Everything you Need to Know About Influencer Rates and More!

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Here’s the million-dollar question, should you pay an influencer or just give away free products? I get asked this question a lot. In my 6 years of doing influencer marketing,  brands and business owners are always curious about their rates and whether it’s worth it or not. In this blog post, I’ll help you get some clarity, so hopefully, you can make a decision that’s right for your business.

If you think about it, you’re already giving away free products. You might think that this is more than enough for them to create and post about your business/brand. Here’s the thing, nothing is ever for free nowadays, and depending on the complexity of what you’re asking from the influencers, then you should really think about how much you are willing to pay.

Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to determine whether you should do a paid collaboration or just free products with influencers.

1. How strict is my timeline and need for their content?

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This is one of the most critical questions to ask yourself. If you have a strict time frame, for example, you want to get content in time for your new collection or promotions and sales; then you should consider paying an influencer. 

If you’re giving an influencer a strict timeline, it’s like they’re doing a job for you. You’re telling them when to post and when you need it. An influencer takes time to brainstorm how they will do the content. They also spend time getting ready like hair and make-up, setting up lighting and camera, and of course, post-editing it. How much do you think this costs them? 

The last thing you want for your brand is to look desperate and stingy. You’re making demands and setting deadlines, but you don’t have enough budget for them. But don’t worry! Here’s a little surprise for you: if you don’t have a set budget for them and want to set a strict deadline, there’s another way to do it, even if you’re just sending them products.

 “Trust in brands is declining, while the power of influencers is on the rise.”


There are still influencers who are willing to do this and follow your timelines even without compensation. If you have a bigger audience than them, the leverage is on your side. You can tell them that you will feature them on your XXX,XXX followers and email list. 

If you are just starting out and are smaller than them and don’t have a set budget to pay them, don’t get disheartened, don’t give up! As I said, there will still be influencers willing to work with you. Once they tell you their rates, let them know that you are eager to send them  X amount of products of their choice. By doing this, you’re giving them the freedom to choose the products they like. You can send products equivalent to their rates. For example, an influencer charges $300 for reels. Let them know that they can choose any products worth $300 or more from your collection. It’s entirely up to you how many products you’re willing to send to make this collaboration work out.  

Now, if you don’t necessarily have a strict timeline and you are willing to wait for their content, then you can get away with just free products. Depending on how busy the influencers are, it can take 2 weeks – months. If it’s taking so long, you can always follow up with them. I can also do this for you. Check out my services here. (yasss shameless plug for me!) 
Creating authentic relationships with influencers is all about setting expectations and negotiations. Understand where they’re coming from, and know that it is a job for them. Even if many people raise an eyebrow over this, influencers are really in demand, and they spend time creating quality content. In fact, according to Forbes, more brands will work with micro-influencers to fill in the gaps in their marketing campaigns in 2022.

2. How difficult is the type of collaboration I ask from them?

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There are several types of collaborations to choose from. There are photos, IG videos, reels, Youtube videos, Livestreams, IG takeovers, giveaways, blog posts and more! 

The more challenging it is to make, the more it costs. For example, if you want influencers to do a 1000 word blog post and add links to purchase, this might cost more than, let’s say, just a tagged photo on Instagram. Since tagged photos are easier to make, you can get away with just free products. 

Photo by @mercer7official  from mercer7.com 

3. How much control do I want from this collaboration?

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If you do paid collaborations, you’re more likely to have control. You can send them briefs, guidelines of expectations, contracts, and deadlines. Since you are paying them, you get to have more freedom on how you would like this collaboration to turn out. You also have the power to reject any content that didn’t meet your expectations based on the brief and contract that your brand and the influencer agreed upon.

If you don’t mind giving them freedom and creativity to feature your products, you can opt for just free products. This may sound risky, but based on my experience, most influencers will make a post since it’s their name on the line. There are, of course, a tiny percentage of influencers that won’t deliver posts. There’s very little thing you can do here but follow up.  

Based on my experience, micro-influencers have a faster turnaround since they aren’t bombarded yet with tons of collaboration requests from other brands. So that’s something to consider when you’re thinking about giving away your products.

