How much to pay Influencers (recommended rates included)?

How much to pay Influencers (recommended rates included)?

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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. But how much should you pay influencers?

What Influencers Bring to the Table: dialogue, attention, community building, category leading, positive bias, high level story-telling, etc.
What young Influencers Bring to the Table…

So, how much should a brand pay influencers, one might ask?

Should brands pay 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.

Should I pay SMI (Social Media Influencer)?
Should I pay SMI (Social Media Influencer)?

I would like to propose four methods of calculating payment for social media influencers (SMI) for you to choose from.

Method 1: NEW! Pay Influencers 4% of Followers

Payment to influencers: 4% of your following
Payment to influencers: 4% of your following

I just finished up writing about all of the methods I know about to calculate influencer payments, when my friend Sammie (see above) notified me that there is a new and revolutionary method in town: it’s a simple formula of 4% of the SMI’s followers.

For example,

Follower Quantity | Payment
5,000 | $200
10,000 | $400
15,000 | $600
30,000 | $1,200
100,000 | $4,000

Pros: Super clear and easy to calculate. Commissions on business transactions are typically between 2% to 10%, so it makes sense for people used to thinking this way. Brands almost always count influence by number of followers anyway, so it might work well.

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Cons: What if those followers are of low quality, such as accounts that haven’t been active for over a year, or people who use the platform but never engage.

Brands still see quantity of followers as an important factor for hiring...
Brands still see quantity of followers as an important factor for hiring…

Method 2: 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.

How many posts should I hire an influencer to create for me?
**How many posts should I hire an influencer to create for me?

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.

  • sibylline_m's profile picture sibylline_m But what if the Sword chooses a Queen? ⚔️ Illustration for @Netflix's new show "@Cursed"
  • nicole | petite style & travel on Instagram: “Yes or no: Working from home is more fun from bed. 🛌 If you're WFH, what's your setup like? Office? Sofa? Bed? Kitchen counter? 👩🏼‍💻 [ad]…”
  • I don't know if these are 'authentic' or not, but they're adorable the way they're posing and I can't imagine the love they're showing isn't real.
  • Case Study: A great Facebook Micro-Influencer that bring customers to a potty training book
  • Alexa N - Great #macroinfluencer!
  • Great mom micro-influencer!
  • Social media influencers find original ways to engage their audiences - an example.
  • Social media influencers find original ways to engage their audiences - an example.
  • Dear Mishu Micro-Influencer Services - Work Examples

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.

I charge based on my time & effort (& the time of year at some point). I leverage my fees on my metrics and my engagement rates based on the average in my bracket. I can also tell you there are a hell of a lot of others in my bracket who would laugh a brand into the river at $100 per 10k per post.


If you are in the camp that disagrees with the $100 per 10k followers, try one of the next three options:

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Method 3: 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 4: 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.

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This kind of dispute can be solved this way: make all deliveries and details clear with a good Influencer-Brand Contract.

Method 5: 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!

Suggested Influencer KPIs - DearMishuDad  Source (updated often):
Suggested Influencer KPIs – DearMishuDad Source (updated often):

Which one will YOU choose?


36 Hats (!!) that Influencers Wear
36 Hats (!!) that Influencers Wear


I like to keep it real, which some people consider contrarian… well, so be it: check out my articles that have been tagged “contrarian”


If It Can’t Be Transactional, Then What Am I Getting from Influencer Marketing at All?

Sincerely yours,

Dear Mishu's Dad

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SMI* = Social Media Influencers

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I am the creator of Dear Mishu, a dog character that gives underdog advice to humans on social media. I originally built the account to learn about influencers and how they work. Over time, the account grew and Dear Mishu became a real social media influencer with a community of followers who ask her for advice. I use this experience and my 20 years of marketing experience to help brands understand how to reach their goals through Influencer Marketing and Social media branding.