A Fashion Blog By Gemma Talbot

Monday, 29 April 2019

What Influencers Charge For Instagram Posts and Knowing Your Worth

Anyone that knows me will know that I don’t have an arrogant bone in my body so I hope that today’s post doesn’t come across that way. When it comes to my job though, one thing I will say is KNOW YOUR WORTH! Capitals for dramatic effect because seemingly influencers undercharging is becoming more and more common. 

I’ll always pride myself on my transparency, not only as an influencer but in life generally. The saying “honesty is the best policy” really is one that resonates with me and one I try to abide by as much as possible. 

Whilst I adhere to be as transparent as possible, it can be quite difficult in the industry I am in. What I mean by this is that generally when it comes to charging for paid Instagram collaborations there’s no real bench mark so how do we know if what we are charging is right. Everyone’s rates vary massively which is why it’s difficult to know what to charge. Even when first starting out I was clueless and as such I still try and find guidance where possible to make sure I am charging what I should be given my following. 

It definitely helps that I have some friends in the industry who have guided me along the way and given me a rough idea of what I should be charging for a single Instagram post and story. Sophie (my wife), Laura and Em Sheldon to name a few and who I know are charging the recommended industry rate (around 1% of your following which is considered a good rate but not fantastic) and as such us girls need to stick together. Brand’s will try and get all for nothing which if you look at it objectively makes total sense. It’s a business strategy and I would probably jump at the chance to get a good deal if the shoe was on the other foot.  Personally, I feel that brands need a better understanding of what rate they should be going to influencers with in the first instance.

Whilst most of the time I get paid my full rate for Instagram posts and stories (because I stand my ground or at least get them to meet me in the middle) some brands quite frankly do try to take the piss. A most recent example is where a start up offered me £300 for three Instagram posts and gifting of the products which were believed to retail at around £240. I appreciate that again they are a business just trying to start out with limited budget but considering my current following of over 65,000 followers this is quite frankly a little insulting. 

For some, £300 for three Instagram posts might seem like a lot of money but considering what I should be getting it’s pittance. An industry expert once told me that influencers should be charging around 1% of their following for an Instagram post, which would assume that my rate for an Instagram post should technically be £650. I’ve heard along the grapevine that some influencers with over 700,000 follower are charging £12,000 for an Instagram post. This seems like a crazy amount of money and it is but it would be over the 1% recommended industry rate. I’ll be completely honest in saying that I don’t always get this for a single post and I will often accept lower if I love the brand and really want to work with them but as a rule that is what I should be charging. If the brand have requested a number of deliverables, I will take this into consideration with regards to my overall fee and often offer a package deal or if it’s an ambassadorship but I’ll still be realistic and go with a rate that I’m happy with. Influencers take note. Why settle for anything less than you deserve?! I don’t want anyone to think I am being ungrateful or turning down money. Believe me, I have grafted since the age of 15. Working for £25 for a whole days work sweeping hair off the floor at my local hairdressers and also working for free as a fashion PR intern I guess I know what it feels like to be taken for granted and used a free labour. So if anything, it is just me sticking up for myself. 

When I contested the amount of £300 with the brand and put forward my actual rate, their response was “the director will not pay your rate because your engagement isn’t high enough and also influencers with significantly larger following are charging less”. My first thought was that the comment was a bit of an insult and slap in the face at the same time. My second was pure frustration that influencers do not know their worth and by massively undercharging it’s making it so difficult for the rest of us to get the rate we deserve. I speak for myself and many others here. I’m trying to make a living in a city that is expensive and I’m not going to take on a brand collaboration when there’s a lack of respect from the onset. Whilst generous gifting might seem appealing, my landlord doesn’t accept rent payments in mascaras. 

I know there are misconceptions relating to what influencers actually do for a living but I will tell you that it involves hard graft, long hours and lots of changing in smelly toilets sprinkled with piss to name just a few. It involves keyboard warriors, jealous Susan’s and in many cases causes anxiety, low self esteem and a feeling of not being good enough. I’m not here to justify my job to anyone, just know it’s not as easy as a filtered Instagram photo makes it out to be. The £650 you think is too expensive for a single Instagram post is not just me posting a photo on Instagram. It covers the hours of back and forth emails, making outfit selections to create the content, coming up with ideas to make your content stand out and also going out to shoot the content (sometimes hiring a photographer), editing the pictures and writing the captions. Not to mention the invoicing and chasing late payments. There is no denying that as influencers we have just that…influence. At the end of the day a brand is paying for this influence which often translates to sales and compared to other methods of advertising it’s a lot cheaper, and that’s just a fact. Whilst as influencers we come under harsh scrutiny, we’re normal girls just doing what we love and are cheaper to brands than celebrity endorsements. 

