Once you’ve selected which influencers will help you reach your target audience, worked together to devise a plan to make it happen and clearly set out your ROIs, you’d assume the hard work is almost over right? Well, not quite.
The final stage of the influencer marketing preparation process is often the most delicate, especially for those newly trying it out – agreeing on how much to pay your influencer. Of course, this has to be a joint discussion, but having a rough idea about just how much hiring an influencer will be worth to you and your brand is a great place to start.
So what should you take into consideration when deciding how much influence is worth? Well, to set you off in the right direction, here is a rough list of just some of what your budget will buy when working with influencers:
1. An alternative to full-time employee(s)
For the vast majority of cases, if not assigned to influencer marketing, budget would be need to be put towards hiring a full-time member of staff, tasked with similar marketing efforts.
Considering the main objective of influencer marketing is to create a positive perception of the brand amongst its target audience, the equivalent in-house job role would likely involve some form of community management. This means having a staff member fully dedicated to building up, cultivating and maintaining an engaged target audience, as well as producing content for them to engage with. It is well worth remembering that an influencer has already done the bulk of this workload – an influencer is such because they already have influence over a certain audience, and that takes a lot of time, effort and expertise to achieve.
2. A ‘Freelancer Rate’
According to the ISPE (Associate of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), one should expect a 30% increase on pro-rata earnings when paying a freelancer over a permanent employee. As influencers work in a very similar way on some types of projects as freelancers, the same should really apply. This 30% is essentially to cover additional costs to the freelancer that an employee would not have, e.g. equipment, travel, internet, experience etc.
It is tempting to think that if a freelancer, or, in this case, influencer is 30% more expensive than a full-time employee, it might be better to just hire someone instead. However, the amount you would pay an influencer would typically not be for as long a period as an employee, and influencers require no training to deliver results. Freelance-based talent is also a lot more flexible and, more often than not, of a higher quality.
3. A Unique Persona
Influencers are, undeniably, experts in their own fields. The perfect influencer to work with will spend their entire working hours immersed within the target audience that aligns with your brand, interacting with them, engaging with them on a personal level, and producing content designed for them.
The most salient and important value that an influencer has however, is their position as an individual. Consumers engage with influencers purely because they are not brands. Their voices are trusted because they are personal, individual and accessible. If the same messages and tone came from a brand employee rather than an influencer, they would almost certainly have a fraction of the success.
4. A Range of Specialist Tools and Skills
As a product of their professional lifestyle, influencers will have their own optimised methods and tools. These are invaluable when it comes to things like audience engagement, content creation, keyword optimisation, social media strategy and measuring success of campaigns.
So, who should set the rate?
Although setting a payment rate has to be a collaborative effort, it is good practice to let the influencer propose their fees and discuss from there. There are market forces at work too, let’s not forget that you will have some basis for a comparison.
In all normal situations, it is unusual for the buyer to set the terms of payment in any area of business. However, the influencer will understand that you have a certain budget, and will do their best to land on a mutually beneficial figure.