I absolutely see brands that are trying to take advantage of influencers that they're out there doing a spray and pray thing. They're offering really low rates to influencers and they say if I send 1000 emails out and 100 people accept it and I'm paying 20% of what I should that's a good deal for me.
I do think there's some of that going on, like predatory offers from brands that I hate and something that Fohr really prides itself on not doing. I think more often than not, it's a lack of education about what is normal. If a brand comes at you with ridiculous requests for a low amount of money, or their requests and their budget don't line up, don't immediately go to a place of anger. I know it is a bit of a slap in the face but I think if you operate under the assumption that maybe they don't know what normal is, and this could be a teaching moment. You don't want to speak down to a potential client but I think you do want to explain why you can't work with that rate. We sometimes get responses back from influencers or their managers that we offer $4,000 and they come back. Literally recently, we offered $10,000 for a project and someone came back at $90,000. It was a total fantasy. It was delusional, that it was definitely not 10,000 was fair and even generous, 90,000 was fucking crazy. They came back in a way that was just like, "Well, this is the rate for that," and there was no explanation. I think that you can say like, "Thank you so much for the offer. I love the brand. I'm so excited to maybe be working on it. Unfortunately the budget and the deliverables don't really match up. Let me explain how I charge, why I charge what I do, why I am more effective than other influencers and why you should put the budget into me."
If you explain that, and if you're very honest and candid about it, and they're just like, "Well, this is the budget," I think they're probably one of those brands that are trying to go out and get something for cheap and they don't actually care about a relationship. You might be surprised when you reach out and you explain in a candid and kind tone why you can't accept what they're offering that they will work with you. If nothing else, you leave that interaction and they feel good about it. They feel like you're you're a business person that understands their value, communicates it clearly. Maybe they're working at a brand that doesn't have budget, but maybe the next brand they go to does and they say, "I remember I wanted to work with this person and we didn't have budget, but they were super nice about it. I'm going to reach out to them." It happens all the time and that is why you should try and leave every single client interaction even if they're trying to stiff you, even if what they're offering you is crazy. Try and leave them feeling good because you might get a temporary boost. You might temporarily feel good about yourself for telling someone off and being like, "This is my job, this is my life. How dare you offer me that money? You suck." That feels good to say that sometimes because it is a little offensive to be offered a tenth of what you think you deserve. But now you have not gotten the money, which you weren't going to get anyway, and you've pissed someone off and made them feel stupid. You're not getting paid and now you've taken somebody and turned them against you. You could leave that interaction by not getting paid and having someone that actually feels really good about you and who will remember that interaction and maybe in a year comes back and has budget. Happens literally to us every single day with brands that couldn't afford to work with Fohr and then we respect them like any other brand and are kind. Then a year later they say, Hey, I got a new job. I got budget, let's go. I would keep that in mind.
As far as what's inappropriate deliverable if they're not paying you, that's gut. That's what you want. If you really want to work with the brand, then maybe you're willing to do more. I think you got to find your happy place. You got to find a deal that you feel good about, before you send the email saying what you're going to do, try and put yourself into the position of posting that photo that day, of doing the shoot, of creating the content. Are you going to be resentful when you do that? Are you going to feel like, "Shit, I should've never taken this. I don't even really like these shoes, or handbag or couch or whatever the hell you're taking." Put yourself in that position and ask, "The day, I'm going to create this content and post it. Will this be enough?" And make sure that you feel good about that and stick to it. It'll be better for you. It's better for the brand. It's certainly better for your audience.
- Instagram usage ban, follower growth rates, unrealistic brand expectations