Picture this. You’ve just connected with the perfect influencer for your brand — they have great engagement, consistently post authentic content, and match your brand’s aesthetic to a T. However, during the initial negotiation process, your collaboration falls through.
The truth is, if you’re not offering influencers enough incentive to work with your brand, there’s a good chance that they’ll reject the collaboration request. It won’t be worth their time to create X number of deliverables and post numerous times to their feed when they’re not being compensated fairly by a brand.
To avoid this mishap, we’ve outlined 4 tried-and-true ways to incentivize influencers to work with your brand. Keep reading to learn which reward model works best for you, depending on your budget and unique goals.
1. Free products
We know what you’re thinking: how can I fairly compensate influencers if my budget is limited?
While it’s true that most influencers prioritize paid campaigns over product-only campaigns, free products are still a good incentive, especially if you have high value products. Our 2021 survey found that 87% of influencers are willing to work with brands for free products, as long as the brand aligns with their personal brand or the product value is high.
If you have a high brand awareness, a high-value product (i.e a higher price point), and you're targeting nano (under 10k) or micro influencers (under 60k), then running a product only-campaign may work for you. To run a product-only campaign, it’s important to make sure your expectations of the influencer align with the value of the product you are giving. For example, ask them to create a couple of images without the need to post on their social media accounts, or ask them just to post once on their Instagram Stories.
Some brands will also use product seeding, which means you're sending influencers (of all sizes) your product with no expectations that they’ll post or create any content around your brand. If they do post organically, that’s a bonus. If not, it’s a great first touchpoint for them to try out your product and potentially work with your brand in the future.
Both are great strategies to find your true fans — and if they don’t perform well, it’s a good data point to indicate that your offer is currently not appealing enough so time to explore some more appealing incentives...keep reading.
2. One-off payments
In addition to free products, many brands will opt for one-off payments. These refer to the one-time monetary rewards that brands pay influencers each time they publish a sponsored feed post, Story, video, and the like.
But how much do you pay an influencer per sponsored post? And how does it differ per platform?
The answer to this question may not be as clear-cut as one would hope for. AspireIQ has observed that on average, sponsored posts have starting costs as listed below (these costs don’t include the price of the free products). The numbers shown below are average price per engagement, per platform.
The average price per post is based on the average number of engagements — such as likes and comments — rather than follower count. This is because engagement rate, as compared to reach or follower count, is typically a better indicator of the influencer’s audience quality and the influencer’s sway.
There are many factors that affect an influencer’s price. They include:
- Campaign requirements: If your brand has strict content guidelines or posting requirements that are not standard, expect to pay more per collaboration. For example, social amplification, multiple posts, and exclusivity clauses are contract terms that will usually require small additional fees.
- Celebrity status: Celebrities and influencers with over half a million followers charge premium rates that have no correlation to their engagement rate. Keep in mind that while macro-influencers are more expensive to work with, they do not necessarily produce higher engagement rates than high quality micro-influencers. The best value influencers (50k-150k followers) are more likely to drive traffic to your website, increase sales, and increase awareness of your brand.
- Quality of content: Contrary to popular belief, not all influencers shoot their branded content simply on their iPhone. Many creators take the time to use DSLR cameras, professional lighting, and top notch editing tools to create high quality content that is comparable to studio-shot content. Therefore, the price that influencers charge can be impacted by the quality of content that they create.
- The value of your product: The higher the value of the product(s) that you are offering, the more room you have to negotiate the influencer’s price.
To learn more about how much to pay an influencer, enroll in our free Influencer Academy. Pay specific attention to Lesson 7, where we dive deep into the average price per post and provide an influencer rate calculator.
3. Performance-based payments
Another way of compensating influencers is by implementing a performance-based payment model — similar to affiliate marketing. With performance-based payments, you can compensate influencers based on the conversions or engagements they create, and track it through a unique link or promo code specific to each influencer.
There are 2 ways of paying influencers based on their performance. Some brands pay influencers a flat fee for bringing in one lead or customer, while others offer recurring payments for every purchase that customer makes. While the latter has a higher chance of cutting into your profits, it may incentivize your influencers to continue to promote your products for the length of time their promotional discount lasts.
4. Equity or stock options
While this is a fairly new way that brands have been incentivizing influencers, some bigger companies have started giving its brand partners equity or stock options.
For instance, Poshmark has been offering its ambassadors a share in the company after going public earlier this year. Similarly, many brands are enlisting their celebrity partners as creative directors of the company and compensating them with equity.
This type of compensation model entails that the influencer isn’t just a spokesperson or the “face” of the brand anymore. They’re treated more like traditional investors and are expected to contribute to the brand’s goals, provide feedback on products, and have co-branded collaborations. In other words, they’re co-creating the actual brand itself.
It’s a smart move, because this kind of incentive encourages the brand partner to take responsibility for the growth and health of the business. This is especially true for influencers with a certain level of fame, as the reputation of the company they represent is a part of their public persona as well.
Compensate influencers for their time and talents
Whichever model you choose, make sure you’re compensating influencers fairly. That way, you’ll be able to create relationships based on mutual respect and negotiate terms that work to benefit both parties.
Want to learn more about different reward models? Schedule a time to strategize with one of our experts today.