Negotiations inevitably come out in every business deal, whether you’re buying a home or engaging in a brand partnership as a micro influencer. Ultimately, no one wants to pay more than they have to for anything because that usually means more money in your pocket as a buyer. I mean, if you saw the same pair of shoes at two different stores, and one was half off, you’d probably go with the less expensive one, right? Brands (and creators tbh!) are looking to make more money than they spend, so naturally they’ll probably want to negotiate a bit when discussing partnerships. It’s totally normal, and isn’t meant to devalue your work as a creator, but there are some things you can do to make sure you’re compensated fairly. Read on…
Know Your Worth
When faced with partnership negotiations, knowing your worth can really help you push for the compensation you want. What I mean by this is: know what the content you’re offering to provide is reasonably worth in terms of dollars or product exchange. I say reasonably because, even though we as creators tend to feel like our work is worth a ton (and not to say it’s not!), you do have to be open to understanding the current market for influencer marketing and consider factors like follower count, reach, and engagement when coming up with your price.
This was honestly so tough for me when I first started pitching brands because it seemed like no one else was really up front about what they asked for when negotiating paid partnerships. I found that, in general, this is how much to charge for sponsored Instagram posts based solely on follower count:
This is only a guideline, though. Depending on the posting requirements, you can (& should!) ask for more. In addition, if the brand is asking for content rights and to use your content in their ads, you definitely should ask for more because your content is essentially being used to make them (not you) money. So, you should be compensated fairly, especially if the brand is more mainstream. That being said, if you’re just starting out as a creator and working with the brand is more important to you, you may want to be a little more flexible in what you’re asking for depending on what you place more value in.
Remember Your Stats
Similar to what I mentioned above, knowing your stats when you work with brands can help you get more paid partnerships! Do you have an unusually high engagement rate? A steadily growing, authentic follower base? Having these stats handy means you have concrete evidence you can pass on to brands when you’re negotiating. It gives weight to your argument and proves that you should be getting more money or compensation because you’re giving them more value. Here’s a little visual on the average Instagram engagement rate for influencers by follower size…
Understand the Brand’s Audience
Know who you’re working for! Are you their ideal client/user/follower? Does your audience demographic match theirs? If so, don’t be afraid to say so! This can help brands feel more certain about what value you’ll give them instead of feeling like they’re taking a gamble on whether or not the partnership will be fruitful. Plus, it shows you for your homework & brands will respect you more for it!
Ask Yourself What You’ll Get Out of it
As a content creator, microinfluencer, blogger, and small business owner, you need to be sure that any partnerships you take on are MUTUALLY beneficial. This means that both you and the brand get equal value. A loooot of brands will try to pay you in less tangible things like “experience” or “exposure”, and if that doesn’t cut it for you, move on! If they refuse to pay you or give you a fair product exchange for your work, or even *cringe* try to get you to buy product out of your own pocket to then turn around and promote for free with the chance of a repost/earnings, it is 1000% not worth your time. Content creation is hard work, and unless the “exposure” or “experience” offered gives you a direct, concrete benefit (like guaranteeing YOU more followers and free goods), that’s not really compensation at all. Avoid falling for spammy “ambassador” DMs and emails that offer too-good-to-be-true benefits, like hundreds of dollars in cash or free trips, all while actually requiring you to purchase your own product at either a discount price or for only the shipping fee. These aren’t real partnerships; they’re just looking to lure in new customers and you may end up on some sketchy sites too!
Will your audience resonate?
Lastly, one of the most important things to consider for brand partnerships is: will your audience resonate with what you’re promoting? I’m 100% a fashion lifestyle influencer; I never post about sports. So, if I was to suddenly do a sponsored post promoting sports, it should be something that relates somehow to what I normally do (like sharing team-inspired apparel or a workout clothing line), otherwise my audience would probably be pretty confused. I might even lose their trust or engagement over promoting something that didn’t seem authentic! In this way, make sure that you’re engaging in partnerships where you’re promoting things that align with your personal point of view. Not that you can’t ever promote something outside your niche, or that you can’t shift the focus of your page; just make sure whatever you do is authentic and not solely motivated by sponsorship opportunities. Everyone can tell when someone’s promoting something they most likely never use or would like (how many celebs really use drugstore skincare products??), and as a small business trying to build a following through content creation, you never wanna be in this category yourself.
I hope these tips help you navigate the sometimes-tricky waters of negotiating with brands for paid partnerships! As long as you trust your gut, stay true to yourself, and know your value, you’ll have all the success in building your brand as a creator! Drop any questions in the comments!