The Basics of Influencer Incentive

The Basics of Influencer Incentive
The Basics of Influencer Incentive

If you’ve decided to partner with social media influencers to promote your company, you have an important question to answer: how will you compensate them? Influencers don’t work for free. They’ll require something in exchange for their time and effort in the making of content. Fortunately, there are many kinds of incentives you could offer, and there are the basics of influencer incentive for all budgets.

Know what you can provide

Let me start by saying that, when making plans for campaigns, it is essential to keep in mind two crucial points:

  • What are the fees influencers charge for the services they provide?
  • What is the most you’d be willing to pay in incentive?

Follower count directly affects how much an influencer will usually charge, however other factors like engagement rate and content type are also important. As an example, the price of a video is higher than a photo post, and both are more costly than a temporary Instagram Story.

It’s best to do some research into this and think about the type of content you’ll want to promote your campaign before you start looking for influencers. This way, you can think a bit about the prices for such type of content, and let those costs and your budget guide what type of influencers to look for.

If you’re aware for example that you can only pay influencers for free goods, don’t waste your time trying to find influencers who have tons of followers. They won’t be enticed by this kind of reward (unless it’s an absolutely fantastic and valuable product).

In this specific case, it’s best to seek out the smaller influencers (with 1-5K followers) which are willing to accept smaller-scale rewards.

Different types of incentives

There are many ways to pay influencers, however, the three methods that are most frequently used are:

  • Free experiences, products, or services
  • Flat fees
  • Commission-based models


Most brand collaborations include some free product or service. This is because brands want their products to appear in influencer content. 

In smaller campaigns, brands could provide individual packages for every influencer. For larger campaigns or when logistics are a problem, it is possible to offer influencers a voucher that can be used in your store or on your website.

Vouchers also work because they enable the influencer to choose the products that they are most passionate about. The more enthusiastic an influencer is about the brand and its product, the more likely it is they’ll create enthusiastic and exciting content.

Be aware of this when you’re sending merchandise directly to influencers. Find out which version they are most interested in. Are they drawn to red or blue? What about the Swedish massage or Shiatsu massage? Be sure to find out so that your brand can make the best possible impression through their content.


Another method of paying influencers is through fees. Fees are based on the number of followers and engagement rate. In addition, they vary depending on the economy of the country. Vietnam and France are not the same thing, and neither are Wyoming and New York.

You could pay influencers a flat fee: a defined price for a defined service. For instance, maybe $200 per post or $500 for a video. Flat fees are one-time payments that can be made upfront, after the fact, or half before and half after.

Commission-based models allow you to pay influencers in proportion to their value in your marketing campaign. For influencer marketing, you can make use of the cost-per-acquisition, also known as CPA, to calculate influencer commissions.

The “acquisition” is defined by you. It could be a sign-up, sale, download, or whatever other types of conversion matters to your brand. CPA can be utilized on a fixed or variable scale. For instance, for a sales campaign, you might give influencers $5 for every sale they generate, or instead, give them 5% on every sale they make.

Many top influencers do not accept commissions alone as incentive. But you can combine commissions with flat fees and free products to create an attractive incentive package.

Some tips

Here are some tips to consider when defining and negotiating incentive:

  • If you’re shipping products, factor shipping and handling into your budget and timeline. You should allow a little room in case of delay especially due to the situation our world is currently in.
  • Contracts are great if you’re making payments for commissions or fees. But if you’re closing deals on the basis of free products, it’s not always necessary. Contracts could actually turn off some influencers who aren’t used to working with brands.
  • Managers typically increase fees by around 20 percent. That’s another of the reasons why the most famous influencers are more costly to employ.
  • Be aware of the limitations of your brand. If you’re a new company with a small budget and can only provide free products, it is best to specifically seek out influencers who are willing to take that.


Like other aspects that are associated with influencer campaigns, incentive isn’t one size fits all. Make sure you are aware of your company’s objectives, mission, and budget, and utilize this information to find influencers who meet your needs.