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Episode #12 What The Fab Podcast: How Much to Charge for an Instagram Post / How to Set Rates & Negotiate Brand Deals as an Influencer

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How much to charge for instagram post, by lifestyle blogger What The Fab

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#12: In this episode, we’re doing something a bit different! I recently did my first Clubhouse Chat with the ladies of Babes That Wander, a diverse travel blogger group that I’m so proud to be a part of. We hosted this chat for other bloggers/influencers to discuss and answer questions about how to set your rates and tips for negotiating brand deals. We get into: 

– The formula for setting your base rate

– Openly sharing my Instagram sponsorship rates and what I charge

– How to determine what to charge for brand exclusivity, whitelisting/boosting, and photo usage

– My two best negotiation tips for landing a higher rate

– How to make money in the travel niche

Be sure to check out and follow the @babes_thatwander account on IG as well as all of the girls who took part in this conversation: 

@livinglesh – Iesha is a petite fashion, travel, and lifestyle blogger. She has an adorable son who makes appearances on her gram, and I love her luxed but affordable looks!

@missmoorestyle – Jessica is so good at finding affordable fashion that looks expensive. Her Reels/video content is SO fun! She’s got those Tiktok transitions down.

@lauryncakes – Lauryn is based in SLC and I love her colorful/creative posts, and how she’s a vocal advocate for mental health, equality, and self-love.

@greta_hollar – Greta is based in Nashville, and she’s 5’10” so she’s a great follow for tall fashion!

@mycurlyadventures_ – Jessica is a great example of finding success through niching down! She focuses on travel, especially travel guides within Texas.

@streetsbeatseats – Casey couldn’t join this chat, but she’s a great follow for body positivity/confidence and mid-size style!

Snap a screenshot of the podcast and tag me @wtfab sharing your thoughts on this episode, so I can reshare on my Stories too! Make sure you subscribe to the podcast to stay up to date on the latest episodes and interviews. Lastly, please rate and review to support this podcast!

Find more What The Fab Podcast episodes here!

Episode Transcript:

Hey there welcome back to the What The Fab podcast! Today we are experimenting with something a little bit different.

I know that I have a mix of listeners that are influencers/content creators, and a mix that are not bloggers but are here for the lifestyle tips, productivity hacks, and interviews. For this episode, if you are not an influencer or an aspiring content creator/Instagrammer, you might not be as into it. But, this is episode twelve so we do have eleven other episodes that you can tune in to in the meantime if this is not your jam. 

If you are not an influencer but are just interested in learning the behind-the-scenes of monetization or influencer marketing costs, then you might find this interesting. And if you are a content creator then you are going to love this conversation because it’s going to be all about negotiation and setting rates when you’re working with brands.

This episode is actually a recording of my very first Clubhouse chat that I did with a group of girls. I am part of a diverse travel bloggers group that we named Babes That Wander. We actually launched at the beginning of 2020 and then the pandemic hit so we’ve basically, become a support group for each other. We are always chatting about ways to support each other and thinking about how we’re going to launch when things with this pandemic come down and we’re able to travel a bit more.

There are a bunch of great girls in this group and I will link everyone’s Instagram accounts in the show notes and the Babes That Wander handle so that you can go and check everyone out and you can give them a follow on Instagram and on Clubhouse if you’re on there.

By the way, if you are interested in joining Clubhouse, right now it’s invite-only. They keep giving me more invites and it’s like the more I use the more they give me. So, I think I have 5 invites right now. You can shoot me a DM at @wtfab on Instagram and we will get you hooked up. Right now it’s iPhone only. I’m sure they’ll be expanding to android later on but, it is what it is for now.

Part of why I wanted to record our Clubhouse chat was because I got a lot of feedback from a lot of other bloggers and people that wanted to join but, couldn’t make it at the time we were hosting the chat or they didn’t have an invite yet for Clubhouse. So, I wanted to put this up for a podcast episode for it to be easily accessible and shareable. 

With that being said, because it was an off-the-cuff Clubhouse chat, the audio is not pristine like the usual when I record it by myself with my Yeti microphone and my whole sound system and everything. But, we’re just gonna go with it and give it a try. The content is there. The information is there. If you were looking to better understand how to set rates, the potential pitfalls and challenges that you can come across when you’re negotiating as a content creator, things to look out for, and contracts, all that kind of stuff. 

