How To Negotiate Higher Paying Brand Deals As A Social Media Influencer | Trendsettrs

How To Negotiate Higher Paying Brand Deals As A Social Media Influencer

These days? Being a social media influencer can often mean you’re a content creator, editor, copywriter, marketer and brand ambassador all rolled into one.
So it’s only natural, that at times, you may stop and wonder, 'Am I earning what I’m actually worth?'

From turning those unpaid gifting offers into paid partnerships - to mastering the art of negotiating better rates for yourself, I think it’s about time we worked on making sure the monetary value of your digital paycheques, are an accurate reflection of the value that comes from working with you.  

Let’s start with the usual, shall we?
As an independent influencer, it's common to accept unpaid collaborations to build your portfolio and credibility. But how do you transition from doing favours to getting paid…

Step 1: Know Your Worth
First things first, you need to know your own value. Unpaid collabs can be a great way to get yourself started, but you deserve to be paid for your time, effort and the exposure to the platform you’ve grown.

Ask yourself...
What unique qualities do I bring to the table?
How engaged is my audience?
What's my reach across different platforms?
Knowing these metrics will help you pitch yourself effectively to brands, when seeking monetary compensation for your work.

Step 2: Craft A Compelling Reply
When communicating with a brand that has reached out to offer you gifted/unpaid work, it is well worth taking your time to craft a response before you get back to the brand. This can then be used if you are in the same situation with another brand. Be personable, friendly and explain that while you are currently unavailable for gifted collaborations, you would be happy to discuss the potential of a paid partnership.

Here are a few effectively tried & tested responses from experienced content creators:

‘Thank you so much for reaching out.
As a fan of your brand, I would love to collaborate.
At this time, I am unable to accept gifted for payment collaborations.
Please see my media kit attached for my rates.
If this is something that fits your budget, I would absolutely love to discuss this opportunity further.’ - @spooky_sleuth

‘Thank you so much for your email, it’s great to hear from you!
I currently have a very tight schedule due to booked in campaigns, so I’m only able to take on paid work.
I have attached my rates, it would be great to know if you have budget for this.’ - @postcardsbyhannah

‘Thank you for reaching out to me!
I would love to collaborate with your brand!
I love how (insert something you like about the brand, making sure it’s one of their unique selling points) and I can already envision some scroll-stopping content that I could create for you!
Unfortunately I do not have the capacity for gifted collabs, however since I appreciate you reaching out and I highly value building a trusted relationship with the brands I work with, I would be willing to reduce my standard rates for you, to collaborate on something mutually beneficial.
Let me know if you are open to hearing my discounted rate?
Really looking forward to the potential of working together!
Thank you!’ - @ugcwithlauraa

You might also find this TikTok by influencer coach Mary Ashlee helpful, as she details how she communicates with brands in her DMs.

Step 3: Negotiate Like A Pro
If the brand shows interest in a paid collaboration, it's time to discuss compensation. Be prepared to negotiate and advocate for fair payment based on your worth. Consider factors such as the scope of work, deliverables (posts, stories, videos), exclusivity, usage rights and timeline.
There are plenty of resources available on negotiating as an influencer, including the following blog post by Creating With Kaya.

If you’re not used to pitching yourself in general, to justify your preferred pay rate, it’s also important to highlight the unique value you bring to the table. This could include your audience demographics (age, location, interests), engagement rates (likes, comments, shares), previous successful collaborations and any creative ideas you have for the partnership. This highlights to the brand why you are worth spending their marketing budget on you!

Modern Millie has some great resources on her YouTube channel including a free pitch template and a walkthrough of landing collabs.

Step 4: Follow Up
If you don’t hear back after a week or so, don’t be afraid to follow up.
Sometimes, brands get busy, and a gentle reminder can reignite the conversation.
Keep it simple and to the point -
‘Hi (insert name),
I hope you’re well.
I just wanted to follow up and ask whether you’d had a chance to take a look at my last email yet?
I look forward to hearing back from you.’

By following these steps and customising your approach based on your niche and preferences, you can effectively turn unpaid collaborations into paid opportunities that align with your value and expertise as a creator.

Side Note:
Sometimes no matter what you do, there are some brands who just won’t budge.
Don’t let that discourage you or make you question the value of your work.
There are many more brands out there who are willing to pay you your worth, so don't be disheartened by rejection.

