The Pros and Cons of Gifting vs. Paying Influencers

Gifting vs. Paying Influencers

A company gifting social media influencers is common―send out a package full of products to a handful of influencers with the expectation they will post about your brand and publicly thank-you for the generous gift.

Let’s be honest, everyone loves free stuff and would welcome the opportunity to be sent something. However, with the rapid growth of influencer marketing and companies all over trying to get a piece of the pie, most social media stars are well aware that a fancy packaged gift does not warrant a post on their page anymore simply because their posts are worth more.

Pros of Gifting

For the brand:
– Allowing an influencer who you feel fits your demographic to try out your products
– Making them aware of your brand
– Potential promotional posts from influencers

For the influencer:
– A free gift
– An opportunity to publish new content and try new products

Cons of Gifting

For the brand:
– Unless an arrangement has been made, sending out a gift does guarantee the influencer will post or mention the product, especially not within any scheduled amount of time
– Does not guarantee a positive review
– Does not guarantee key brand messaging will be incorporated if contents of the gift are posted
– Typically no contract that outlines ownership around any content that may be generated (brands aren’t legally protected to use this content)

For the influencer:
– May not be something influencer wants/needs or finds interest in
– Gifts don’t allow the influencer to make a living (i.e. pay rent)

We believe that social media influencers provide significant value to brands, and like any other value add, they should be paid for what they offer. Popular social media users are making a part-time or full-time living by collaborating with brands. Social media has afforded the opportunity for creative talent to be discovered and shared. The true democratization of creative talent. Influencers, as an entirety, is the modern-day media channel.

And though maintaining an Instagram feed may seem laughable to those who don’t understand it, it requires serious effort and work to remain consistent and creative, while still trying to generate interest and growth.

Pros of Paying

For the brand

– A influencer who is happy to collaborate with you to reach your goals
– Ability to approve the post
– An honest and authentic post on their feed exposing you to their thousands of followers
– An increase of awareness, exposure and/or sales for your company
– A naturally integrated ad that receives real-time engagement
– Figures to measure out ROI and effectiveness of campaign
– Integration of key messaging

For the influencers
– Getting paid for your work
– Creative control
– An opportunity to work with a brand and build up a professional portfolio
– Chance to work with a product/brand you genuinely believe in


Beza is #paid’s Community Lead