If you would like to connect with us over on our Babes That Wander account, we are @babes_thatwander, and hopefully soon after this pandemic is over, we’re going to be hitting the road, hopping on some flights together, and going on some trips and creating some travel content together. 

We really created this group when we saw that there was a need for a more diverse group of travel bloggers. You do see a lot of girls that look the same going on these press trips and it was time to shake things up. So, we’re really excited for the future and what that holds for Babes That Wander.

So let’s get into how to set your rates and negotiate with brands. I’m going to do my best to recap the first 15 minutes or so of the clubhouse conversation because I had not hit the record yet when we were in the middle of that chat.

How Much to Charge for an Instagram Post

Basically, I started off the conversation by talking about a basic formula for figuring out how to set your rate for a sponsored Instagram post. This formula is something that I feel like maybe three or so years ago was more of like the standard. And now, things have changed within the industry. There are things such as exclusivity and photo usage rights and boosting and also something called whitelisting that we’re not really a thing three or four years ago. And so those are all things that can add more and more to your rate and adjuster rate by increasing it when those things are asked of you. 

So, the basic formula is to take your following number and divide it by a hundred. If you have a hundred thousand followers and you divide that by 100, that would be your rate. It would be a thousand dollars. That was really helpful a few years ago for figuring out what your rate should be. However, if you have let’s say 10,000 followers, you’re probably considered a micro-influencer at that point. But, that’s not nothing. 10,000 followers is a lot of people and it’s absolutely worth more than a hundred dollars for you to create an Instagram post. 

You need to also be thinking that this might be the base rate, but then you also have to account for your time. You have to account for other potential expenses. Do you work with a photographer? Do you need props for the shoot? Think about all of that and keep that in mind. And so even though you might be working with a smaller bare minimum base rate, you also want to tack on enough to compensate you properly for your time and your expenses. Also if you get really high story views or reach, you can charge more for that.

Then, you also want to increase your rate based on the other requests that a brand might have. As I mentioned earlier, things like exclusivity is something that when a brand requires or requests that there’s some sort of exclusivity period. I always, first of all, try to negotiate the period down. So if they ask for three months, I say can we do one month? If they ask for four weeks, I say, can we do two weeks? I always try to negotiate down that exclusivity period. And of course, you should then be increasing your rate to account for that exclusivity period. I’ve seen so many different ways that people calculate how to charge for exclusivity. The way that I usually do it is for every month that I am exclusive with that brand, I double my rate.

I am really passionate about talking about specific numbers and encouraging women to be more open about talking about their money, talking about how they’re making it, what they’re making, and income reports, those kinds of things.

So, I’m going to share with you guys what I charged for my Instagram posts. It completely depends on the brand and the requests, but my standard rate is 1800 per post. And so that’s kind of taking that basic formula of dividing my Instagram following; I’m like 130 something thousand Instagram followers right now I’m dividing that by a hundred, so that gets me 1300 and then adding on some time and an expense for my hours and other expenses that it takes for me to create my content. With that in mind, if a brand is asking me for a month of exclusivity, I’m going to be asking them for 3,600 at the bare minimum

Exclusivity, Photo Usage Rights, and Whitelisting

Exclusivity. I feel like a lot of bloggers just kind of ignore that because they’re so excited to work with the brand. But, exclusivity is a big deal when you think about what to charge for your sponsored posts. And you can get into a pickle when brands ask for crazy long exclusivity like a year. You just don’t know what kinds of opportunities are going to come your way. So, if they want that kind of exclusivity, then they have to pay for it. They need to make it worth your while to be able to say no and turn down other brands within that brand category if that is what they’re requesting. 

Another thing that brands sometimes request is photo usage rights. Whenever I’m working with a brand I always let them know that they are welcome to reuse my photos on their social media, with credit to me.

That means not just tagging me in the photo, but tagging me clearly. In the caption. I’ve also had brands try to be sneaky and think it’s cute to reuse my photos and tag me in a story, but to put my handle underneath their Instagram profile, picture, and name, and I absolutely call them out when that happens, because that’s not okay. People can’t tap through to see my profile and check me out. I’m getting zero exposure from that. You are literally just using my images and not giving me the proper credit. So that’s something to watch out for and keep in mind as well. 