4. How will I use their content?

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Think about how you would like to use their content. Do you want to use them for ads? Do you want to use them on your website? If you want more rights to their content, it’s best to do a paid collaboration.

For example, you don’t want to hire a model, book a studio, hire expensive photographers and make-up artists for your website product photos. So you opt to hire an influencer instead and let them know you will use it on your website. You can tell them your budget, and send some photos of how you would like it to turn out. Paid collaborations are better for this case because you’re more likely to have power over how you would like the photos to turn out. 

If you’re just using them for your socials, for reposting or ads, there’s a strong chance that influencers will agree with free products since it benefits them as well. They get free products, and they get featured on your socials. The more valuable it is for the influencer, the more likely they will agree to do it.

5. How many influencers do I want to work with?

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Do you want to work with as many influencers as you can with the least amount of marketing budget and time? Fashion Nova is a brand that did this well; you can leverage influencer gifting and get more influencers posting about your business.

So how does it work? Focus on just 1 platform at a time. For example, you want to focus on Instagram influencers, then only choose IG influencers. Don’t spread yourself too thin by finding bloggers, Youtubers, etc. Only move on other platforms when you already have a well-oiled machine on one platform. 

Give them creative freedom, and don’t make it too complicated. Remember, you want the easiest and fastest turnaround so you can re-use their content and have an overload of influencer content to repost. If it takes too much time to create, you make it more challenging and harder for them to post right away. Posts from influencer gifting also look more authentic since they use your products and incorporate them into their daily lives.

Are you curious about influencer rates in 2022?

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I’ve been working with beauty and fashion brands for the past 6 years, and I can tell you that it depends on many factors. It depends on the influencer’s size, engagement rates, the platform, and the type of content/collaboration. 

As I mentioned in my other blog posts, I currently work with an Australian swimwear brand. (here’s my portfolio) 

Based on my experience, for tagged photos only and brand mentions, we usually do influencer giftings for this and no payments. For Instagram reels, we spend between $100-$150 for influencers with 50K-500K following, but we only pay for those with whom we already have an established relationship, so no first-timers here. 

For Youtube try on hauls, we don’t make any payments for first-time collaborations. Yes, I know, and it’s not because we are stingy! Here’s the thing, we want to make sure we establish a relationship with them first wherein it’s not all about payments and giftings, we have 100% confidence that they will love our products, and we want it to be as authentic as possible. So if it’s our first time collaborating, we offer them 6 sets of swimwear, lingerie, or outerwear. That’s around $600+ worth of products. 

If we want to collaborate with the same influencer the second time, we still send them 6 sets or more, $600+ worth of our products, plus a $200 payment for  Youtube try on hauls. We also offer to do professional editing so that they can worry less about the time spent editing their videos. We work with influencers of different sizes too, but we offer the same for everyone. 

My point here is that creating authentic relationships with influencers means looking out for influencers that will love your brand. If an influencer only focuses on numbers and earning, we understand that. However, we don’t work with those types of influencers, we respect their craft, but we want to get influencers who are willing to collaborate with us just because they like our products. We also pay them if we work longer together. We’re big fans of them, we boost their posts so they can be exposed to our audience and more, so it’s really a win-win relationship. 

Here are the average rates for Instagram influencers according to Influencer Marketing Hub

  • Nano-influencers: $10–$100 per post
  • Micro-influencers: $100–$500 per post
  • Mid-tier influencers: $500–$5,000 per post
  • Macro-influencers: $5,000–$10,000 per post
  • Mega-influencers: $10,000+ per post
  • Celebrities: Varies, but $1+ million isn’t unheard of

In conclusion, whether you have the budget to pay an influencer or not is completely up to you and your goals. With over 37.8 million influencers in the world, you’re sure to find your own tribe that will rave about your products.  

Yes, I know, you’re not for everyone, and that’s great! You want to make sure that you only work with influencers that represent your brand well and talk about your brand with lots of admiration and authenticity. Just remember to create a win-win type of collaboration with influencers to benefit them and your brand.


Thanks for making it here! If you’re interested in my influencer marketing services you can get in touch with me here. Also, let’s get in touch on IG! You can follow me at @chicmarketinglife. Thanks, friend!

I hope you’re having a day that you love.



Everything you Need to Know About Influencer Rates and More!
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