself as an influencer. How much should I charge a brand? How to I charge brands? When is the right time or situation to charge brands?
If you are just starting out as an influencer, you have probably thought, “I really want to make some money at this” or “could I even make money from this?” This eventually leads you to ask yourself, “Should I be getting paid for this and when?”
In this post, we are diving into the concept of charging for a collaboration including when is the right time to charge and how to go about doing it.
WHEN TO START CHARGING BRANDS
Deciding when it is the right time to start charging brands depends on a lot of factors. There will be a lot of trial and error until you feel like you have hit a right fit.
Start out by doing a little bit of research into other influencers who have about the same size audience in your niche. See if those with about the same size following with similar engagement and analytics are getting paid for partnerships. Look over their profile for sponsored posts and even reach out to them to start a relationship.
While some people want to be secretive about their brand deals, hopefully there are more and more people who are open to helping and having an open dialogue about charging brands. This helps all involved as many of the discrepancies in pay happen because there are no set amounts. Being able to bounce rates off of a few others in your niche helps you know if you are underselling yourself.
As your skills and audience grow, you will start seeing more value in yourself and in your following. When you are pitching the right brands, they will also see the value in you. Don’t be afraid to try to convert gifting partnerships into paid partnerships.
HOW MUCH TO CHARGE BRANDS
The million dollar questions (pun intended) are how much is my content worth and what can I charge? Always start by asking a brand up front, “Do you have a budget for this partnership?” Some may say yes, others may say no, and many will ask you for your rates.
The rule of thumb for rates for Instagram is to take 1% of your following and charge that rate in US dollars. For example, if someone has 10K followers, they should start around $100 USD for an Instagram post. Someone with 300K followers would charge around $3,000 USD per Instagram post.
There is a lot to take into consideration and other factors will play a significant role in the amount you charge and the amount someone is willing to pay. These factors include but are not limited to: your location, your engagement rate, and the niche you are in (food, travel, fashion, etc.).
For example, if you are based in Europe and someone else with the same number of followers is based in the US, they can usually charge more because the US has a lot more spending power when it comes to marketing compared to other countries. There are also some brands who only want to work with influencers who are based in the US. This unfortunately causes less opportunities for those of you who live outside of the US.
Rates for Instagram stories are highly depending on your views. If you are getting between 4K and 10K views, you could charge around $500 USD per story for a 3-frame story. Having stats like your average number of swipe-ups are really great to share with a brand as well to prove how engaged your audience is.
While 1% of your following is the often quoted going rate, that rate is highly dependent on opportunities and can change every time. Some influencers will do partnerships for less, especially if there is an opportunity to work long term with a brand or to get a bigger package deal. Others charge more for a big project, a big brand, usage rights, exclusivity and more (find the red flags to look for in an influencer contract here).
This is when having a manager to help navigate and negotiate the business side of the industry can be helpful. Agencies like Boost Society take over the time consuming part of the negotiations by calculating rates and pitching you accordingly based on our industry knowledge.
You can learn more about working with managers in this episode of Her Life by Design by Christina Galbato where we talked about how to know when it is time to hire a manager. If you think it is time to start working with a manager, you can always reach out to us here.
HOW TO MAINTAIN BRAND PARTNERSHIPS & BUILD RELATIONSHIPS
One of the biggest keys to success, especially when starting out, is relationship building. It is important to show that brand, PR agency or partner why you are so amazing and why they should keep working with you.
Go above and beyond no matter if you have 10K or 500K followers. Show the brand that you really do love their product and are able to authentically, organically and naturally share it with your audience before and after your #ad (paid) campaign.
We have had creators on our roster go above and beyond for a brand who then got a 6-month extension on the partnership. We are now discussing taking that partnership to a full year ambassadorship because the brand truly loves working with this creator and the way the creator appreciates the brand.
TIPS TO EXTEND A BRAND PARTNERSHIP
Here are tips for moving through a partnership in a way that is likely to extend the partnership and bring you additional paid work:
ON PRODUCT ARRIVAL
When the product arrives (if you do not already own it), share a little story with your audience. Let them know that the product just arrived in the mail and that you can’t wait to try it or try it on. This starts to peak their interest before the actual paid campaign begins and makes it feel more authentic when you post about it later.
Now you have shown off the brand’s product and tagged them without being paid (if you are being paid for the partnership). They will appreciate that.