In terms of if a brand wants to use your photos on their website, their email newsletter, maybe they want to use it as a product image; it could be in print or digital. That is absolutely something that you need to be compensated for. Do not give up your photo rights just because you’re working on a paid campaign that is separate. I think it can get a little bit tricky and people can feel unsure of what the proper amount is to ask for, but there is a really great tool.

Getty images has this photo usage rights calculator that you can use which I will link below. It is so great because you can go through and it will ask you questions like, how is this photo being used? Is it digital? Is it print? Is it social? If it’s social, how long can they use it for? And how many followers do they have? So you just kind of input these numbers and then it spits out a rate for you. I feel like nine times out of 10, the rate that Getty images suggest to me is higher than what I would have originally been thinking. You can also use that to back yourself up when you are requesting that fee and say that you’ve used Getty images photo license calculator and it’s saying that you should be charging $2,000 for this photo or whatever it is. So, it’s definitely a great way to kind of back it up with some data and authority if you’re unsure of how to present that to a brand. 

The third thing that I see requests for from brands that you should absolutely be asking for additional compensation for is whitelisting or boosting your posts. Basically the brand has given access to your Facebook and Instagram so that they can put money behind and boost your post from your page.

So, when somebody is scrolling on Facebook, they will see an ad, showing that it is sponsored, but it will be coming from your page with your profile on it. And it’ll be the content that you shot for that brand. But if somebody clicks on the learn more or shop now button, it’s going to take them to the brands’s website.

I personally don’t love white listing and we do chat about this more in this episode with some of the other girls, but to me, it can feel a little bit inauthentic because you’re scrolling on your feed, you see this post from What The Fab, and you think that when you click on it, it’s going to lead you to a blog post on, but it actually leads you to a product sales page. Which is  kind of like this jarring realization that you’ve just clicked on an ad and maybe I didn’t even realize it. So, that’s something to keep in mind and to absolutely charge for.

I kind of keep the same numbers in mind. Like for every 30 days, I’m going to ask you for double my rate. That’s kind of the quick and dirty for how to figure out and set your rates and then the things to be keeping in mind for additional requests and increasing and adjusting your rates.

Paid Instagram Posts – Negotiation Tips

Based on that. I also want to give a couple of negotiation tips that have really helped me out in the past.

When I’m negotiating with a brand, I, number one, really want to see if I can get the brand to suggest a rate and let me know what their budget is firsthand. Sometimes that’s not possible and they would really want to know what your number is. But if you can flip it around and turn it back on the brand and say, “Oh, I’d love to know like what your budget is. Then we can discuss it deliverables and make that rate, try to make that rate work.”, that’s a good way to kind of turn it around because it’s like negotiation one on one. The first person to throw out a number loses because if I put out a number and I say 1800, but the brand was thinking 3000, that’s 1200 bucks that I just lost out on. Even though there are these suggestions on how to figure out and set your rates it really still is the wild wild west out there. I know from chatting with people on the brand side or like the PR agency side that they see rates all over the place. So, don’t feel like you are asking a crazy amount or asking too much because I guarantee you this brand has already seen it and then some in terms of amounts that influencers are asking for. So, that’s my first tip for negotiation is to try to get the brand, to let you know what they had in mind for their budget, for these deliverables. 

Then hand-in-hand with that, tip number two is that I always ask for more money. So, if I can get a brand to let me know what budget they had in mind, let’s say they say $2,000, then I’m going to come back with, “Hey, I’d really love to work with you on this. But the rate that I had in mind for these deliverables was closer to $4,000. Could we meet in the middle at three? Nine times out of 10 they say yes, because they want to work with you too. And if you’re letting them know that you had a slightly higher number in mind, but you’re willing to kind of meet in the middle, hopefully they can meet you halfway.

I also would say, I have never scared off a brand by asking for too much or asking for more. If the budget’s not there, it’s not there and they will tell you that. And then at that point, it’s up to you to make the decision if you want to work with them based on that budget or not. But, I have never had a brand ghost me because the amount that I put out was too much.

So, something to keep in mind when you’re negotiating, you can and should ask for more. This is also why I never include my rates in my media kit—it’s always negotiable!

Now let’s dive into the Clubhouse chat. When I first hit record, we were talking about whitelisting and I actually learned some things from a couple of my fellow bloggers that I didn’t know beforehand. So let’s get into it!

