Continuing on personal branding, I wrote about How To Grow Your Followers organically and efficiently. A topic worth discussing next is — how much exactly do I need to pay as a brand, how much do I need to receive as an influencer or how much can I charge as an influencer? It's hard to find information on industry norms or common practices on this topic. Any person can come in to put a price on their Instagram feed as long as their number of followers are high enough. This industry is highly unregulated, lacks transparency and doesn't have any form of normal industry practices.  In this article today, I'll touch on how you can increase your value and your worth through practical examples, data analytics and common practices.

Why is it important to have common practices and ethics? It is to build a community that is believable and also, sustainable. Common practices and good ethics can only be built from the industry and from an understanding between brands and influencers. Why do brands pay you to carry their brands? That's because they trust that your image is a good fit to their brand, or perhaps they would like you to attract a new market. Believe it — buying with a recommendation from a friend or a trusted figure is far more believable than normal advertisements. When you start out, be conscious of what the projects you take on. Monetary benefits does not automatically bring value — to yourself or the brand paying you. Instead of only focusing on the money, think about what you can offer or what benefits you can receive from the brand.

Picture credits: Ketnipz

Higher Numbers = More Money?
Dismiss the idea that the number of followers you have equates to the amount of money you can charge per post. Why? The number of numbers or followers attached to your profile does not matter if your engagement is low. Engagement is the measured level of interaction a typical influencer receives on their content and on Instagram — it typically means likes, comments and saved photos. The higher engagement you have, the easier it is to convert to action. Again, why? This is because, engagement is an indication of "actions" of your audience towards what you put onto your platform. When a person actions on your content, it means that you're doing something right in appealing to them and this more likely to translate into a call-to-action (for brands, this means sales). Therefore, justify your worth through your engagement rate — and not your followers. If you're worth X amount, then don't be afraid to prove it. Never feel bad if you have to reject a certain proposal because certain brands might not have the resources to pay you now. Barter, if necessary.

Picture credits: Anaz Siantar

Content, Content and Content
How do you increase your value? Simply by putting out really good work. Think about how you'd like to represent the brand, how you want to portray it and how you will get there. It's really not just another Outfit Of The Day post. My personal experience is one of the top and pioneer bloggers in Indonesia — Anaz. I travelled to the states with this lady and saw first hand why people should pay for her pictures. The amount of consideration to lighting, location and perfection is why exactly you should pay her. Why would a brand pay you if you can't offer them something that is different from another person? Identifying what your most popular content is a useful way of learning what you should focus on. I've learnt that everyone attracts their own crowd, despite a tiny overlap. Focusing on producing good content that works for you is a way for you to increase engagement rate, hence another reason why brand should pay you.

Be Selective
Believe it or not, being selective can help you increase your value. Learn to say no to brands that are not who you are. If this is not for you right now, then don't worry about opportunities not knocking on your door. It's okay to say no to certain projects as long as you're nice about it. Don't be rude. Learn to build relationships with brands even if you're not able to work with them today. This is important if you want to have a sustainable career in this industry. Aim for quality and not quantity.

Have Integrity
Your reputation is everything, carve that in your head and throughout everything you will embark on. If someone paid you any amount of money, and wanted certain pictures their way — learn to understand what they're asking for. If there's no brief, ask for it to avoid miscommunication. In this digital era, our communication is limited to email, whatsapp or perhaps Instagram message hence be mindful that miscommunication can happen. I've learned that having a standard set of agreed terms and conditions is a good way of informing what brands are expected of your posting schedule. If you can't give them a definite schedule, then state that in your terms and conditions. If you have a good reputation, people will believe in your quality of work and would work with you whenever they get a chance to. The better reputation you will have, the more people will want to work with you — and if demand is high, then you can start charging a higher rate.

If you're up for some extra reading, I am including some great articles:
Instagram Influencer Rates
The Power of Influencers

Do you have burning questions as brand or an influencer? Comment below and let's discuss!

* Please note that the above post is solely based on my personal opinion and is solely for the purpose of discussion.



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