Not long ago, you had to be a celebrity to become an influencer. Today, nearly anyone can position themselves as an influencer and build a successful small business. A report from Shopify shows that brands aren’t as interested in celebrity or mega influencers — they want nano (1,000-5,000 followers) or micro (5,000-20,000 followers) influencers. The tricky question is: How do you bill for your services, and what rates do you charge? Read on to learn more.
Choosing Your Influencer Platforms
Influencer marketing primarily happens on social media, so you’ll want to build your own robust following on the most prevalent platform in your industry or niche.
Once you’ve built a following, you can approach brands on your own, or you can use a platform designed specifically to match influencers with advertisers, including these popular choices:
- Shopify Collabs: Formerly Dovetale, this platform connects influencers with compatible brands by allowing both parties to outline the types of products/services they’d like to promote.
- Aspire: This platform matches influencers with merchants using AI analytics gathered from social media profiles and performance.
- Collabstr: Create a profile on Collabstr and share your personal link in your bios. Brands that come across your profile can easily contact you with collaboration proposals.
Remember that there may be costs associated with using these platforms, so perform thorough research before setting your rates.
How to Set Rates as an Influencer
Influencer rates vary widely and typically depend on four critical metrics:
- Type of influencer (following): This is determined by the size of your following. You may be a nano (1,000-5,000), micro (5,000-20,000), mid-range (20,000-100,000), mega (100,000-1 million), or celebrity (1 million+) influencer.
- Chosen platform: Instagram and YouTube tend to pay the highest rates per post, but this can also vary depending on the following metric…
- Content type: Video tends to pay the highest, with traditional posts falling somewhere in the middle, and Stories generally paying the least.
- Engagement: Any brand will be looking at your profile’s performance. They want to see an audience that engages with you, enjoys your content, and shares it with their own networks.
Overall, nano influencers can expect to make around $30 for a Facebook post, but as much as $300 for a sponsored YouTube video. At each level, influencers grow their earning potential per post, with micro-influencers commanding nearly $1,000 for a YouTube video and mid-range influencers getting $500 or more for every standard Instagram post.
Tips for Working With Brands
When you’re ready to launch your influencer business, you’ll need to be prepared to form relationships with brands. Here’s how to do it:
Curate and Promote Your Following
Most brands prefer to work with micro-influencers over any other type. This means you may want to keep your following relatively small (less than 20,000) to maintain the broadest appeal. Micro-influencers are high earners because of their popularity with brands. Just be sure the brands you collaborate with offer a product or service that’s appealing to your audience. Most platforms, like Instagram, will give audience insights into who your followers are to help you determine the best brands to partner with.
Put Your Best Foot (or Face or Fashion) Forward
Whatever type of influencer you are, or whatever your industry, you’re going to be in a pretty competitive field. Make sure you stand out from the crowd of wannabe influencers. Brands will certainly look at your performance metrics, but they’ll also look at your personality. Make sure your profiles are clean, and appealing, and echo a similar feel to your prospective brands.
Be Ready to Negotiate
The rates we mentioned above are certainly not set in stone. While the platforms that match influencers and brands will help with pricing and payment, there’s nearly always room for negotiation. Here are some of the considerations you’ll need to make before hitting the bargaining table:
- Paid vs. unpaid: Are you willing to accept unpaid work? This is always a possibility with free products or services from a brand. Just remember that you’ll still need to track the value of any items received for tax purposes.
- Usage: Make sure you ask where and how often a brand plans to use your content. If it’s a one-time Instagram post, the rate you negotiate will be different than a post they plan to repurpose multiple times across multiple platforms.
- Exclusivity: Does working with a certain brand prohibit you from working with another? Get their policies in writing before you agree to anything.
- Rights: Will you retain all rights to your content? If you sign rights over to the brand, will they be willing to pay more? These are questions you need to ask upfront.
Build an Influencer Media Kit
Creating an influencer media kit is one of the best things you can do to grow your business. Your media kit will allow you to easily share both your personality and your key metrics, like follower count, engagement rate, audience demographics, and much more.
Think of your influencer media kit as your digital business card. It should tell brands who you are, what you do, and why you’re a great match for collaboration. In your media kit, you’ll want to include your:
- Top-performing content
- Bio and current influencer stats
- List of brands you’ve partnered with
- Pricing structure (rates and tiers for platforms and content type)
- Services offered
It can be overwhelming to build your kit from scratch. Instead, use an influencer media kit template to simplify the process.
Bottom Line: Set Yourself Up for Influencer Success
The last tip to help you build a thriving business as an influencer is: Treat it as an actual business. It’s not a hobby or a social experiment — it’s your job. The best way to do this is to form a legal business entity, like an LLC. Not only does forming a legal entity make your influencer business legitimate in the eyes of potential brands, but it also protects your personal assets. This is the best way to maximize the impact of the rates you charge and develop a growing, thriving influencer business model.
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