“I would definitely second the asking who is going to get boasted to, and definitely charging more for something like that, because it doesn’t really translate into a positive outcome for you, the influencer, it’s really just them getting free content to use for an ad. And also like Lauren said, making it seem like it’s an organic thing that’s coming from you and not from them.”

“I will add, because I recently talked to a marketer and they even explained that, whitelisting can affect your engagement after as well for a short time. So, it is something that you do want to charge. I fell into the exact same hole getting boosted to the wrong people. We are finding in particular people who had a lot of racist comments. But in addition, seeing as the change in engagement while I guess maybe the algorithm was trying to figure out who these new people were that weren’t, or maybe interested in the ad, but weren’t interested in my content or engaging in the same way. So that’s something you definitely want to consider with whitelisting as well.

“And then one last thing I would add when it comes to whitelisting and boosting is one; when you are figuring out what to charge a brand, ask them a number of factors such as, other than the audience, I think was spoken about is how long they’re going to be boosting it for and in what platforms, because they may take your Instagram posts and boosts it to Facebook or other platforms because it’s linked. Also, ask them whether they’re going to, again, put those, shop pages on now with Instagram, having the option where you can share right on the app. A lot of brands are buying into that and using influencer content to boosts and whitelists and then adding their products on there.

And of course, you know, as many of us, we were looking to see commission from that we’re doing the work, we’re creating the content. So if they’re looking to add those options on, ask for a commission, it doesn’t hurt. I mean, when you are negotiating whitelisting and boosting, you’re allowed to ask those questions and put those in and saying that if someone gets a sale, from yours, if it wasn’t initially in there, see if you can factor that out or factor in, especially if they’re adding on the products or collecting it to a shop.

But while we’re closing out this part of the topic, I want to reset the room. Let remind. We are the Babes That Wander group, minus one, she just couldn’t make it today, but we’ll be doing these chats possibly every other week on a variety of topics that work into the influencer world, as well as talking about diversity and travel and other niches. We’ll open up the room to a Q&A, and then have you all ask your questions, and then we’ll just let the ladies answer as needed. So I see Becca. Would you like to ask your question?”

“I can’t remember who mentioned it, but someone said that whenever they receive rates from a brand they always go back asking for more. And if you could kind of share a little bit about how you word that. I definitely struggled with my confidence in asking for more and I do feel like that’s something I could use a little bit of guidance on the wording of how you respond back, asking for more. Kind of what you put behind it to make it, sound worthy of asking for more.

This was actually something that I started experimenting with while I was still working full-time at Google and my blog was my side hustle. I knew that I wanted to turn my blog into my full-time business. I just wasn’t really sure when that was going to happen for me. And so I thought, okay, I’m going to take a year and I’m just going to hustle and pitch and negotiate my ass off and just experiment with different negotiation tactics and see what works for me and see what doesn’t. And that kind of gave me the confidence, obviously, I had my Google salary going for me. So if I lost a brand deal because I asked for too much money, I’m fine. I’m just going to experiment with it.

But what I found out was when I asked for more money, they just gave me more money. So it definitely was a huge confidence booster for me to experiment with that. In terms of specifically how I asked for that, sometimes I straight up say that the number that they give me is just not quite what I would have asked for.

So I just let them know my standard rate for an Instagram post is $1,800. And I really appreciate your offer of a thousand but, can we either negotiate down some of the deliverables? So maybe they asked for carousel posts and five Instagram Stories frames, I ask, can we negotiate that down to a static image? Do two-story frames and meet somewhere in the middle.

That usually works really well for me because you are giving them a couple of options where it’s not just giving me more money, but it’s also, this is my standard rate. You’re not quite meeting it, but, I want to work with you and we can also kind of help to even that out by decreasing the amount of work and deliverables.

Now the other example would be, sometimes a brand will offer me more than what I would have asked for. In that case, they obviously have the budget. So, I will kind of upsell them. 

Let’s say a brand offers me $3,000 for an Instagram post and exclusivity and whitelisting. And that is about what I would have asked for. I would follow up with them and say, “This sounds really great. I was thinking closer to 4,000. Can we meet in the middle or can we meet around that number? I’m also happy to include a second set of Instagram stories the following week.” or  “I have a gift guide coming up that I could include you in.”

