Working with brands is a great way to monetize your social media presence and grow your audience. However, there is always the risk of a brand not paying you & “ghosting”. It can be disheartening and frustrating when a brand decides not to pay you after you have completed the work as initially agreed. It’s important to remember that you have rights and that there are steps you can take to protect yourself. So, here’s what to do if a brand doesn’t pay you.
Always Have a Contract
First and foremost, make sure you have a written contract in place before beginning any work for a brand. This contract should clearly outline the terms of payment, including when and how you will be paid, any late fees, a termination clause, etc. Having a written contract can provide evidence of the agreement in the event that payment is not made.
Usually brands send the contract or agreement. However, do not hesitate to ask for a contract or to send your own if none is provided.
Use Willa or Dealflow to Protect Yourself
Both apps allow you to send an invoice through their app and they instantly pay you while they chase the brand for payment.
We recommend Willa to use within the US and Canada. And use Dealflow if you’re based outside those countries, as it is available in 35+ countries.
Communicate With Your POC
If a brand does not pay you as agreed upon in the contract, the first step is to try to communicate with your point of contact and resolve the issue amicably. Reach out to the brand and politely remind them of the terms of the contract and ask for the payment to be made. It’s possible that there may have been a misunderstanding or miscommunication, and by reaching out to the brand, you may be able to resolve the issue without further action.
Don’t be afraid to follow-up as many times as needed. We recommend following up every 2-3 days.
Reach Out To Other Departments
If your person of contact isn’t replying your emails, then find the email of someone in the accounting department or the head of marketing and email them to inquire about payments.
Another solution could be to email the founder of the company directly – this works best for smaller companies. Often times, brands outsource influencer marketing to agencies and they have no idea the agencies might not be operating like expected.
Below is an example of the email you can send. Don’t forget to attach the contract and invoice if applicable.
I worked with (brand) on their (campaign name) on (month). I want to let you know I have not received payment yet – which was schedule to be sent on (date). Can you please update me on the date I will receive payment?
Related: Invoicing Brands as a Content Creator + Free Invoice Templates
Send a Demand Letter
Before you officially take legal action agains the company, it might be helpful to use a service such as Legalshield to send a demand letter. Legalshield is less than $30/month and they connect you with a lawyer that can advise you on the situation and send a demand letter on your behalf (which oftentimes is free). A demand letter basically lets the company know you’re ready to take legal action but haven’t yet.
Take Legal Action
If the brand is unresponsive or unwilling to pay, you may need to consider taking legal action. This may involve hiring an attorney or using a dispute resolution service to help you recover the unpaid funds. Keep in mind that legal action can be time-consuming and costly, so it’s important to weigh the potential cost and benefit of pursuing this route.
Call Them Out On Social Media
Another option is to publicly speak out about the issue and share your experience with other content creators. This can be done through your own social media platforms or through writing an article about the experience. Sharing your story can help to raise awareness about the issue and may encourage other content creators to be more cautious when working with brands.
Also, if the brands receive some complaints on their social media, they might be more inclined to get back to you and eventually pay you for your work.
You might also want to share your experience on apps like Clara and FYPM to increase awareness.
In summary, if a brand does not pay you as agreed upon in the contract, the first step is to try to communicate with the brand and resolve the issue amicably. If that is not possible, you may need to consider taking legal action or publicly speaking out about the issue. Remember to always have a written contract in place to protect your rights as a content creator.