How Do I Get an Agent as a Social Media Influencer?
What is the best way for a social media influencer to find an agent? At some point, as an influencer grows, it will make sense to hook up with a professional. It could be a manager, or an agent marketing agency. It’s all the same thing. It’s essentially someone who is going out on your behalf, looking for sponsorship or collaboration opportunities. They will bring you the deal, they will negotiate the terms of the compensation, and then also the terms of the relationship, how many posts you must do, how long does the spot if you’re doing a YouTube video have to be, the details of the situation. And they essentially act as a shield between the influencer and the sponsorship company.
Now, what’s the best way of going about looking for an agent if you’re so inclined? Well, as someone who has represented athletes in the past, I always find the absolute best way of finding an agent is through your friends. If you’re an influencer, it’s very likely you have relationships with other influencers and it is best to reach out to them to see who they’ve used, see who they may have used in the past but have terminated the relationship with. That’s the best way of doing it because you’ll have some firsthand knowledge of how the person operates. Obviously, this has to be someone you trust if they’re going to give you advice on who a potential agent is. You could Google around on the internet, there certainly are some larger agencies.
I mean, most individuals like smaller managers and agencies may not have a huge web presence. So, you’ll be missing out if you try to Google somebody. I don’t think that’s the best avenue. The one avenue that you absolutely should not take is utilizing a friend. Repeatedly, I find people who will say, oh, you know what? I’ve been really interested in getting into being an agent or manager. And then maybe one of your friends is like, oh yeah, I can do it. I think this is a bad idea for several reasons. One, having knowledge of the industry is extremely important for an agent. They need to know what the going rate for an Instagram story or a YouTube video, or a personal appearance. These are things you’re not going to know if you’ve never been through this before. That is also going to know when to push back, on how much is expected of the influencer, how many appearances they must make, what the industry norms are. Other topics of interest include:
Not to say it’s impossible for someone who’s never done it before, but it’s very, very difficult. And it’s very likely the influencer will be leaving money on the table if they go with somebody who’s never had experience doing it before. Plus, emotions can get, or a better way of saying it is, emotions can interfere when you have a friend also acting as a business partner. If the relationship sours in the business realm, it will spill over into the personal realm as well. And most people don’t want to lose a friend over something like this. So, if you’re going to find an agent, absolutely make sure it’s somebody who is a professional, who has experience doing it and then has a roster of clients that they can show you.
Many agents will start off in an agency and then get their feet wet and learn the business, and then may go off on their own. That’s probably the normal course of business. Now, does this agent have to be an attorney? No, they don’t. As an attorney myself, they certainly can bring probably more contract knowledge if they have experience with doing contracting, but an agent does not have to be an attorney. In fact, I would say, at least half of them are not. Now, how much do you have to pay this person? That’s always a big question. It’s based upon a percentage of the commission. Whatever deals this person brings to you and then negotiates the price of, they will get a percentage of that.
Very, very rarely are you going to find any agent influencer relationship where it’s a flat fee. Most of the time, the percentage is around 20%. It could be less, it could be more, but the average is around 20%. That’s considered a reasonable amount. If someone is asking you for half or 40%, that is not a reasonable amount. You must do, I guess, a little math equation in your mind about, alright, is the value that this agent is going to bring me worth more than the 20% of all of my deals that I’m going to have to give to them? Because most of these agents are going to have what’s called an exclusive management agreement with the influencer, and that means the influencer cannot use anyone else for any deal-making. And not only that, if an influencer has a friend, family member, another agent, or another influencer they know, if they have anyone bring them deals independently of their current agent, but most of the contracts will also still have the influencer have to give whatever potential opportunity is to their agent.
And then that agent will then negotiate the deal and still get the 20% even if they had nothing to do with bringing it to you. The fear of most agents is that they will bring a great opportunity to an influencer, the influencer terminates the agreement, and then tries to get out of having to pay the agent. That’s why an influencer agency management contract is extremely important. And normally in that scenario, most influencer management contracts will have some provision that states that the influencer will owe their agent whatever state of percentage is, usually for a year after the agreement terminates for any of the deals that that agent negotiated on behalf of the influencer. Just to wrap up, talk to your friends, see who they’ve used and if you’re going to Google, I would go for news articles, see some of your favorite influencers, and there may be a mention of who represents them and then you can contact them that way.
Certainly, there will be a threshold. Some agencies just simply are not going to work with people that don’t have a certain amount of following. And that’s okay. But you should be able to find someone who is professional and reputable and then can assist you with your career no matter what level you are at.
Influencer Management Contract Questions?
Contract Review, Termination Issues, and more!