So, I’m giving them a little bit more. They obviously have the budget. So I’m kind of going in for a little bit more of a rate there. And like I said, 9 times out of 10, they either say yes right away or we meet in the middle.

I had posted about a brand on one of my Instagram posts and they DMed me and said how much they liked my posts. So then, later on, I went back and asked them to do a collab with them, or if they were interested in doing a giveaway.

And so I wanted to know moving forward if that was to happen again, how would I be able to approach them for doing a collab I got paid for versus just a gifting collab? And I’m still pretty small at this blogging thing. I just started this year. How do I kind of instigate that versus just getting the collab?

That happens quite frequently as to whether it’s a DM or as I’m sure many people have seen you get the comment on your post saying, “Oh, we love your image. Can we use it?”. And they try to get to use your image for free. 

The first thing that I deal with when that happens, especially if it’s through DM, is I would ask for a direct email address. I try not to do negotiations within DM because a lot of times the person on the Instagram that’s monitoring it or managing it is not the person that can make decisions when it comes to the marketing budget. So, by getting that direct email and then even screenshotting the DM and putting it in the email itself saying this was what you were all reached out for. Then saying, “Here’s what I could offer you. What is your budget?”.

So even setting them a pitch of what else it could look like. So even though they reached out, they loved your posts in that email where you’re sending, still pitch yourself. Stoll send out a brand new, fresh idea that they might not be thinking about. And then as they catch onto it and love it you can say, “Well, if you would like an Instagram post, what’s your budget? Here’s my rates.”, and move from that. It happens quite frequently. You may just get a “We don’t have a budget right now. We’re only doing gifted campaigns.”. And you can say, “Well, that’s great. You can send me gifts.”. It’s not guaranteed for a post because essentially at that point it’s considered compensation, which you have to actually file taxes for. But don’t sit there and just take it so that you’re only going to get paid in gifts because your time is valuable.

I have lots of notes on my phone with Pitches or things that I’ve written up to respond to brands. I absolutely agree with Iesha. I do not handle brand negotiations in my DMs. It’s not searchable. It gets lost. So I always ask people to go ahead and email me.

Language is everything I used to teach English. So the power of your words can absolutely help them understand where you’re coming from. So I usually say, “Hi, thank you for reaching out right now. The Lauren cakes team is only taking on partnerships that pay upfront for content creation and access to an engaged audience. With that said I’m open to receiving gifted products on a no strings attached basis. If I love the product, it will be organically introduced into my social media or a blog on my own timeline. If the brand is interested, I’d love to discuss how we can work together on a social media partnership and advertising. Please send me an email at…”, and then I include my email address.

So a couple of notes that I will add in there. I said, my team so that they know that you, I mean, even if you’re not a team it’s, you’re running your business, like a team, we’re doing photography, styling, you know, hairstyling makeup, you’re doing the whole shipping here. So you technically are a team. I asked them to reach out to me via email. I told them that gifted products are no strings attached on my own timeline if I want to share them. But I would prefer to do a paid partnership.

And if it is a small brand, that’s reaching out, I say, “Hey, as a small business myself, I understand smaller budgets.” You want them to understand that you are a business, just as much as they are, and you understand that finances can be tricky and tough, but that you still expect to be paid for your work.

So I am under 10,000 followers. I think I’m around 6,900 or 7,000. So I don’t know if people at my size, my website doesn’t get much traffic. I don’t know if people at my size can request payment for travel content. Tthis is with hotel stays, but do you think I would be able to negotiate a hotel same brand deal. And do you think it would be one where I can get paid or at my size it would be one where I’m not getting paid? I’m just getting the exchange of the space. And do you think at certain tiers, like there’s five star hotels and there’s like mom and pop bed and breakfast, do you think that certain tiers it gets more flexible just because they have a department that handles marketing? What’s your take on that? 

I would say in my experience, travel is a really difficult niche to get compensated to get paid campaigns, especially if your account is on the, the nano influencer or micro-influencer side. Not to say it’s impossible. And I think there are ways to get creative with that. I’ve had success, when my account was smaller with Image rights and getting paid for that.

What makes it so difficult to get paid for hotel stays is that you know everybody wants to stay at hotels and for free and plenty of people are willing to, do a lot of deliverables; blog posts, Instagram posts, stories around just a free hotel stay.

