If a Shoe Brand Pays an Influencer $1,000, Here’s What It Will Get

Influencers and fashion brands arguably have a love-hate relationship.

Since the very idea of social media influencing is only a few years old, brands are still struggling to determine how they can effectively enlist these tastemakers to bring them hundreds of thousands of online followers (most of which are, hopefully, real). Meanwhile, many influencers are still hashing out their own roles in the advertising and authenticity universe, which continues to evolve amid rapid digital shifts.

With influencer culture still in its infancy stage, one of the biggest challenges brands and digital tastemakers face centers around how much an influencer should earn — and what these opinion leaders should be expected to deliver in return.

Amy Roiland, fashion blogger and influencer behind the handle @aFashionNerd; Julia Lang, founder of Julia Lang Worldwide LLC; and Kristen Turner, founder and creative director of advertising agency Carpe Creative Studies, took the stage at the FN Platform trade show in Las Vegas on Monday to delve into those questions.

In a conversation moderated by The Daily Front Row, Roiland and Lang addressed what a brand could expect if they paid an influencer with 50,000 to 100,000 followers $1,000 for a social media activation.

“I think [an influencer of that level] could do like an Instagram post or story or share [something] to Twitter or Facebook — something cute,” said Roiland, who has 136,000 followers on Instagram.

Lang, meanwhile, noted that a lot of factors — besides the number of followers they have — could impact what an influencer might charge for a post or other social media moment.

“Brands have to keep in mind that, with that $1,000, [influencers] still have to pay taxes and [their] teams,” she said. “So it’s not just that they take $1,000 in [their] own pockets — there are several layers to it. [However, for $1,000], I think it’s possible to do a feed post [and/or] Instagram stories with a ‘swipe up.’” Users with verified Instagram accounts can insert a ‘swipe up’ option into an Instagram story that directs users to other content, such as an article or shopping site.

Of course, for brands and the influencers they enlist, there can be significant price discrepancies, as well as varied expectations of what an influencer should deliver for a set fee. With more than 140 million Instagram followers, Kylie Jenner, for example, has been reported to earn around $1 million per post, and her famous Kardashian sisters follow not too far behind with estimated earnings well into the six figures.

“[Overall], it’s going to vary in price point,” Roiland said. “Some brands might want an Instagram [grid post] and several Insta stories but [will say], ‘We also want you to shoot five photos that we can have to use in our ad campaigns’ and they’ll pay a little extra for that.”

At the same time, many fashion firms are still figuring out how to effectively measure the quantitative and qualitative value of a post by an influencer, although a few strategies are emerging.

For example, if a shoe brand is looking to measure the return on investment for a post by a certain influencer, as Lang noted, that could be done by assigning specific discount codes to that social media star’s post and calculating the ROI based on its usage.

“If you’re asking an influencer to post an Insta story or picture — especially if you paid them — you’re fine to say, ‘Can you send me the metrics on that?’” Turner noted. She added, however, that brands sometimes simply want the exposure and recognition among an influencers’ core followers and aren’t necessarily looking for an immediate revenue payoff. For example, a brand that’s trying to tap into the Hispanic market may work with a relevant Hispanic influencer to form inroads with that demographic.

Either way, it’s critical that expectations on both sides are made clear upfront — and documented, she said.

“Whatever it is, just write it out very clearly so it’s cut and dry,” Turner explained. “Sometimes, [there] gets [to be] a little back and forth with all the negotiations, so when you settle on something, just make sure there’s one clear document.”

Put another way: “At the end of the day, the more straight-forward [things are], the better it is for everyone involved,” said Lang.

Footwear-focused trade show FN Platform is taking place at the Las Vegas Convention Center Aug. 12–14.

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