January 26, 2021
Finding influencers you want to work with is just half of the job done. Negotiating with them is the other half, which tends to be a tiny bit more complicated in nature. Still, it's definitely possible and will make you wonder why you haven't done it before.
After you've targeted the ideal influencer (or influencers) for your campaign, it's time to showcase your negotiating skills. If you're here, though, chances are you probably never had to use them until now.
Don't worry. In this post, we'll cover everything you need to know for a successful and possibly lasting partnership:
- First, you'll wow the influencer you've targeted with an irresistible proposal.
- Then, you'll decide on their compensation based on a number of factors.
- For lower budgets, you'll learn how to cut down on influencer costs (while still closing a great deal).
- You'll also leave this post knowing what to do to avoid hazards and protect your brand's reputation.
We'll go through each of the above in detail, right now.
Create a proposal influencers can't resist
We've written about creating the perfect proposal in detail when we talked about finding influencers for your business. But being reminded is sometimes more important than just being instructed, so let's do it again.
Remember: being an influencer is a full-time job. You need to be able to create a proposal that will make them stop scrolling through hundreds of emails and direct messages from other brands.
In your proposal, you should highlight the following:
- Where you first heard about them or their work, and why it caught your attention.
- Build a connection with them by being honest about what you like about their work. It could be their way with words, their personality, their eloquence, their style…just try to avoid talking about their looks directly. After all, being an influencer has a lot more to do with one's character.
- Carry on talking about your product, and why it would be of interest to them. Highlight what it does, its benefits, and why, out of all people, you feel like they'd be perfect for the job. The more personality-driven your message, the better.
- End the proposal by thanking them for their time (after all, reading whole messages is time-consuming). Follow with your contact information, and tell them you hope to hear from them again soon.
Since you've (hopefully) done your research, you know the best way to contact them, whether it's via a business email or direct messages. Either way, you'll want to follow the framework above.
Decide on influencer compensation
We could provide you with a good old pricing table and call it a day. But when it comes to influencer compensation, that doesn't work very well.
Every influencer job is different. There will be a variation in content length, content type, channels, as well as the scope of work. Not to mention, influencer engagement can drastically lower or rise the pricing of a campaign.
Besides, influencers may have their own rate cards and may not be willing to settle for large changes. Their rate cards outline the pricing and description of their services in detail, and they'll send it over to you upon accepting a partnership.
Of course, pricing and perks are things you can always try and negotiate down the road. Stick around for the next topic to learn more about perks and even non-monetary negotiations.
In case you're the one in charge of compensation, it'll fully depend on the following factors:
- Type of content. Videos, photos, and stories all have different rates. For instance, you can expect to pay more for a whole YouTube video in comparison to a short 30-second Instagram story.
- Quantity. The volume of work you demand also matters. Are you requesting one-off media content (for a single campaign) or are you closing a package with them? Prices may vary, especially if you're looking for long-term collaboration.
- Reach and engagement. Of course, the more clout an influencer has, the higher their value. You should be aware of how “pricey” an influencer will be (based on their engagement rates and following) and estimate whether your ROI (Return on Investment) will be high. Expect to pay a lot more if the influencer will bring you a lot of engagement and followers once the campaign launches.
- Type of product. Finally, the type of product you're trying to promote will affect the price of compensation. Expensive products call for higher fees, so keep that in mind.
If you need a general guesstimate of how much an influencer would charge, a micro-influencer with a following of 5k could charge from $170 for a single Instagram post. On the other hand, a power influencer with a following of 50k could charge over $500 for the same content.
But again, this is just a loose estimate. Your influencer's rate cards are the prices you'll need to base yourself on for a fair deal.
Cut down on pricing by giving influencers what they want
Ask any influencer, “what's the thing you like the most about your job?”
Nine out of 10 times, they'll reply with “getting free stuff”. Who doesn't love getting free products, free food, free hotel stays, free concert or plane tickets, and a lot more?
If your budget is on the shorter side, this tip is for you. If you have any perks to offer, you could dramatically reduce influencer monetary compensation if they agree on it. And maybe, you and your influencer of choice could agree on non-monetary collaboration. That won't always be the case, but it's a possibility.
Your chance to get that non-monetary deal will increase if the influencer is crazy about what you offer. That's why it's so important that you evaluate influencers thoroughly before reaching out to them–you want them to be nothing less than in love with your brand. If they are, the negotiation process will become a lot easier for both of you.
Write a detailed influencer agreement
This is arguably the most bureaucratic part of influencer negotiation. So many people skip this step at their peril, which puts them (and their brand) in a tough spot. Not to be negative, but this could potentially evolve into a legal dispute.
Writing a complete influencer agreement isn't only about legal matters, though. It also involves crystal clarity and ethical partnership. An influencer should know exactly what to expect when working with you–things like what to do, what not to do, and how long it should take them to create the content you need.
By outlining the specifics, you'll streamline the work. In a perfect world, that means less drafts, less revisions, and less headaches. It also means working with the right person, and protecting your brand's reputation at all costs.
Here are points you can't leave out of your influencer agreement:
- Delivery format. For clarity and efficiency, mention the media delivery format you'll need for all types of deliverables (such as .docx for written posts or .mp4 for videos).
- Scope and timelines. This will cover the start and end date of an influencer campaign. It could also include expected completion dates for drafts, as well as expected publishing dates.
- Reviewing and editing. Even if you think you trust the person you're working with, it pays to mention that the content must be passed on to you for review before it's published. Otherwise, you could risk publishing content with errors that will damage your brand.
- KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Influencers should know how campaign success will be measured. That includes which analytics you're going to be tracking (hashtags, reach, impressions) as well as the tools you'll be using.
- Disclosures. Dedicated influencers should know about the FTC disclosure guidelines, but they're still worth mentioning. These guidelines forbid deceptive advertising across all mediums, making hashtags like #ad and #sponsored mandatory when partnering with a brand. In video content, influencers should mention the partnership, often multiple times.
- Publishing rights. The influencer you're working with has the right to know if they're allowed to repost and repurpose your content, or if you'll fully own the rights to it.
- Non-disclosure agreement. A NDA is a confidentiality agreement meant to protect sensitive business information. Upon agreement, the influencer must keep the information you exchange confidential (as in not disclosing campaign information before a launch, for instance).
- Exit strategy. Should the partnership between you and the influencer come to an end, you must outline the steps each party should take to terminate the agreement.
- Inspiration. This could also be sent separately, but it's a good idea to give influencers a briefing of former successful campaigns in which the style is in accordance to the work you want. This step will save both of you a lot of time.
Negotiating with creators may feel like a daunting task, but it really is just about reaching out and being authentic. Luckily, you're now aware of every step you should take to finally seal that deal.
Note that an influencer might not be willing to collaborate with you for whatever reason, and that's fine. Someone passing on your offer doesn't necessarily mean you lack clarity or your proposal is imprecise–not if you've followed the guidelines above.
Especially today, the internet is a goldmine of influencers. Keep at it, and you'll soon be partnering with the human version of your brand.
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