So why would a hotel be motivated to pay you? I will say what worked for me in the past was, and I mentioned earlier that my blog is travel and lifestyle, I would create kind of an itinerary for myself. This is obviously during non pandemic times, but create an itinerary for myself. Secure media stays with hotels, media meals with restaurants, media experiences with activities and kind of curate this itinerary for myself. And then I would go and pitch the lifestyle brands and I would tell them how I would be shooting on location.

Let’s say it’s a sunscreen brand and I would create this story for them that they could envision themselves in. Like I’m going to be in Costa Rica. I’m going to be staying at this beautiful resort. I’m going to shoot your sunscreen by the infinity pool. And so that was a good way and a good hook for me to get paid deals with lifestyle brands that might not have been as enticing if I was gonna take a flat lay in my bathroom of your sunscreen.

Like having more of a story around it was helpful for me, especially when I was kind of starting to dive into the travel portion of my blog and that niche while also wanting to find a way to be compensated.

I would say definitely on the getting paid as hard. I’m actually trying to transition to that right now for our hotels and the biggest thing that I know going forward is I have to use analytics. I have to show that I can provide booking. So if you are getting commissione to hotel stays, try to see what you can do as far as some referral code. Then check that number so you can use that in the future.

I’m not saying do referral codes for every single hotel or for every single collaboration. I think that’s hard to keep track of, but, if no one is going to do well and you are confident that you’re going to get bookings, use that to drive data for when you’re reaching out. Now if you haven’t gotten to come to hotel stay before I really recommend looking your own hotel and creating the best content you possibly can.And I can understand that hotels might not always be in budget. So the second option could be to book for instance like a pool pass or something or resort pass or something similar and try to get other content such as restaurants, and the other amenities there. And then again, just take really great pictures, get really good content, and drive people there.

Two things I will say about that is one: make sure that the hotel themselves doesn’t have some crazy photo policy. I know some hotels do not like people coming in and taking pictures without their permission.

And then the second one is the biggest things. When I’ve talked to hotels and travel ban brands as to why they don’t approve influencers or content creators is because they don’t see any similar content on their feed or when they do see content where the top hotels are tabbed. It’s usually a more close-up picture of the person. It seems more like a fashion or a lifestyle post where it really does need to be a travel post that highlights the hotel or the amenities and make someone go, “I want to stay there.”

I’ve heard that from a travel brand that that I’ve worked with a few times, it’s experience Scottsdale. And one thing that stuck with me that they said is when we look at somebody’s feed and determine if we want to work with them, I want to see photos that tell a travel story that make me think, “Where is she and how can I go there and experience it? Not who is she? And what is she wearing?”.

Have y’all had any luck partnering with Airbnb or some of the smaller travel companies like Getaway.

I did a brand deal with a resort up in Oregon in 2019 and let me just stress the importance of contracts and reading your contracts. This was like one of the first instances where I got paid to do a travel collaboration. It wasn’t just a trade or stay. AndI created all this content for them, videos, everything, and they loved it. Then a year later they came back and basically they were kind of telling me that they were about to put my photos in like a print ad in a magazine.

And I was like, “Wait, excuse me. That was not part of the deal. If you want to put my images in a print ad bag of Eaton, it’s going to cost. X Y and Z.”.

And at first it was like a little back and forth because they were like, “No, you let us have image rights. And then we pulled up the contract and sure enough, no image rights.”

So I basically had to negotiate with them again for a separate contract where they had to pay me additionally, for those image rights to use in a print ad.

Probably that one quick thing too. it’s so important. When I do offer photos, I specifically make sure to mention for social media use with crediting only. And that has protected me a lot of times when brands have tried to use it in their own paid campaigns. Because I have it in writing that this was only for social media reuse.

Yeah, I was just going to say, no matter what you do, when it comes to travel blogging, always make sure you have a contract. Find a lawyer to draw something out for you.

I have something in my contract that if a brand uses my photo without telling me they have to pay me a crazy, crazy fee. And when they see that it makes them scared and they don’t do it. So always make sure that you have your own contract. Make sure if you are sending theirs that you have you look over it really carefully or have your lawyer look over it.


I would also add that even if it’s just a free stay and not a paid campaign, it’s good to have a contract so that you’re all clear on the deliverables. One thing that I’ve had to learn the hard way is that I also need to include a line in my contract that basically states that while these are the deliverables that I’m aiming for, at the end of the day, it’s up to me based on the experience, if I am able to fulfill those deliverables.

