Now that we have a shop, I have been on both sides of the brand-blogger relationship. As a blogger, I get hired by others to promote their products. As a shop owner, I like to work with influencers to help bring new eyes to our store (Cannonborough Collective). Recently we worked with Naomi from Southern Charm, and it was definitely a successful collaboration where we got about 100-150 new followers! It's no surprise that it can be a little confusing to navigate these types of relationships, so scroll down for my two cents on how to achieve fair & successful partnerships for both parties. This post is mostly referencing charging for Instagram, but I'll add a little section about sponsored blog posts as well.
-A Basic Guide to Calculating Instagram Post Rates-
At The Southern C Summit this past February, James Nord of Fohr Card gave us a simple way to break down pricing for Instagram posts. He compared what you would expect to pay for a sponsored post via Instagram or Facebook, which is $10 per 1000 people reached. By that math, if you have 60,000 followers, you could charge $600 per post. It doesn't sound great to only make $20 for a post if you have 2000 followers, but there are other ways to add value or receive payment (more on that in a few).
Another way to calculate your rate is to use a free tool like Social Bluebook. It's a site that connects brands to bloggers, and will also analyze your analytics to help you determine a fair rate to charge. Based on what I knew from James, I was planning to update my media kit to $150 per post since I have 14.1k followers (ok so I rounded up $10, you caught me!). I double checked the Social Bluebook suggested price per post, and it was a little higher ($158). It takes things into account besides just your follower number, i.e. your engagement. My engagment wasn't top of the line, but it's super tough to get steady engagement nowadays with the Instagram algorithm. Side note: PLEASE like and comment on your favorite Instagram accounts to help us out with this!
-My Advice for Bloggers-
Ok, so maybe that math above doesn't sound all that great- you might have 5,000 followers and therefore be "worth" about $50 per post. But wait a minute! 5,000 is still a big number and $50... not so much. Especially when you consider paying a photographer, your time, etc. etc. Therefore, you have a few different options.
Option A: Get free stuff! While you're growing your following, you can use a blog as a fun hobby & request free products from your favorite brands. A local boutique or even a national retailer might be willing to gift you an item of clothing, piece of jewelry, etc. Most companies prefer to gift product instead of pay for posts, so you might get a higher value in product than payment. Decide what your time for creating a photo on social media is worth and stick to it!
Option B: Make yourself more valuable. When I work with a brand, I'm giving them a set amount of photos that they can use for their social media and often styling their products for them. We all know photography is expensive, so I think I'm adding additional value to what I'm offering. Maybe you can leverage a high Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook following to go along with what you have on Instagram.
-My Advice for Shops & Brands-
Know your budget and goals. Are you hoping to get more website/store traffic, or do you want to grow your own Instagram following? None of these things are a guarantee, so it's a good idea to have a game plan. Offer a generous discount code so you can track your site traffic from the post if you're hoping for sales. If you want to get followers, it's important to make sure your Instagram feed is looking fab in order for this to work. I can help with that in my Instagram consultation. Don't forget about the power of pure brand awareness. Even if you don't get sales, you are at the very least going to get on the radar of a new audience.
Pay for AT LEAST 2 posts. Repetition is huge! I noticed this with my own products- I definitely get more sales the 3rd time I post about something compared to the first. Whether your goals are sales or brand awareness, it's best to get multiple posts (or a combo of a post & an Instastory at the very least).
You get what you pay for. Do you have to spend money to work with influencers? Absolutely not! You do, however, have to offer something awesome and equitable to what you're expecting. In lieu of payment I have offered bloggers photography, balloons, or my products like Turkish towels. On the blog side of things I have been compensated with products, meals, etc. There just needs to be a mutual understanding of expectations and a fair exchange; if you offer a $20 item to a blogger with 20k followers, you might get an Instagram story at best. If you aren't paying for a post, make it clear what you're offering and expecting in return and try to offer a product value that's equitable to what they would be paid for a post.
-Sponsored Blog Posts-
I hardly ever pitch a dedicated blog post to brands. I get about 4-5,000 unique views on my site a month, and I honestly have no idea what that breaks down to per post or what that is "worth", but I don't imagine it's phenomenal. However, I do know this about my blog: I have great SEO, I am able to offer content creation (i.e. photos for brands to use on their social media), and it takes a LOT of my time to write a blog post. Therefore, I'm happy to write a blog post but it's going to cost someone a pretty penny! I have take into account my time, associated costs, etc. I've found it most cost effective for everyone to instead offer inclusion in a blog round-up, so it might feature multiple brands instead of just one. Basically a few brands are then chipping in on the cost together, like here & here.
By the way, you can have Fohr Card verify your following for free, so the companies you're working with know you didn't pay for fake followers. This is another way to add value to what you are offering a brand. If you're a brand, you can certainly request that influencers have this verification.
If you found this useful, I hope you'll check out this new section of my site: Charleston Weekender's Social Media University. There are lots of free resources like this, and I hope it's super helpful!