How-to Get Paid for Collaborations

There are several ways that brands will offer to pay for your time and access to your audience. It’s important always to consider the true and realistic value of what is being offered to you and evaluate if that is worth your time and effort. In the end, as an influencer, your two most valuable assets are your time and the relationship you have built with your audience.

Paid Promotions

Sometimes reserved for larger influencers or influencers with very specific audiences, paid promotions are where brands will pay you in exchange for creating and posting content to your audience. As noted before, that content will normally be created by you but sometimes the brand will request you repost content they give to you. 

In-Kind Promotions

A common type of influencer marketing offer (especially from smaller businesses) is what is called in-kind. This simply means the business is willing to give you some form of product (e.g. shampoo) or service (e.g. as a manicure) in exchange for you creating content about it and posting it to your social feeds. You should immediately ask the underlying value of the product so you can compare any in-kind offer to a paid promotion.

Affiliate or Pay for Performance Promotions

Many businesses are interested in incentivizing influencers with affiliate or pay-for-performance deals. These deals offer a % of all sales generated from your audience buying the product. Normally, affiliate deals offer no payment upfront but are actually in-kind deals with a potential kicker on the back end if you drive sales. As a simple rule of thumb, you should consider these deals as in-kind deals when evaluating if the effort is worth your (and your audience’s) time and attention. While back end payouts can sound very lucrative, for many reasons they can be hard to actually make money from especially if Instagram is your primary social platform as tracking clicks sent to a brand is inherently hard to do with the platform. Products like Linktree or Linkinbio can help with this.

Important Considerations

  • When contemplating any type of payment mechanism, there are a number of considerations:
  • What type of post is the business asking for and how many of them are they asking for. Businesses may ask for a post to your Instagram feed, your blog, your Instagram stories, a TikTok video etc. It’s important to understand exactly what they are asking for upfront.
  • Confirm how many posts are required. Some brands want influencers to post multiple times. In this instance, are you being paid by post or as a bundle? It is not uncommon for a brand to ask for posts across multiple channels (e.g one Instagram post plus an Instagram story). 
  • What is the true value of the payment being offered on a per post basis? If a business is offering $25 for 5 posts they are only offering $5 per post. Is it worth your time and energy to work for that amount?
  • Never pay for a product upfront. Some businesses will ask you to buy their product (e.g. off Amazon) or offer discount codes to make the product seem free. As a general rule of thumb, never purchase a product (even if it’s discounted to $0) as part of an influencer marketing campaign. You may be breaking some platforms’ terms of service by doing that (e.g. this is not allowed on Amazon). A legitimate business will send you the product directly (and cover all costs of shipping).
  • Keep in mind that influencer marketing is new to both influencers and brands. Most businesses are still running their first influencer marketing campaigns. This means they may have unrealistic expectations. If a business wants you to post 3 times per week for a month for $20, you should probably just not work with them as they may need to learn a bit more about influencer marketing before they can be a good partner to you and value you correctly.