Because I have had a couple of experiences where I had a media stay, a free stay at a hotel and had a horrific experience. And would literally, like you could not pay me to stay there again. And I would never ever recommend that hotel to a friend or my followers or anyone, like one example was the heat was broken and it was freezing and we just shivered all night and no one came to help us. Then the housekeeper just walked in without even knocking while I was naked, like totally ridiculous. I cannot recommend that hotel to my followers because if they book it and have a similar experience, they’re going to be like, “What the hell Elise, I just spent my hard earned money on this hotel.”

So sometimes hotels get freaked out by that when I want to include that in the contract. But I just explained to them and give them that context that this is only if I have a really horrible experience which I don’t anticipate having. I just have to maintain the integrity of my blog and what I’m recommending to my readers.

I just wanted to shout out some words you should look out for in contracts when it comes to photo ownership, these are words that immediately, when I see them, they are huge red flags for me.
Irrevocable is a word for me in a contract. You’ll usually see it under ownership in a contract. So make sure that you are reading these things thoroughly, because as I said, words matter. So irrevocable means that you cannot take that away from them. In perpetuity it means like forever. I hate that word. I don’t want anybody to own my photos forever.

words that I also do not like, and give me a red flags and I always go back to the brand and asked to change these. Reuse, reproduce, exhibit throughout the world, copyright usage, all of these are words that you want to look into. Without limitation is another one. These are all words that are taking away your rights as the owner of photos and getting them to the brand in your contract can essentially take away your rights to charge for a photo if they were to stick it up on a billboard.

If you signed that away on your contract, they don’t have to pay you any further things for using your image on that billboard because you signed away your ownership. So be very careful and come through your contracts with a fine tooth comb.

I really appreciate that in this industry, a lot of influencers preach about knowing your worth, not working for free, but if you’re starting out. So kind of from the beginning, I spent a lot of time pitching. I had a great engagement rate. I feel like I bring a lot of value. I have a little over 2000 followers, but they’re loyal. I feel like I have actual influence with them, even though I’m small. But I feel like I’m noticing kind of a glass ceiling when I’m talking with brands.

I kind of feel like maybe they’re reporting back to their superiors. Maybe they need to have like massive numbers for the people that we’re working with. So I get a lot of responses back that. Kind of just immediately say they only work with big influencers as a rule. So I kind of feel like I’m in like a chicken and the egg situation.

So I’m wondering, is it more important to keep pitching or should I invest that time into trying to grow faster so I can actually get a better return on the pitches I’m sending?

I mean numbers do matter to a certain degree. And that’s not to say that you don’t have value as a nano or micro influencer. You absolutely do. But like you’re saying, brands do care about numbers. The time it takes, let’s say, if they can get 10 influencers with 10,000 followers to reach a hundred thousand followers or one influencer to reach a hundred thousand followers, the 10 influencers is beneficial in its own way, but it’s also 10 more emails and follow-ups and contracts and going back and forth they have to work with.

So that’s kind of from the brand perspective, one reason why sometimes they tend to prefer a larger following. But each point it is going to be a little bit different. I will say that you do want to spend a lot of time growing your following in the beginning, because I guess you’re going to have to do less work because brands are naturally going to find you, you spend so much time just giving into your community and building your community and building your following that they will kind of be your advocates even more.

And so instead of maybe even when you are pitching, maybe find ways where you’re finding mutually beneficial opportunities to get the exposure back. I think exposure is still a really good thing when it’s done right. So not getting a free product for exposure, but seeing opportunities.

I love a good takeover when it’s possible. I love a small giveaway. I don’t like the big, large Louis Vuitton giveaways, but something that’s more localized and completely relevant to your following. Attracting the right followers is something that can be very beneficial collaborating with other bloggers in your location or in your same niche.

Your following is also going to do really well so that your community is getting more value. And then the brands are reaching out.
I think that we’re all kind of fighting the algorithm beast these days. And it’s harder to grow on social media than ever besides maybe TikTok.

So if you are in that and you’re feeling like you can’t get brands to respond or want to pay you, what I would focus on is your skills in your niche. 

Photography is a great skill and if you’re able to present a brand with a portfolio of your fantastic content creation skills, your following might not matter because maybe they want to buy your images from you and you don’t even need to post to your following.

