Influencer Marketing University: How To Negotiate With Influencers

In this influencer marketing strategy article, we discuss the best methods for negotiating deals with influencers across social media platforms such that both sides end up being happy partners.

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You’ve spent the time and effort to find your ideal social media influencers (ideally using a platform like Smartfluence!), but now begins the back and forth that most brands dread – negotiating the terms of the deal. Here are a few key tactics that will make dealmaking much easier for any brand:

The Approach

Generally speaking, there are a few key variables at play when negotiating with influencers.

First and foremost, is compensation. While pricing influencers is still very much wild wild west with influencers and brands both getting away with as much as they can, it’s possible to estimate prices while remaining fair. Consider viewing influencers in 2 streams – large and small. Larger influencers typically charge 1 cent per follower for a permanent post. Smaller influencers are judged on engagement, and as a result, are valued at roughly 25 to 30 cents per average engagement for a permanent post. Which type of influencer you use is largely dictated by your goals.

A great way to sweeten the deal is by offering influencers exposure, since they want it as much as brands do. The more exposure influencers get, the more followers they gain, and ultimately the more valuable they become to brands, allowing them to monetize more. If your brand has a sizable social media presence, at least as large as the influencer you’re negotiating with, use it to your advantage by letting them know you’ll be reposting them. In extreme cases, like where your account is far bigger than the influencers’, you might be able to get away without paying cash at all, in a transaction that’s called a shoutout for shoutout.

Another way to pique an influencer’s interest is to offer a long term deal. Keep in mind, we don’t recommend opening with this – we’d rather you present the possibility pending a successful initial post. Brands often make the mistake of jumping the gun and locking in multiple posts with influencers they haven’t tested yet. On the other extreme, you have brands focusing on a one and done approach. Somewhere in the middle is where you should operate. You get a discount for giving a long term deal, and influencers have surety in their future cashflows. This incentivizes them to perform their best on the initial post you’re contracting them to make.

While this should go without saying, free product is another method brands can use to get influencers to work with them. We believe this should be the bare minimum for every campaign and collaboration. You could take it one step further and offer influencers a selection rather than you deciding what you’re sending (unless it’s for a product launch or something specific). This ensures they genuinely like the product, which will show in how authentic their testimonials will be once posted. Another offshoot of this would be giving exclusive access to products before they launch, or even an invite to a launch party if you’re going all out!


With the four tactics discussed above, you should be able to persuade influencers using a combination of free product, trading audiences, cash compensation, and longer term partnership potential. Smaller influencers aren’t too picky, and that’s ok when you’re starting out. But as you advance in your influencer marketing journey and start to use higher quality influencers operating at a higher level, you’ll need to master these tricks to get the job done!

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