Sunday, 21 June 2020

How much should I charge for sponsored social media posts?

How much should you charge for social media sponsored posts?
Unfortunately and social media content creation is still a relatively new concept. Everyone pretty much figures out what to do as they go along as there isn't really a guide. Many people don't like to talk about money, how much they earn/charge etc as it opens up for criticism and negative comments as 'influencers shouldn't make that much money for 1 post it's crazy'. The reality is, most social media content creators are really undercharged. Especially when you're new to it. So, how much should we be charging?

The first thing I would think about is what kind of 'influencer' are you?
There are so many types of influencers nowadays: mega, macro, micro and nano are a few common terms. You don't need to have a million followers to be an influencer and you don't need to have a million followers to work with brands. 
  • Mega Influencers - 1 million+ followers, celebrities etc.
  • Macro Influencers - 100k - 1 million followers.
  • Micro - 10-100k.
  • Nano - 10k and under.
Each group can be used for different kind of influencing. If brands want to target a specific demographic or location they may use Micro or Nano influencers who are known in that age range/area, ie a new cafe in Edinburgh might reach out to bloggers or people on Instagram with under 10k followers because their demographic is people in Edinburgh. Larger brands like a fashion company might send gifted items to a mega influencer/celebrity in the hopes of them being tagged on instagram or might sponsor a macro influencer on a haul video. Smaller influencers tend to have a genuine opinion in what they promote compared to someone who is getting a large paycheck. Understanding what type of brand is reaching out to you and what they are looking for will help you understand your value.

I have been doing social media content creation for 5+ years now and even I don't have an exact answer to this question but from speaking to friends and others in the industry, I've learnt some things that might help you. If you're struggling and have came across this post googling 'how much should I charge a brand?' then here are some things to think about. 

Factors to think about
  • Is this a gifting or paid sponsorship? - If you are receiving gifting items you should not agree to do a dedicated video or Instagram posts etc unless you want to. Gifting is something that you can let a brand do and if you like the products and want to share them however you choose you can. If a brand wants a dedicated video, instagram posts, etc then I would recommend arranging a paid sponsorship. Giftings can be organised casually but paid sponsorships must have a contract in place to protect both parties involved. 
  • How large is my platform? - Are they wanting content on 1 platform or multiple? Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, etc.
  • What is my engagement rate? - Arguably, engagement rate is more important than follower count. You could have 100,000 followers but only 500 people see and interact with your posts or you could have 10,000 followers with 5,000 followers regularly liking and interacting. Smaller influencers with a high engagement rate can be more effective and charge more than larger influencers with a low engagement rate.
  • What are they asking for? - Instagram photos? Stories? A 1-2 minute feature in a video? Dedicated video?
  • How long will it take for me to complete? - Receive product, send emails, concept ideas, approval, shooting content, editing, possibly have to reshoot, etc
  • How much will it cost me? - If you have to purchase items for the content, travels costs if you are shooting somewhere specific for it, lighting/electricity etc
  • How big is the brand? - Are they a small start up company or a large corporate brand?
  • What is their budget? - Big brands usually have a larger budget compared to smaller companies so your fee would vary and depend on this
  • When is their deadline? - Are they wanting it ASAP 2 week turnaround? If so should you charge a rush fee if you have other jobs/priorities? Is it 2 months?
Once you start receiving emails regarding sponsorships you get used to being emailed on the daily so it is easy to create a 'rates template/pack' to quickly email over multiple times a week. This does not have to be set in stone but is good to set up for an idea of what you charge usually for specific kinds of contents. Usually rates are negotiable so a brand will discuss this with you but don't worry - they won't just simply say 'sorry that's too much nevermind' they WILL try to lower the rate with you. So don't be afraid of 'over charging' your worth because you do not want to settle for less. 

For sponsored content:
I have a rates pack which I send over to brands. 9/10 emails will say 'what are your rates for sponsored content?'. Brand will ask this without even discussing what the campaign is. Sometimes it is quite secretive and you might have to sign an NDA or they won't want to discuss the details of the campaign until they think you are a good fit. My response is always something around the lines of:

"Hi there,
Thanks so much for reaching out. I have attached below my rates pack which includes my demographics & analytics breakdown for all my social media platforms. What is the budget for this campaign? This sounds really interesting so would love some more information and hopefully we can work something out. Can't wait to hear back from you"

My rates are set to the highest tier I will charge but In the pack it states this is negotiable. If I am unsure on a brand/product or they are not willing to pay a fee I am happy with then I will decline. I also have my rates for Instagram, YouTube, Stories, TikTok etc as your rates might not suit the campaign budget on one platform but they might want to work on another. Ie, they might reach out about an Instagram post but settle on 3 instagram stories. There are website calculators which can give you an indication of how much you can charge a brand and these are definitely worth checking out but I wouldn't solely use this. 

