- Nick Cutsumpas has over 63,700 followers on Instagram, where posts content about houseplants and sustainability.
- As a part-time creator, he balances creating sponsored content for brands on Instagram (and sometimes TikTok), while still operating his own client-based plant coaching and landscaping business.
- He explained how he negotiates his brand deals, what his strategies are, and what his standard rates are for sponsored content on Instagram.
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Nick Cutsumpas, known as Farmer Nick on his social-media accounts, is one of many "plantfluencers" who have seen a surge in followers and brand partnerships these last few months. In fact, his Instagram following has doubled since March.
His Instagram grid is almost solid green, and he generally posts content of himself posing with houseplants, sharing sustainability tips, or driving around New York City and dropping off plants to people in a Nissan LEAF (provided to him by the brand as part of a sponsorship).
With over 63,700 followers on Instagram (and about 25,000 on TikTok), Cutsumpas works part time as a "micro" influencer and also operates his own project-based business where he coaches plant owners and works with clients on landscape design.
Micro influencers are usually defined as having between 10,000 and 100,000 followers on Instagram and can make thousands of dollars from brand sponsorships. Some are part-time influencers and balance two careers, while others are full-time content creators and work with brands on a regular basis.
In 2019, Cutsumpas started dedicating more time to his Farmer Nick content and quit his full-time job working in media and partnerships at a startup. Now, he aims for a revenue balance where 80% of his income comes from collaborating with brands on social-media content, while the other 20% comes from his plant coaching and landscaping work with clients.
"The last three months have been my most successful three months to date," Cutsumpas told Business Insider.
He said he'd added about five "significant" brand partnerships during these last few months. His rates have also doubled.
With houseplant sales and interest rising, Custumpas's growing audience has increased his reach — ultimately increasing his value to brands as a creator. His Instagram follower count has been growing at around 8% per month, compared to a 5% rate prior to March.
Cutsumpas attributed a large portion of this recent growth to his role in the Netflix series "The Big Flower Fight," a floral design reality show which aired in May 2020.
Cutsumpas said he's also been improving his strategy for negotiating and landing brand deals, which has helped his income.
He spoke with Business Insider about what that strategy looks like and how he negotiates his rates as a micro influencer.
His strategy for pitching brands and setting his rates
Cutsumpas approaches brand partnerships with the question: How much value do I genuinely believe I can add to the company?
From there, he'll enter conversations with brands that may reach out to him through a DM or that he'll outreach to via email.
"For me, the first thing off the bat is to show a media kit and be incredibly transparent with who you are," he said. In his media kit, he includes his metrics, examples of his content, and his rates for content.
His standard rates for sponsored content include:
- Instagram in-feed post and Story (usually three slides) package: $750 to $1,000
- IGTV video (two to three minutes long): $1,500
Cutsumpas prefers to negotiate sponsored content as a package, as a way to offer the brand more storytelling and also steer clear of one-off sponsorships.
"I don't want to be one of those influencers that does a one-off thing and you hear from me once about the company and then you never hear about it again. It needs to be kind of long-term," Cutsumpas said. "And with that, you create continuity and storytelling and it's reflected in your rates."
"If a company really wants exclusivity, that's going to be a different monetary conversation," Cutsumpas added, referring to when a brand limits an influencer's opportunity to partner with any of the brands' competitors for a specific amount of time.
He also considers how closely a company aligns with his values.
"Is the company doing things that align with your values so much that you want to endorse them in any way, even if it's for free or for a discounted rate?" he asks himself when entering these conversations.
"I've had to turn down 75% of the companies that want to work with me just because they don't share those same sustainability values and are greenwashing," he said.
Cutsumpas has worked with brands like Whole Foods, Allbirds, Nissan, and various small businesses across industries.
It's important to diversify content and capabilities
Cutsumpas knows what does well on his Instagram. And usually, any post with him posing with a monstera plant (the popular houseplants with split leaves) is guaranteed to do well, he said.
However, he can't pose with a new plan every day — at least not forever.
"I think the more diversity you can have in the content, the better because people react to different things," Cutsumpas said. He tries to diversify not only what he's posting, but how he's creating that content.
Branching over to TikTok has helped him on this front, since he can also add a TikTok video in a package and reach a different (and younger) audience.
Cutsumpas used a plant metaphor to explain his approach: "If you let a plant keep growing straight up and you never prune it or clip at the top, it's only going to grow up. It's never going to branch out. So for me, being able to selectively prune and choose which areas I really want to grow is really important."
He added that while houseplants are great, he also views them as a stepping stone toward working on broader and bigger partnerships and content that will move his career and environmental advocacy work further.
Read more about the influencer industry on Business Insider:
- '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
- How to negotiate an influencer brand deal, according to a WME agent who works with creators like Addison Rae Easterling, David Dobrik, and Lilly Singh
- 4 Instagram 'micro' influencers explain how much money they charge brands for sponsorships
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