Hello friends! Long time, no talk!
Today, I want to address my MOST ASKED QUESTIONS of all time:
How do I get paid on Instagram?
How do I ask for paid collaborations?
How do I set my rates?
Before we get this rolling, I want to make it clear that there is no right way to set your rates or ask for payment. Everything on this post is just my own opinion and based on my personal experiences.
I would also like to note that this blog post is the final part of a series I did on Instagram on “Charging for Content.” If you have not read these posts, I highly recommend checking it out as they encompass important aspects on this topic.
Whether you classify yourself as a nano-influencer, micro-influencer, or content creator in general, at the end of the day, we want compensation! That’s the thing with this industry – the “blogosphere”, as I like to call it, is still a fairly new concept and there is no rule book or a guideline that helps us determine what our content is worth. However, social media marketing is projected to grow into an industry worth BILLIONS of dollars in a few years and both you and I are part of that.
So…” how exactly do you get paid on Instagram?”
As a content creator, you get paid by companies and brands – not directly by Instagram. Instagram is the link between you and the brand. Usually a company will find you on Instagram, reach out, and ask for a collaboration – they will ask for photos, videos, stories, blog posts, and/or whatever you can offer. A contract will (and should) be signed by both parties, agreeing to the terms and the deliverables. Once you deliver the content, you get paid! (Contracts and the process of getting paid are worth a whole another blog post so let me know if you’re interested!)
Okay then, “how do I ask to get paid?”
If you’re JUST starting out and have no experience whatsoever in working with brands, I think it’s okay to work on the basis of product exchange. After all, you wouldn’t want to pay someone for their work if they have no experience, right? As you keep building your portfolio and experience, you can start charging more. If you already have some experience under your belt, I suggest: ALWAYS ASK FOR PAYMENT. The answer will always be NO if you don’t ask. Again, I go into all these details on my Instagram posts so please read those! Alright, so there are multiple examples of how this usually plays out and I’m going to mention a couple of those scenarios.
1. A company reaches out to you via email or DM asking for a collaboration
The brand says they found you on Instagram, like the content you create, and wants you to create x,y,z for their campaign. This is usually how I go about asking.
“Hello _____, Thank you so much for considering me to be a part of this campaign. I would love to know more details about this collaboration. (Ask any more questions you might have here…) Also, could you please share what your marketing budget for this campaign is?”
From here, they will tell you 1. What the budget is, 2. That they can only offer exposure, 3. that they’re working for trade only – or other answers similar to these. It is personally my biggest pet peeve when brands say that they can offer exposure because it’s not even guaranteed that they will repost your content onto their feed or sites. 🙄I can literally just post about a product that I love on my own terms and have the chance at “exposure” without signing a contract. However, it’s up to you what you want to do at this point! You can obviously accept the budget, negotiate the amount, accept working for trade only (& I have done my fair share of this for products that I love!) or reject the request for a collaboration!
2. The company tells you that they can give you free products/services
Here is what I say in these types of situations.
“Thank you so much for letting me know! Apart from the gifted products/services, could you let know what the budget for this collaboration might be?” or “Thank you for offering your products/services. May I ask if there will be monetary compensation for this collaboration?”
Now the company is asking for my rates! How do I set my rates?!
Ah, the million (or billion in this case?) dollar question. I’ve received this question from people with less than 1,000 followers and even from people with more than 50k followers! All this to say that we ALL struggle with this and I hope I can shed some light onto this topic! 💡
1. THE STANDARD WAY: A good way to start setting your rates would be to go by the 1 cent = 1 follower method. Basically, you charge 1 cent per follower you have. For example, you would charge $100 if you have 10k followers, $200 for 20k followers, and so on. If you are just beginning to charge brands or building your brand, this serves as a good base.
2. ENGAGEMENT RATE: Obviously, companies will want to work with content creators who have a good engagement rate. Engagement encompasses features such as: likes, comments, and shares. Higher the engagement, the higher you can charge. To figure out if you have a decent engagement rate or not, you can look at accounts with a similar following to compare. While I was researching, I read that 2% is the average engagement rate these days so you can run with that, as well. Honestly though, the IG algorithm is totally whack, so…who knows anymore. 🤷🏻♀️So if you have a smaller following but an amazing engagement rate, you can charge more – hurray! Likewise, if someone bought followers, it can be very obvious to tell by looking at the account’s engagement.
