- Amber Broder is a "nano" influencer on Instagram with just over 2,200 followers. This year, she started to monetize her Instagram account where she shares skincare content.
- She said in her experience, landing brand sponsorships as a nano influencer has taken patience, pushing for payment over gifting, and highlighting her high engagement rate of 16% and professional photography skills.
- Broder broke down how she first started to make money from her content and what her starting rates are for branded Instagram posts.
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Influencers only need a few thousand followers to start earning money.
This year Amber Broder, a full-time student at Georgetown University in her junior year, realized that even though she didn't have tens of thousands of followers, she could start monetizing her Instagram.
With just over 2,200 followers on Instagram, Broder is what many in the influencer industry would define as a "nano" influencer. Nano influencers generally have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers on Instagram.
On Instagram, she posts reviews of skincare products and sponsored content for brands on her "Amber Skincare Diary" channels. She mostly uses Instagram, but she also posts to TikTok and maintains a blog.
Broder started her blog and Instagram two years ago and at around 700 followers, she received her first gifted product to review from a brand, she said.
Now, she's turned her "passion project" into a full side hustle where's she able to make money through brand partnerships on Instagram.
How does she land these paid gigs?
She said in her experience it has taken patience, pushing for payment over gifting, and highlighting her high engagement rate of 16% and professional photography skills.
"It's difficult to monetize when you're still small," she said. Before this year, she had been trying to negotiate with brands on paid partnerships, but had only been offered gifted products. Sometimes that was because the brand didn't have the budget. But often, it was because the brand didn't understand the return-of-investment that some nano influencers can give.
Broder's first paid post happened in March when a skincare brand paid her $50 for three posts.
The brand asked for one in-feed post that included a review of the product (an eye mask) and two additional posts that would feature the brand in the content.
"Because I was so excited to finally monetize my account, I didn't negotiate the rate," Broder said. Now, however, she has starting rates for all of her content and includes them in a media kit she sends to brands.
Broder uses a straightforward formula to calculate where to set her starting rates for content: 4% of her total of followers. This doesn't factor in time, quality, engagement, or usage rights, however. Rather, the formula acts as a guideline or minimum for where to start when negotiating her rates.
Her starting rates for Instagram content include:
- In-feed Instagram post: $100 to $120
- Instagram Reel: $50 to $75
- IGTV: $200 to $250
"It's important to know your worth, but also to be realistic," Broder said.
She also uses two affiliate link programs, through which she's able to make passive income using discount codes and earning a commission on any sales.
Her strategy for negotiating rates and working with brands as a 'nano' influencer
As a nano influencer, "gifting" — when a brand sends an influencer free products in exchange for promotion — is often the first way creators are able to work with brands.
"I've done a lot of gifted work, which I think is really important for getting a page off the ground," Broder said, "but it also can definitely feel like you're being taken advantage of. You have to make sure you're getting something out of the gifting."
While she still accepts gifting here and there, she now turns down about five to 10 gifting opportunities a day, she said. On her Instagram content, too, she will explicitly state if she had been gifted that product or purchased it herself.
Broder's also started to always ask for payment. In any conversation with a brand, whether she's pitching herself or responding to a brand, she starts by sending a media kit that she designed herself using the free graphic design software Canva.
Her media kit outlines all of her stats and emphasizes her engagement rate in the kit, which she explains is the most important metric — even more so than followers or likes.
"You can leverage this as a nano influencer since smaller accounts have higher engagement rates," she said.
She also suggested that influencers break down the demographics of their audience when communicating with brands since it shows that you both know and understand your own audience, while also articulating to the brand how you can add value to their campaign.
Once she begins to negotiate her rate with a brand, she'll take into account what the deliverables are and how much time it will take her to create. Sometimes she'll bundle content together, too.
"And then the other thing that comes into my rates is usage rights," Broder explained.
Usage rights are how brands are able to re-use an influencer's content across verticals, such as a paid advertisement or usage on its website. Influencers often add higher fees when brands include this ask.
Broder starts out negotiating usage rights at $100 per week of usage rights. The longer the brand asks for (which she said usually ranges between six months to a year) and the more ways they want to use that content, the higher the price.
For more stories about the influencer industry and how creators are setting their rates, read these articles from Business Insider:
- 5 Instagram 'micro' influencers explain how much money they charge brands for sponsorships
- Influencers can often negotiate higher fees for letting brands re-use their content. A lawyer explains what creators should know about 'usage rights.'
- 'Micro' and 'nano' Instagram influencers have proven effective for many marketers, but new data suggests only a small fraction of them are working with brands
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