Additionally if this is a brand that resonates with you and you want to foster a relationship with them, there’s nothing wrong with choosing to accept a gifted collaboration, as it can leave the door open for paid work in the future.
Alternatively, you could also negotiate a gifted collaboration, but with very limited requirements such as a single story post or even free rein to post or not post as you wish. This can once again establish relationships which may be useful in the future.

But… what if you've been doing paid partnerships for a while now and you're ready to step into the next income bracket?

Here's how to navigate the negotiation process like a pro and secure even better rates for your #ads.

1. Do Your Research
Before entering negotiations, research industry standards for influencer rates in your niche. Tools like Influencer Marketing Hub and Social Bluebook can provide insights into average rates based on your follower count, engagement metrics, and platform.
Influencer and influencer coach Lexi Luxury has a whole YouTube series on influencing, but part 2 contains great info about knowing your worth and getting paid.
You can also check out general influencer marketing stats here.

Emily Valentine (full time influencer for 7yrs, talent manager & influencer brand coach) shares how to know your rates including a mini rate card template.

2. Quantify Your Value
Numbers speak volumes in negotiations. Highlight key metrics such as engagement rates, audience demographics, reach, and conversion rates if applicable. Showcasing tangible results from past collaborations can strengthen your case for higher pay.

3. Define Scope and Deliverables
Clearly outline the scope of work and deliverables upfront. This includes the number of posts, stories, videos, exclusivity clauses, usage rights, and any additional services like content creation or event appearances. Having a detailed agreement prevents misunderstandings later on.

4. Know Your Bottom Line
Determine your minimum acceptable rate with yourself, before negotiations begin. This is your bottom line, based on factors like time invested, production costs, and the value of your audience's attention. Be prepared to walk away if the offered rate falls below this threshold.

5. Emphasise Value, Not Just Reach
While reach (follower count) is important, emphasise the quality of your audience and engagement rates. Brands value influencers who can drive meaningful interactions, conversions and brand affinity among their target demographics.

6. Offer Value-Added Services
Beyond standard posts and stories, consider offering value-added services such as extended campaign duration, cross-platform promotion, content creation, or participation in brand events. These extras can justify higher rates and strengthen your partnership.

7. Negotiate A Few Extras
If a brand can't meet your desired base rate, explore other ways to increase your monetary compensation such as negotiating a revenue share of any products/services sold as a result of your collaboration, or securing a long-term partnership agreement.

8. Be Professional and Assertive
Maintain a professional demeanour throughout negotiations while confidently advocating for your worth. Express enthusiasm for the collaboration, while firmly standing by your rate expectations based on industry standards and your unique value proposition.

9. Document Agreements in Writing
Once terms are agreed upon, formalise the agreement in a written contract or email confirmation. Include specifics such as deliverables, payment terms, timelines, and any clauses related to exclusivity or usage rights to protect both parties' interests.
Many platforms such as Rocket Lawyer offer free contracts and agreements. These contracts usually provide sufficient protection, but seek legal help when you need it, to make sure any contracts you've received from the brand, are foolproof.

10. Build Long-Term Relationships
Successful negotiations not only result in fair compensation, but also lay the foundation for long-term partnerships. Deliver exceptional results, communicate effectively, and foster positive relationships with brands for future collaborations and referrals.
By leveraging these negotiation strategies and adapting them to each collaboration opportunity, you can confidently secure better rates that align with your value as an influencer and contribute to sustainable growth in your influencer career!
Educator and online marketer Christina Galbato talks brand relationships and negotiating deals on her blog and shares how to form relationships with big brands.

To wrap it up... not all brand partnerships are right for you and that’s ok.
There are times when brands will accommodate your needs… and there are times when they won’t.
If a brand is unwilling to pay you your worth, sometimes it’s best to walk away.
Watch beauty & fashion content creator Jalyn Baiden talk about her experiences turning down brands.

As you continue to refine your negotiation skills, track your performance metrics and build upon your knowledge of industry trends, i have no doubt that you'll position yourself as a valuable partner for brands seeking impactful influencer collaborations.

So here's to you Trendsettr… may your future brand deals be as prosperous as Chuck Bass’s trust fund 🥂


Until next time.

You know you love me... xoxo