For gifting:
When a brand reaches out for gifting I always specify that I am happy to try out their product but gifting does not guarantee a post. I only accept products that are interesting or I would imagine myself buying on my own. The brand will ask you for your address to ship the item to and always follow up to let them know when you receive it or how you get on. Some friends have had issues with gifting where a brand has harassed and told them they have to make a post once receiving the item so be clear on your terms from the start and if the brand is unhappy or you have issues with the product, offer to return the product and let them know why. 

How I choose my rates:
  • Speak to your friends: ask them for advice, how much their campaigns usually are etc. Not only is it important to support each other but you can also see if you are being undercharged or if your friend is being undercharged. It is so important to know if you are being scammed and look out for one another.
  • Look at previous campaigns. If you have had some sponsorship offers, how much were you originally offered?
  • What do the online calculators say? 
  • How much time/energy does it cost & take me to create the content? 
  • How successful is the content I produce expected to be?
  • What is the absolute minimum I would accept for a video? Are you happy with £20 for 3 days of hard content creation? Probably not.
  • What product am I promoting? If for example, my rate was £500 for a 1-2 min feature in the first 3 minutes of a video, and a product I am promoting is worth £200, would I settle for a flat rate of £300? Or would it have to be £500 + product on top? 

Average estimation of rates:

Speaking to friends and my previous experience here are some ideas on rates to give you a guide.
Websites like shein, zaful etc will offer $150 to everyone. 1000 - 1 million subscribers. They do not offer anything else. Cheap fast fashion brands in Asia tend to not pay or be more on the scammy side and try and get you by saying 'your views/channel is not worth more', don't let this affect you or change your mind. If a brand is offering gifting & payment, think about if you would be happy for the free clothes and the extra cash. 

Website calculators have said before that I should only charge £80-£100 for a FULL video on my channel (40,000 - 60,000 subscribers) but from my previous experience brands have originally come to me offering £300-£600 upfront. 

I always negotiate with brands original offer they will usually come to you with their lowest offer to keep their budget down but have some wiggle room, so try negotiate if you're not that happy. 

If you're just starting out and social media isn't your main source of income then anything extra is a bonus but if social media is your full time job your payment will need to reflect your budget requirements. At the end of the day you don't want to get taken advantage of for your hard work and energy but do what makes you happy. For some brands I love to work with and believe in I will promote for free and have a long time relationship with them. Others I try out and love and work with once or twice on a payment basis. Do what works best for you but only ever promote stuff you actually like, use and would buy yourself.

Things I would recommend doing:
  • NEVER pay for the product yourself if a brand says they will 'refund' you. If they want you to buy their product, get them to send you the payment first. Do not spend your own money on the product or send the brand money, this could be a scam.
  • If you are relying on this payment as part of your income some people put in the contract to have X amount of the agreed payment before the content is shot and the remaining amount once it has gone live to cover costs etc. Think about what you need and what works for you and discuss with the brand your options. Don't be afraid to ask for things, what's the worst they can do? Say no? 
  • If it involves payment instead of gifting - you MUST have a contract, no matter how large or small the brand. 
  • Put in a clause that says if a brand doesn't respond to your emails regarding approvals/changes etc within X amount of days, the deadline will be pushed. Brands tend to be really slack on email replies but still expect you to have finalised perfect content even though they spent 29 days ignoring your emails to let you know the day before they want you to re-film/re-edit content. 
  • Check the payout date - Brands LOVE to not pay you and wait until as long as possible. Make sure you read your contract and you are happy with the payment terms ie, 30 days after invoicing.
  • Send you invoice the minute they approve the content.
  • Chase up the brand if they haven't paid the day of/after deadline.

How to invoice:
Invoicing is something brands expect you to do and usually won't tell you to do. Your contract usually says something about this but to be safe I ALWAYS invoice sponsorships for my own personal records (tex, etc). Google docs, microsoft excel, pinterest, etc all have templates for an invoice. Don't worry about the design of it or looking fancy. Your invoice should have: Your Name, details, Payment method ie Bank Transfer, paypal etc (I recommend bank transfer always!!!), current date of invoice, date payment is due (which should be in your contract), the brands name, reference name for payment, price, etc. Attached below is a quick mock up/not a real one to give you an idea of how It could look using google docs. 

Do NOT forget to make it clear that your content is sponsored. The ASA are extremely strict so you must make it clear in the title of your video (#ad), in the portion of the video, #sponsored & #ad at the START of your captions, on your stories etc. Gifting is still considered a 'payment' so make sure to #sponsored/#gifting with these too. Affiliate links must also be disclosed. 

I hope this helps and if you have any suggestions of your own leave them in the comments below!

Love, Emmy 

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