It’s super popular to hire SMI* these days — for many good reasons (if done the right way): they bring attention, awareness, trust, influence, change opinions, and offer advice on turning your business around to meet the needs of relevant communities as never before.
*SMI = Social Media influencers. Source: Who is an influencer?
So, how much should a brand pay influencers, one might ask?
Should brands pay Social Media Influencers (SMI)?
For sure yes, you/we should pay them. Their social media accounts are the way they making a living, and if you find a good SMI, make them even better by taking them seriously.
I would like to propose four methods of calculating payment for social media influencers (SMI) for you to choose from.
Method A: Industry standard is $100 per post for every 10k followers
Recently a consensus has emerged that a rate of $100 for 10k followers per post** is the agreed upon standard between brands and SMI.
Pro: easy to calculate, and pretty clearly understood by all.
Cons: brand will exclude SMI on platforms besides Instagram and TikTok, as they are less popular. But someone who has 30k followers on Instagram, and has only 10k on Facebook, can still bring terrific awareness to the brand from FB.
Also, many SMI are real artists in terms of video creation, photography, videography etc., like these ones below. They may not have a huge number of followers, but they are still highly influential through their art.
This method also does not take into account engagement on their posts (comments, likes). Influencers can spend hours engaging on a post, and those that do should be paid more.
Therefore, many senior and serious SMI object to valuing their “goods” (i.e. content) by how many followers they have.
If you are in the camp that disagrees with the $100 per 10k followers, try one of the next three options:
Method B: Paying by the Hour
Professional full-time SMI take their jobs very seriously and ask to be treated seriously too. Hiring them the same way we hire a graphic designer, SEO expert, consultant, or program coder, by the hour, might make sense. And so, the rate here can be from $25 to $450/Hr, usually based on the SMI art of story-telling, as well as marketing performance.
Pro: Familiar pay-by-hour system that brands are used to when working with other sub-contractors.
Cons: Suspicion about the total number of hours i.e. overbilling-underbilling disputes.
Such disputes can be solved this way:
If you’re SMI, bill your total PLUS give something else for free as a courtesy and as an investment of customer satisfaction and future hiring.
If you’re a brand, and you got the “$1 million dollar content” from the SMI, perhaps you’ll pay a bonus. This will not only show your love but will help to secure that SMI for many future partnerships.
Method C: By Project
In accordance with the above, treat SMI as sub-contractors, and pay them per project.
For example: John is hired to make a video, with Brand A’s product in it, using a similar look as he did for Brand B, but with different colors, no curse words, and near the Eiffel Tower, to be deliver by 1/4/2023. Project payment: $1,800, where $950 will be paid upon signing a project contract.
Pro: Cloning an already existing payment model makes sense to all.
Cons: Working by project has its own weakness, such as what if a brand is not happy with the 3rd try of the SMI design, and yet says that according to the contract he can make a maximum of 3 variations.
This kind of dispute can be solved this way: make all deliveries and details clear with a good Influencer-Brand Contract.
Method D: Paying by KPIs
You may like this one: it’s a mix of results-based payments, of “when you’ll do X, you’ll get $__, and when you’ll do Y, you’ll get $_.”
Pro: Flexible and interesting. SMI will be results oriented in their approach, which can make brands happy.
Cons: Tools for measuring KPIs are still not (and never will be) accurate and are in some ways useless (in other words: it’s hard to measure KPIs scientifically). SMI cannot control things that influence results of a campaign such as the brand’s social media and website behavior, tech support, and content, all of which can be a barrier to achieving KPIs such as mailing list sign ups, web-page clicks, and of course sales.
Such disputes can be solved this way: with good will and generosity!
Which one will YOU choose?