How Much Is an Influencer’s Following Really Worth? They May Not Want You to Know.

An influencer with 9 million followers asked me for a $100k signing bonus and exposed the social media influencer bubble.

Rachel Greenberg


Photo by Rajesh Rajput on Unsplash

I’m going to level with you here: we’re all selfish when it comes to business, marketing, and finding success (and profit) on the internet. Whether it’s an influencer trying to score a brand deal, a company hoping a paid collaboration will result in massive exposure and sales, or a manager or marketer hoping the partnerships they facilitate will be profitable for all parties involved, the motive is often clear.

But here’s the problem: we’re not all playing with a full deck.

I’m not saying that the companies or influencers engaging in these paid collaborations are ignorant. I’m simply saying that in many of these partnerships, there is a disparity of information or an imbalance. This lack of full and mutual transparency means that one side is inherently disadvantaged…

You might have suspicions of which side I’m referring to, but I’ll clear that up right now: it varies.

Influencer collaborations and marketing contracts in general are unique and can vary widely on a case-by-case basis.

These campaigns may have different content creation criteria, outcome objectives (sales, views, engagement, etc.), expectations (exposure quotas and CTAs), and so on. However, there is one requirement that remains the same in every successful influencer marketing collaboration: trust is a requirement. It should then follow that honesty and full-disclosure are requirements as well, but unfortunately, that would be wishful thinking.

In one of my earlier companies, we decided to partner with influencers for co-branded digital products.

This was back when venture capitalists were pouring millions into now-defunct influencer apps (like Victorious, which was reportedly backed by top VCs including Kleiner Perkins and Chris Sacca’s Lowercase Capital). This app also boasted a lengthy and impressive…



Rachel Greenberg

Wall Street Investment Banker → Entrepreneur & Startup Consultant. “Top 10 Entrepreneurs of 2020” Yahoo Finance. CEO of Beta Bowl. Mom of 3 furbabies ❤