3. WHAT TO INCORPORATE INTO YOUR RATE: Here are some aspects you should consider when deciding on how to charge for your content.
a. TIME: How long does it take for you to create your content? This can include: going to the shoot location, the time it takes to actually shoot the content, editing the pictures, stories, and/or videos, and even engaging with your audience afterwards to create further discussions. Think of it as an actual job, an hourly rate. How much do you think is fair to get paid per hour of doing all of these things?
b. SUPPLIES: What do you need in order for to create your content? Sometimes the company requires you to go out and buy the product yourself so account for that. Do you want any props in your photo or videos? Do you need a camera, tripod, lenses, editing software, etc.? Obviously, don’t charge one collaboration the price for a $1000 camera but these are just things to think about, especially if you want to make social media a full-time gig.
c. TEAM: Do you have someone who helps you with your content? Do you have a photographer? An assistant? Someone who helps edit photos or videos for you? I know many bloggers who hire people to help them create content in this way and they need to be paid for their services too! I personally edit all the content myself, but my husband helps me take pics. Luckily, I don’t have to pay him in cash but I do show lots of appreciation and buy him yummy food for his hard work 😂
4. PERSONAL RATE: You honestly don’t have to listen to any of this and can charge whatever you want because YOU’RE THE BOSS! Whoo hoo! You can charge whatever you’re comfortable with! So I was debating on whether or not to share what I have personally charged in the past. Many people now have online workshops or seminars that make their audience pay to gain access to these kinds of information. However, I am not charging ANYTHING for these types of tips and I don’t think I ever will because I want all of you to know your worth and be rewarded for what you do!! If you are a creator, you already know that running a social media is more work than people realize! So instead of asking for payment, I would seriously appreciate it if you had it in your heart to share this blog post or my Instagram account! ❤️
When I was just starting out Instagram and didn’t know that I could actually get paid for these types of things, I accepted to work just for products – to the point where it got so tedious! As I built my following, I have received payment ranging from $50 all the way up to 4 figures. YUP. So the range is pretty wide but for a while now, I have been declining most collaborations that offer less than $250 per post/story.
When can I charge more for content?
There are several instances where you can charge more for a collaboration.
1. EXCLUSIVITY: There are cases where a brand will tell you not to work with other competitors during the time when you are working with them. I have seen brands ask for exclusivity anywhere in between the ranges of 1 month to 6 months, but it can definitely be longer or shorter. In this case, you have the option to charge $50-$100 per month of exclusivity because the brand is taking away your opportunity to work with other companies. I’ve had to negotiate this term with companies before and had success in either having the exclusivity removed or charging more. If blogging is your full-time gig, this really matters!
2. TURN AROUND TIME: From my experience, companies will usually give around 2 weeks or more to create content. For example, if I receive the product or service today, I usually have two weeks from today to create all the deliverables that the company is asking for. If the brand you’re working with is on a tight timeline and requests that you create content in less than two weeks, you have the right to charge more!
3. IMAGE RIGHTS: Oh boy, this is an another big topic itself. Just because you create content for a brand doesn’t mean that they possess the right to take that image or video and use it for their own marketing purposes (websites, ads, etc.) unless it is stated in the contract. THIS IS WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO READ THE CONTRACTS!!!! So many companies will just slide those terms in there stating, “You give us the rights to the images to use for our marketing purposes” or something along those lines. If they do want to actually use your images for their ads, YOU CAN REQUEST MORE PAYMENT. Just because you promoted someone’s products does not give them the right or freedom use YOUR pictures whenever and wherever they want!! I feel like so many content creators fall into this trap or they don’t really mind because they’re getting “exposure” but let’s be real. How many times have you looked at an ad or pictures on a brand’s website and think, “Hm, I wonder who took these pictures? I must go find who created this masterpiece!!” I personally have not, so… please be aware.
4. TYPE OF CONTENT: So I’ve read that if you are delivering anything other than pictures, you can charge up to 25-50% more. For example, if you are creating videos, stop motion pictures, etc., you can definitely charge more because it takes more effort and time to produce these things. This goes hand in hand with what I was talking about earlier with thinking about how much time, gear, and supplies you need to create content. Also, if a brand is asking you to post numerous times or deliver multiple images, you should think about charging more. Let’s say you’re charging $100 for a post/story set. Then it makes sense for you to charge $300 for 3 posts/stories set.
WOW, this was a PACKED post, guys. If you made it this far, YAY! I hope you got at least a little something out of this! I want to remind you that everything I said in this post is based on my personal opinion and experiences. These tips are not definitely not rules set in stone for people to follow. I wrote this post, hoping that it will serve as a guide and to highlight some important tips about what to take into consideration. I really love being able to share this information with you and I really don’t want small content creators to be taken advantage of! If you have any other topics you want me to address, please let me know! Thanks for reading!
Until next time,