One of my most asked questions about brand collaborations on Instagram is how to turn gifted offers into paid collaborations. No matter the size and experience, content creators and influencers alike seem to share the same dilemma: how to get paid sponsorships on Instagram, and how to get past the “we’d love to send you a gift in exchange for a post” or “I’m sorry, we have no budget at this time”. Although there’s so much that comes into play when it comes to negotiating and locking paid collaborations on Instagram, there are some simple responses to get you started that can, hopefully, give you practice and build your confidence.
When I got started as an influencer in 2012, I absolutely had no idea how to work with brands or even how to ask to be paid as a microinfluencer. At the same time, the career as an influencer was still very new and paid collaborations on Instagram were close to non-existent. I thought you can only get paid with your YouTube channel. I also thought that I needed to have at least 50,000 followers to even start thinking about monetizing. I was always under the impression that I had to earn my badges and that small influencers don’t get paid to work with brands.
BOY WAS I WRONG AF.
I got my first paid offer in 2015, and at the time, I didn’t even know I could get paid that much money for an Instagram post. At the same time, I wasn’t sure where to begin asking for compensation. I felt like I had mastered the art of pitching to, networking with and building relationships with brands, but I didn’t have the confidence to turn those gifted offers into paid sponsored posts.
With getting discouraged, I decided to take a step back from the influencer role for two years, but coming back in 2018, I was fully determined to conquer the world of negotiation and locking paid collaborations. It took me an entire year to build the confidence to ask me what I’m worth, but if there’s some advice I can give you, it’s these:
My hope with this post is for you to get a general overview of the verbiage and my responses, so you can stop working for free. Let’s dive into examples.
The Brand may have mentioned they want to gift you some free product to try in exchange for a post, or even give you a discount code to use for your followers.
You can even be a little more direct with your response and tell them you only accept paid sponsorships.
You’re new to influencer marketing, but you want to build the relationship with the Brand, and it’s a Brand that you would LOVE to work with. You could also be a little more experienced with content creation and it’s a local small business you want to support.
Offering content creation for their socials or website could be a great way to create branded content, especially if you don’t really have a big following yet. And if the Brand likes your work, they could easily come back for more, or even contract you for a longer partnership. You can also build the relationship with the Brand this way by accepting the gifted partnership, but asking for what’s coming up on their campaign calendar.
Some brands may be stingy with this information, but there will be brands who are happy to share, especially if they deem you as a professional.
Although the offer is paid, it seems low for the amount of work you have to do. Maybe you have the swipe up option for your stories. Maybe your engagement rate is higher than influencers your size.
You ask them to send you an email so that you can send them the file for the requested content, but obviously you want to get compensation for your work.
Create a slideshow of the requested content with the B-roll footage you have so you can let the Brand choose. You never know, maybe they’ll ask for more assets.
You’ve pitched to a lot of Brands, but you keep getting responses offering a gifted Instagram collaboration. You’re frustrated and you are looking for the Brand who has a budget.
Sometimes, it’s better to be direct and cut to the chase to save the time negotiating and getting nowhere. It also gets the Brand to see you more as a professional than just another influencer trying to work with a Brand. Because at the end of the day, you are offering your services to them.
It has the exact tools and strategies that I use that landed me $35,000 in brand collaborations in 2019, and $50,000 in 2020 at 30,000 followers. You get:
If it’s your dream to land 4-figure paid collaborations on Instagram, this is your sign! Grab it here!
This PDF includes tips, tricks, & expert advice on how I've grown my Instagram. This isn't just ANYTHING you can Google. These are tried & true strategies I've used over the last 7 years in the influencer industry, understanding how to use the behavior of the algorithm to work to your advantage.