To some extent I get why girls accept a lower rate because at the end of the day it is money but what frustrates me the most is that influencers don’t know their worth and are settling for often 50% of their rate. Again, making it hard for the rest of us to get what we should. Rumour has it, some influencers are charging as little as £75 per post for fast fashion brands with a following of around 100k plus. This is insane! It makes complete sense then when a brand who approaches me comes back and says my rate is too expensive but this is because the bench mark is far too low. This isn’t a bitchy attack at the girls who are undercharging, it’s just a little frustrating that there isn’t more transparency. I’d much rather try and help someone and speak openly about rates but not everyone is this way inclined. 

Obviously given the nature of being self employed, it’s a dog eat dog world. It’s competitive and people are undercutting each other which is having a negative impact on us all. If I am having a bad month whereby not much work has come in, I may accept a lower rate but I’ll still know my worth. I’d rather turn a job down and retain my integrity and know the brand values my hard work and content creation and that they are paying for quality. I know a case whereby two influencers with pretty much the exact following charged a £500 difference in rates for the same Instagram post. What do you think the brand did? Obviously they went with the cheaper rate, but this rate was almost 50% of what this influencer should have been charging given her social following and engagement. Case in point whereby two influencers working for the same brand charged a difference of thousands. Unfortunately, for the influencer who massively undercharged she was taken for a ride whereas the brand in question were laughing their way to the bank. 

I think what it comes down to is a brand valuing the influencer and their work and whether they are prepared to pay for quality over quantity. In this case, I think the saying “you get what you pay for” couldn’t be more correct. Does the brand want to settle for a dairy milk which is good but arguably not better than those delicious truffles from Hotel Chocolate. I’m not saying I’m Hotel Chocolate but I know I am worth more than £100 a post based on my stats and conversion rates alone. Moreover, when a brand says they don’t have the budget to pay I just sit and laugh. You’re telling me a brand who can afford to promote their products globally, arrange lavish trips away can’t afford to pay £650 for a post? I’ll leave that one for you to decide. Just a little food for thought. 

In other words, I hope you all have a lovely start to the week.

Shop this outfit:

Jacket (gifted)
Shorts (gifted)
Coin Necklace
Mini fang necklace

Photography by Fifi Newbery


  1. Loved reading this! I agree, people should know their worth. It is crazy when other influencers tell me they undercharge. It's a shame there isn't a standard of some kind. I have definitely been told the same thing by pr or brands when I have quoted them my regular rates. It clearly was not meant to be, you have to be the right person for the job. It surprises me too when brands have budget for trips or big flashy promos but don't have much or any to divide up to another (often smaller) audiences, who can have the potential to reach a different consumers.
    Thank you for being so open and honest. Rates wise I go roughly by the 1% thing too and yes it depends on the parameters of the job and my relationship with the brand.
    xx Jenelle | www.inspiringwit.com

  2. Great post Gemma I completely agree , there is a reason your a top influencer and brands should respect that. Newer influencers are in effect cutting their own throats be agreeing to a smaller fee, they will just drive down fees for everyone including themselves.
    Love that you stand your ground , if the company won’t pay the fee for an influencer like you then don’t go there girl.
    PS love the outfit as always you look fabulous ❤️❤️❤️

  3. It's great to read the situation from the other side. As a brand we receive so much variation in prices and could never work out how they've calculated their fee, although we tend to find it's those with lesser followings that overcharge just as much as those with larger following. Those with 60k+ tend to know their worth more often than those with 8k for example. It is great that you put the work in for your fee as we find those who charge a lesser amount will not adhere to the terms of the contract and brands are left with photos that can't be used, if any. The quality of your photos shows your worth and it is not as simple as just snapping a shot when out, we've tried lol. You always look fab ♡ www.inscripture.com

  4. Yassssss to this! Even as what is commonly described as a "micro influencer", I have a pretty good DA on my blog as well as great engagement on social and click through a on the blog, therefore I know what I bring to the table is valuable to a brand. I'm noting this 1% per post for social as it makes sense. And I always click through your stories to product listing and have bought stuff, I love your style and trust your opinions! Therefore - you are invaluable and I hope brands (and fellow influencers) start to take note and drive better pay and standards.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Leigh at Fashion Du Jour LDN x

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