And you can be doing these sorts of things while you’re building your following. And until you can get a brand to respond to that, that’s what I would focus on is. Your skills, your SEO, anything that will help you become a better blogger and have a depth of knowledge.

I’m a chronic illness and disability content creator. And it’s kind of interesting. I have about 61,000 followers on TikToK and then almost 5K on Instagram. And it’s really interesting because I actually feel like I’m hearing a lot of things that are different.

People are saying like TikTok is kind of having a lot of engagement. But I’m noticing Instagram’s having a lot of engagement. I’m getting a lot more sales from Instagram.

How’s it possible to get my bigger audience to talk. Like get sales and such like that. 

I have my own small business as well, and also for, um, brands as well. Yeah. Um, so it’s a good question. 


I have found to talk to me amazing. But for instance, for brands, I’m still noticing that brands are still learning to talk. If they could get on TikTok faster, that would be amazing because it’s exponential growth that I think a lot of brands aren’t taking advantage of. 

I’m kind of doing the same thing as you. Filtering a lot of thoseTikTok ollowers over to Instagram. And I think the fact that you have a product. Is probably one of the best things that you can do to kind of drag people through there.

Then just another thing, if you really are trying to get sales for a brand product, you can choose like a link in yout bio. People on TikTok are actually very interested in buying products. They sell out of things in store shelves in a day and go crazy. It’s just, you really have to dig into that, why you need this now. Kind of this balance of you are selling it, but it’s still this organic, why I love this going people, why they need it.

It’s really interesting. Cause I made a video on TikTok and I then posted it on Instagram reels and it went pretty viral. I got like like 30 sales and all my items are handmade. I’m just kind of curious because a lot of people say like, if it goes viral on TikTok, it’ll go viral on Instagram. And I’ve actually seen a lot of my Instagram videos that don’t do well in TikTok do well on Instagram.

So I found out even from my own experience, as well as talking to some other influencers within this group and outside of this group, that what does well on TikTok doesn’t always do well on Instagram, especially because they’re running on two opposite algorithms.

One of the things with Instagram reels is Instagram is pushing reels a whole lot harder, because they’re trying to basically take over and pull people away from TikTok. Whereas TikTok just kind of over there, like we’re TikTok, so we’re just gonna let everything run. Because we don’t really need to compete with Instagram because Instagram is not keeping up with us right now.

Whereas Instagram is like, I’m trying to play the catch up game. So your reels might go viral on Instagram because of the fact that Instagram is pushing it so much, whereas you’re just kind of working within the regular algorithm in TikTok. 

If you had questions personally today, or you just didn’t have the time to answer, or you just got a little bit shy, um, you can always. Connect with us. You can follow us on Clubhouse. They hear about future Clubhouse rooms that we’re going to host. As well as following us on Instagram to see what we’re doing as well. Send us Dms there and connect with us, we would love that.

And then basically, if there’s any other topics you would love to hear about, feel free slide into our DMs and say, “I would love to hear you all talk about this.”

We’re going to be trying to do this every other week, hosting these rooms and sharing tidbits, along with setting rates, negotiating brand deals, working within your niche, growing on social media, on the different platforms, growing as a blog, and selling your own products.

As you know, with all of us, we do a great amount of those things.

We want to thank you all for being here. If you have any final parting words, we’ll keep it quick. So we’re not holding up everyone for the entire day. Thanks everyone. Hope to connect with you guys then. Thank you for spending your Friday night with us. We appreciate it. And we can’t wait to see you next time.

Well, that was our clubhouse chat. All about setting rates and negotiating deals with brands. I hope that it was helpful for you those of you who are Instagram influencers. And if this is your first time tuning into the What The Fab podcast, I’d love it if you could subscribe so we can keep in touch and you’ll get notifications for new episodes.

We have, like I said, more chats like this one, all about blogging and running your business coming up. And I also cover a lot of just lifestyle and productivity, hacks, some fun and interesting interviews with other women coming up.

I’d also love it if you could connect with me over on Instagram, I am @wtfab over there and would love to hear what you think if you learned anything particularly enlightening from this episode and this conversation

I’d love it if you could screenshot the episode and share it on your stories, be sure to tag me so I can reshare it too.

All right. Well, until next time we will chat soon!


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