Influencer Incentives Beyond Compensation

Influencer Incentives Beyond Compensation

As the field of social media influencing has grown, the expectations for compensation have grown along with it.  When influencing was a new concept, it was more of a hobby than a job for most people, so partnerships offering free product in exchange for posts were the norm.  Influencers were more willing to do more work for less.  However, as the field has become more established, it has become a full-time job for many.  Influencers have come to expect payment, just as you would for any other job.  

If your company is not in the position to offer huge compensation for product placement, that does not necessarily mean you cannot engage in influencer marketing.  You just need to get creative in what you are able to offer influencers.  Here are a few alternatives to flat-rate compensation that can be valuable to influencers and help you make deals. 


Another very common form of compensation in many influencer agreements is commission, paying influencers a small percentage of each sale they drive.  While this is still money out of your company’s pockets, it is a bit safer than a flat-rate payment, because you will only be paying if the influencer drives sales.  There is no risk of making a big payment and not seeing results from the posts.

Performance-Dependent Compensation 

Another way to pay while still protecting your company is to make payment contingent on performance metrics.  This differs from compensation in that it can be based on any metric, not just on sales.  Some influencers will agree to payment for their posts that is contingent on driving a certain amount of website traffic, reaching a certain number of views, etc.

Extra Free Products 

If you are unable to offer money for influencer agreements, you could also try offering extra free products, or free products with a higher monetary value.  In some cases, this can be enough motivation for influencers to work with you.  This can be particularly effective with influencers who would purchase your products in their normal daily life anyways.  For instance, if you would like to promote a makeup product, an influencer who regularly tries new beauty looks may be willing to work for less money than one who rarely wears makeup and sees less value in the product. 

Long-Term Agreements 

It can also be valuable to influencers to make agreements not simply for one post, but for multiple posts over a period of time.  Reaching agreements with brands can be challenging and time-consuming, so if your company is able to offer multiple collaborations, this can be an enticing agreement.  If you are able to offer a long-term agreement instead of just a one-off, sometimes influencers will accept a lower price. 

Connections to Other Companies 

One of the challenges for influencers in making brand deals is finding brands to work with.  If you can help ease this challenge, that is another way to provide value beyond compensation.  If you have connections within your industry, or other similar industries, you can refer the affiliates you work with to these companies after your partnership.  Knowing about these potential connections can be a motivator for influencers to engage in partnerships with your company. 

Networking Opportunities 

Similarly, you can offer to provide opportunities for influencers who work with your brand to network with one another, and others in the industry.  You can create a group on Facebook that your influencers can be invited to, and use to engage with one another.  In a field where who you know is very important, this can be valuable, especially to newer influencers. 

Recommendations or Reviews 

Finally, most influencers today have media kits that they share with brands they are interested in working with.  It can be helpful for these media kits to include recommendations or testimonials from brands they have worked with in the past, to show that they were successful.  Offering to provide one of these testimonials in exchange for a social media post can be another way to reach agreements with potential influencers. 

While many influencers today do expect and require monetary compensation for their work, there are still some ways for brands with limited budget to provide value in other ways.  From commissions to connections, these are just a few creative incentives you can offer to influencers if your pockets aren’t quite deep enough to meet their compensation expectations. 

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