ON CAMPAIGN DAY
On the set day for your post, share your approved content and refer back to that first story or set of stories. Remind your audience that you told them a few weeks ago about receiving the product and that you’ve found that you love it. This now drives more engagement with your audience who already saw you mention it and were interested to see it in action and hear your thoughts on it.
The brand also appreciates this type of caption that goes more in depth and shows more authenticity instead of just a one-off post that doesn’t tie into anything else you’ve posted. It also helps remind the brand that you talked about the product when it arrived without being paid for it.
FOLLOW-UP AFTER THE POST
About 2 weeks to 2 months after #ad day, you should post again either about the brand in general or about that specific product again. For example, if it is for a shampoo and you are still using it a month later and love it, share again on your stories or in a post about how much you love it. Tag the brand in this follow-up story or post.
This brings the product up again to your audience and solidifies that you are really using the product. That shows the campaign is authentic and organic to you as an influencer. Not only that, but now the brand also sees your post/stories again and realizes you’ve become more of a brand ambassador than just an influencer for a one-off partnership. This could potentially make them want to work with you again.
These three steps make you a true influencer who is sharing a brand over multiple occasions because you love it and believe in their products. Who wouldn’t want to work with someone like that?
FOLLOW UP WITH THE BRAND
Going back in time a little bit, about 3 – 5 days after you’ve posted your #ad content, send a final wrap up email. This is one of the best ways to show a brand how much you appreciate working with them. This could be a report you put together or just stats and screenshots. Some brands and PR agencies will ask for stats, but give them even more.
What do you include in a final wrap up email? Here are some tips:
- A BIG THANK YOU for the opportunity. Also tell them how great it was to be a part of the campaign and to work with such an epic brand/service.
- Screenshots of your story and post stats for your PRE #AD CONTENT & your #AD CONTENT. Make sure you label the pre-content so they are aware you did that, and mention it in your email in case they missed the content/tag.
- Screenshots of DMs and comments from people asking about the product or for more information.
- Tell them what you loved about it, how you felt it performed and ideas you have for future partnerships. This tells them you are already thinking about the future and shows them how much you care about how your content performs for them. Be honest and true to yourself. They will love that!
- Give them LIGHT (not super harsh) feedback, if there is any. Sometimes partnerships go perfect, but try to give feedback about the whole partnership process. This could be as simple as just “a little more clarity from the beginning” or “next time, a bit more creative freedom would really allow me to showcase the brand in my best way possible”. Just don’t be too harsh, especially if you hope to work with them again.
Even after your 2 week to 2 months content has gone live, you could send another report just reminding the brand that you still love them and that you are still getting great buzz around their brand/products. This can be a key part in locking down another big partnership with them as you are making yourself fresh in their mind.
IMPORTANT REMINDER ABOUT PAID INFLUENCER PARTNERSHIPS
As a side note but a very important reminder for those of you considering leaving a job or who have already left a job, having consistent paid brand partnerships takes time. It becomes a necessity when you don’t have other forms of income. This is why it is so important for influencers to diversify their income.
You’ve left a job with consistent pay (or are considering it), so you’ll need to have income to pay your bills. Yes, Instagram makes it look like it is easy, but there is a lot of time and effort that goes into it (get the real scoop here).
I’ve had countless conversations with influencers, and my recommendation is always to find a way to have a side hustle for your hustle. Find something you can make decent money at that allows you to continue being a creator while you grow. This makes it so that the financial burden is not your focus in brand partnerships and allows you to only work with brands you love.
Spend your time creating and developing engaging and valuable content and the money will come. It is a process, so if you cannot stay at your 9 – 5 or have already left, find a side gig that you can spend a little time each day or week doing to help pay the bills at least for now.
In the end, there are a lot of factors that come into play when deciding when is the right time to start charging for partnerships and how much to charge. Try to take some of these tips and start using them for future partnerships.
Let me know in the comments how you handle charging for partnerships, or if you haven’t, what you are going to try moving forward to build on your brand partnerships and relationships. You can also subscribe below to get our free list of 12 things to include in a pitch email to start going after those brand partnerships.
Subscribe to get your FREE “12 things to include in a pitch email” PDF & to get more tips and tricks from Boost Society!
For more Influencer tips, check out these posts:
- How to Work with Brands and PR Agencies
- How Influencers Really Make Money
- What a Good Brand Collaboration Looks Like
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