Do Influencers Have Agencies?
Do most social media influencers have agencies? At some point, in any influencer’s career, it would be advantageous for them to get assistance and representation in boosting their career. And one way of doing that would be to find agency that will then assign you an agent who will then advocate on your behalf, find you deals, negotiate price, work on the contract language, and essentially assist you in growing your career and bringing you opportunities. An agent can also act as a shield between sponsors that are looking to create opportunities with an influencer.
And certainly, if an influencer is big enough, they’re going to have tons of potential opportunities. However, many of those opportunities, they would have no interest in, so the agent acts as your shield to say, no, we’re not even going to discuss this. We’re not interested. Now, there are also, I guess, other ways for an influencer to be represented. You could have a manager, you could have an agent, you could be with an agency who will then assign you an agent, or maybe it could be a collaborative thing where the agency goes out and finds deals, and then you may not have one specific agent. But sometimes there is also a distinction between a manager and an agent. Some people look at a manager as someone who just deals with the day-to-day tasks of the influencer, managing their career, they’re not necessarily negotiating or finding them deals.
And then the agent would be the one that would do that. I find those terms are used interchangeably. You may hear someone say manager, you may hear someone say an agent. It’s normally the same thing. Now, if you’re going to enter a relationship with an agency, then there absolutely needs to be an influencer agency management contract. And usually, that’s called an exclusive management agreement or an exclusive agency contract, something like that. And then it just dictates the terms of the relationship. It will say whether the relationship is exclusive. Most agents or agencies are going to require that they’re the only representative of the influencer, meaning, even if a deal came to an influencer, from a friend, family member, or another influencer, if the company reached out to them directly, no matter what, they then have to refer that deal to their current agent, who will then do the negotiation and will get a percentage of that deal as well even though they weren’t the ones that originated it. Other topics of interest include:
A normal agent/agency will receive around 20% of whatever the compensation is for the influencer. So, if an influencer, I guess, starts a deal with a meal planning company, sometimes it could be per spot, sometimes it could be per year. I have a current client who has a meal prep company, and they require one 90-second spot in a YouTube video each month. But they do pay him an annual amount instead of just being per spot. Sometimes if a company is interested in establishing a relationship with an influencer, they’ll start on a video-by-video or post-by-post basis, and then see how it works and then may move into more of a long-term relationship with that person.
As far as negotiating with the agent, there’s two types of negotiations. One, the influencer with the sponsor and then two, the influencer with the agent and establishing that relationship. The things that can be negotiated, obviously, are the percentage that the agent takes from the influencer, and how long after the contract terminates will the influencer have to pay that agent, so there should be a clause, or at least there will be a clause in almost any agency contract that states that the influencer will owe the agency for usually about a year after the contract terminates, the same percentage of any deal that they were brought. One of the biggest concerns of any agency is that they bring a deal to an influencer, and then that person terminates the relationship, takes the deal, and then cuts the agent out of getting any of the commission for the deal.
And that’s why that language is generally in the contract. Now, going out to find a reputable agency, the best place to find that is from your friends. If you’re an influencer, you likely have relationships with other influencers and it’s a good idea to talk to them about their experience. Maybe they’ve had multiple agents or agencies and just see. Usually, bad agencies will get a bad reputation quickly, and that spreads fast. I would also just go online and Google if you’re interested in someone to find them out, see if there are any news articles about them, or see if you can find out anyone they’ve represented in the past. Maybe you want to reach out to them. You absolutely want to do due diligence in determining who’s becoming your agent.
This person can make or break a career. That is the truth. I mean, an influencer obviously has independent creativity and can handle their own career as far as the content they produce and what’s in it and all that stuff, but an agent can really make a difference. A good one can make a difference in bringing the right deals to this person, negotiating the right price, and making sure the right language is on the contract. And I find most influencers simply are either naive or just not interested in dealing with that part of things. They just want to deal with the creative aspects of being an influencer. And that’s how an agent can really help blast off someone’s career.
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