Social Media

Influencer Incentive Broken Down

When you have decided to collaborate in conjunction with social media influencers to promote your business, a major question remains to be addressed: How will you pay them?

Influencers can’t be hired for free. You’ll need to offer them something to pay for their services in the creation of content. Luckily there are different kinds of incentives that you can provide. There are influencers to suit all budgets, as well.

Assess what you can offer

Let me begin by saying that while planning campaigns, it’s essential to be aware of two important aspects:

  • What do influencers charge for their services?
  • What is the maximum amount you are willing to offer as an incentive?

In general, the greater the number of followers an influencer has, the higher they will charge, but other elements such as engagement rate and content type are also important. For instance, the cost of a video is more than a photo post, and both are more expensive than an ephemeral Instagram Story.

It’s best to conduct some research on this and consider the sort of content you require for your campaign prior to when you begin looking for influencers. This way, you’ll be aware of what you can provide and then use these numbers to guide your influencer search.

If you are aware, for example, that you’re only able to pay influencers by offering free products, don’t waste your time searching for influencers with loads of followers. They’ll not be attracted by that kind of reward (unless it’s a truly fantastic and valuable product).

In this scenario, it’s better to look for the nano influencers (with 1-5K followers) that are amenable to smaller-scale incentives.

Types of incentive

There are many methods to pay influencers but the three most commonly used are:

  • Services, products or experiences
  • Flat fee
  • Commission-based models


The majority of brand collaborations include some type of product or service that is free. This is because when an influencer creates their own content it is important to receive something from your brand that they can display.

In the case of small campaigns, brands can offer individualized packages to each influencer. In larger campaigns, or when logistics are an issue, you may also offer influencers a voucher that they can redeem on your store or website.

Vouchers are also useful since they permit the influencer to select the items that they love the most. And the more enthusiastic the influencer is about the product and brand, the more likely they’ll be to develop captivating content for their followers.

Keep this in mind when you are sending certain products directly to influencers. Find out which variant they like most. Are they interested in blue or red? What about the Swedish massage, or Shiatsu massage? Make sure you find out so that your company’s image makes the best impression you can.


The other way to pay influencers is with fees. Fees differ in accordance with the number of followers and engagement rate. Additionally, they differ according to the country’s economy. Vietnam and France aren’t the same, and neither is Wyoming and Manhattan.

You can pay influencers in flat fees. These are exactly what they sound like: you pay a specific monetary amount for a service. So maybe it’s $200 per post or $500 per video. Flat fees are a one-time payment, which can be paid upfront, after the fact, or half before and half after.

Commission-based models permit you to pay influencers in relation to the value they can contribute to your marketing campaign. For influencer marketing, you often make use of the cost-per-acquisition, also known as CPA, to calculate influencer commissions.

This model assumes that the term “acquisition” is based on what you want to define it as a sign-up, sale, and so on. CPA can be used on a fixed and variable scale. For example, for a sales campaign, you may offer influencers $5 per sale they bring in, or you might offer them 5%.

Many influencers don’t accept commissions by themselves, but you could combine them with a flat fee and/or free products to create an appealing incentive package.

A few tips

Here are a few suggestions to remember when you are defining and negotiating influencer incentive:

  • If you’re shipping a package make sure you account for shipping and handling in your budget and deadlines. Allow a bit of flexibility to deal with delays due to the current circumstances our world is currently in.
  • Contracts are great when you’re paying for fees or commissions. When you’re closing deals on free products alone, it’s not always necessary. Contracts can actually scare away newer influencers, like nano influencers.
  • Managers often drive fees up by about 20%. This is one reason the top influencers are more expensive to hire.
  • Be aware of your brand’s limitations. If you’re a startup with a limited budget and are able to offer only free products, you should find influencers who will be willing to accept that.


As with other factors associated with influencer campaigns, incentives aren’t an all-purpose solution. Be aware of your brand’s goals, mission, and budget and use that information to locate influencers that meet your requirements.

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