March 5, 2021 6 min read
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Jason Falls’ Winfluence: Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand is out February 23 via Entrepreneur Press. Order your copy now on Amazon | before Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Bookstore.
They say money is the root of all evil. It is certainly the root of hot topics among influencers whose revenue depends on brand collaborations. The influencer pay gap – the pay gap between white and non-white influencers and the similar difference between men and women – is a common powder keg problem.
Influencer Lindsey Lee’s frustration at being undervalued by brands led her to develop F *** You Pay Me, a platform for influencers to post reviews of brand partnerships. Since launching late last year, the site, which keeps user information anonymous and brand information “locked” until at least 10 reviews are posted, has generated more than 500 posts at the time of this writing, despite being still in their minimum are product phase (MVP).
Lee’s vision for the website is to act as a kind of glass door for the influencer set so that users can compare the rates brands are asking for and more accurately identify their own worth. You can also distinguish brands that usually pay well from those that don’t.
Photo credit: F *** you pay me
“An influencer’s pain points are exactly the same as a freelancer pain points,” says Lee of the parallels with Glassdoor. “You have an opportunity to get a job and you have no idea how much to charge as every job is different. But you don’t want to lose the job, so you end up accepting less than what you’re worth. “
Lee adds that her website is necessary because too often there is money on the table at the expense of the creator.
Related: Where do you fall on the philosophical spectrum of influence marketing?
How the site works
When an influencer registers to use the site, they must submit their initial review. Membership on the site is limited to what Lee calls a true influencer, that is, anyone who has signed a contract with a brand to post content online. Everyone is asked to identify demographic information such as gender and race so that the website can create appropriate filters in reviews.
Site users can navigate to a brand and view details including the brand’s average engagement payout, the type of content they are looking for, and what other authors have said about working with them. And finally, you have insight into the demographic differences mentioned above. (Influencer marketing platform Klear found that the average wage per post for male influencers in 202 was $ 476, while women made just $ 348.)
Lee sees F *** You Pay Me as a complement to the forces already leading to pay-gap conversations and writes to the Instagram account @influencerpaygap – a clearing house for influencers to share individual experiences with prejudice or low-balling – support in closing this gap.
“I created F *** You Pay Me because it was a product that I wanted when I first started influencing,” she explains. “The creators, advocates, and activists of Black, Brown, Womxn, and LGTBQ + have long been driving conversation and action in this area. F *** You Pay Me is just a data and support tool.”
Utility born out of anger
Lee admitted on her blog post that F *** You Pay Me was born out of anger, writing, “I feel it every time a brand asks me to do this job, but I am offended at wanting to do it work to be compensated. “
Before designing the website, she worked as a freelance model and social media manager for several years. In the latter case, she acted as an influencer and created the Ms. Young Professional Instagram account to fake the daily sexism she experienced. As she garnered followers, brands reached out to collaborations, many of which Lee didn’t find amusing offerings.
“‘We don’t have a budget’ was one of my favorite lies,” she recalls. “When you hear, ‘We don’t have a budget’, it means they don’t have a budget for you.”
Her inner voice began to scream and answered, “F *** you. Pay me.”
What’s in a name
“I called it F *** You Pay Me because I didn’t want the creator or freelancer to doubt that this was a platform that was actually built for them,” says Lee. “There are dozens of platforms that say they were built for influencers. That is not true. They’re tailored primarily to the needs of brands and then to the needs of developers. “
In her experience as a social media manager, she even used a tool that would only allow her to search for influencers who accept free products as a means of payment. “It only lowers the value of a creator’s work,” she says. “And I don’t like it.”
Related Topics: How To Build A Successful Influence Marketing Campaign
The business plan
The roadmap for F *** You Pay Me involves adding influencer marketing software companies and agencies to the list so that developers can share experiences with them too. Finally, agents and talent managers are also invited to contribute.
Lee says she is currently looking for funding and has applied to at least one accelerator. Her business model plans are “still in the making,” she admits, but she is considering allowing brands to post opportunities for influencers.
“I hope that a huge pool of influencers will create a network effect and that the brands will follow,” she explains. “Most platforms get brands and hope that influencers will follow suit. I’m just turning this around. “
Nevertheless, she is convinced that the influencer reviews will always remain anonymous. “This is about sharing information and helping developers and freelancers,” she says. “But I want it to be of mutual benefit to brands as well.”
The initial reaction from brands may shudder, but Lee says they might be surprised to know that “more than half of our reviews are positive so far”.
It’s the ones that don’t keep some brand managers busy at night because now they know the market is holding them accountable.