What Should an Influencer Management Contract Include? | Influencer Agreement
What needs to be included in a social media influencer management contract? First, a management contract for an influencer is going to be between the influencer and whoever is managing you. It could be an individual agent, a marketing agency, or a manager, they’re all thought of as the same thing. When you do establish a relationship with that person, their job is going to be to go out and bring the influencer potential sponsorship opportunities and a contract needs to be in place so that there are no ambiguities about the relationship. And I’m going to go over what needs to be in any influencer management contract.
Include Language to Protect the Influencer
First, the term of the agreement. A term refers to the length. And in almost any contract, it’s going to list how long it lasts, and then whether it automatically renews after the end of the initial term. For most social media influencer management contracts, it’s somewhere between three to five years, and then it may or may not have a language that states it will automatically renew for successive one-year terms after the initial term ends. There will also be a section called termination, which will then dictate how the agreement can be terminated. The last thing you want as an influencer is to get into a management contract with someone that is not doing their job or you’re unhappy with the sponsorship opportunities they’re bringing you, so you absolutely need some mechanism to terminate the contract and move on.
Ways to Terminate Contract
And you would do that through what’s called without-cause termination. In the contract, there’ll be, as I stated before, ways to terminate the agreement, and usually, those will include four ways. If the initial contract ends and it’s not renewed, the contract terminates. You can terminate a contract through mutual agreement. Either party, at any point, feels like this isn’t working out. They both agree: you know what, you’re right. And we’ll just ignore the rest of the terms of the contract. You can mutually agree to terminate the agreement.
You can terminate the contract for-cause. If one of the parties breaches the contract, you will give them written notice. Then they’d have a period to fix whatever the breach is. And if they don’t fix it, you can terminate the agreement.
And then the last thing, as I just said, is without-cause termination. This is easily the most crucial thing that needs to be in any influencer management contract. And this allows either party to terminate the agreement for any reason, at any point, with a certain amount of notice to the other. Typically, it will be somewhere between 30 to 120 days’ notice.
Why One Should Include Without-Cause Termination in Their Influencer Contract
Let’s say you’re an influencer. Your manager is doing a terrible job. You want to find someone else. Then if you had 60-day notice, you would give them written notice saying that I’m going to terminate the agreement. And then there’d be a 60-day period where the relationship would end. And then after those 60 days, the contract is closed, and then the influencer can go off and find a new manager or agent. If it’s not in agreement, it’s an enormous red flag because I guess the leverage in being able to terminate the contract at any point keeps people on their toes, and the agent will work harder. If someone knows that they have an influencer locked in, they might not work. Logically, an agent’s goal is to make money for you and themselves.
And so, they’re going to try to bring as many deals as possible, but it’s just human nature if there isn’t the specter of losing someone, they’re just not going to work as hard. Then if they’re doing a terrible job and you want to get out and you can’t, and it’s an exclusive management contract, you are stuck unless they are in breach of contract. So, it absolutely needs to be in there.
Influencer Contract Compensation
Compensation: How much will you pay the manager or agent? It will be a percentage of whatever deals are struck. The average rate is around 20%. And then another crucial thing is what happens after the contract ends. Almost any contract will state that the manager will continue to get a percentage of any deals they brought to you and that you’ve signed up for and have begun for a period.
Usually, that’s a year. For instance, let’s say you’re in fitness, someone brought you an apparel marketing sponsorship, and the influencer decides to terminate the agreement. Well, the manager will still get 20% of that apparel marketing or fitness opportunity for a year after the contract is terminated. So, you still must pay your old manager for any deals they brought you for a year. Now, that’s certainly something that you can negotiate. You can either negotiate the amount of time you must pay them or reduce the percentage over time. But that is something every influencer should be aware of, and it will likely be in the agreement.
Disputes in Influencer Marketing Contract
What happens if there’s a dispute? Where can you sue them if it gets to that? Is there some arbitration clause? You need to know what the dispute resolution process will be and where that will occur. And then last, the responsibilities of the parties. What does the influencer have to do? And then what does the management company have to do? That will be spelled out in detail as well. This is an important first step for most influencers.
Now to be clear, these are different from just sponsorship contracts. You likely will sign a sponsorship agreement with the people you’re working with and creating videos for, Instagram content, or TikTok. This contract is just between you and your agent. And then, if that starts off on the wrong foot, it can cascade and cripple an influencer’s career going forward. So, this base contract is essential to get right the first time.
Other Blogs of Interest
- Can an Influencer Break Their Management Contract?
- What is the Purpose of an Influencer Management Contract?
Do Influencers Pay Their Managers?
Do influencers pay their management? In short, yes, they do. It would be strange for a manager to work for free. Let’s first talk about management in the industry. There are some clear distinctions between the influencer realms as far as management goes. As far as social media influencers go, an agent, an agency, a management company, and a manager are pretty much the same thing. Now, in the acting arena in California, there are guilds, unions, and laws that dictate how much an agent can charge an actor. Those, at least at this point, don’t apply to social media influencers. Management is anyone assisting the influencer in facilitating sponsorship opportunities, personal appearances, or anything like that.
Influencer Exclusive Management Contract
Then there also is going to be some exclusive relationship between the two. Let’s say an influencer has hit the point of wanting some professional representation. He can find a management company. That company will present the influencer with a contract, usually called an exclusive management contract, exclusive management, or something like that. And then that contract will dictate the terms of the relationship. And then obviously, one of the main parts of that is the payment. An average percentage of an influencer’s commission for a manager or management company is around 20% of whatever they bring to the influencer.
Suppose they facilitate a 30,000-dollar-a-year deal with a food prep company. Then, the manager would get 20% of that 30,000 whenever handed to the influencer. That’s an average amount. Now, it could vary. It certainly could be less or more. But if you’re talking with someone and that someone is saying, oh, I take half or 40%. They’re just trying to take advantage of you. That’s crazy.
What to Think About Regarding Exclusive Management Contract
Now, two things to think about are exclusive management contracts, meaning they will be the only company/person that can assist the influencer and facilitate deals. So, suppose an influencer has an exclusive management contract, and a friend, another influencer, or a brand reaches out to them directly. In that case, the contract will require them to send that to their manager. And then that manager will then negotiate/facilitate the deal and take a 20% commission.
So, you can’t get out of paying your manager the 20% for any deal that you utilize while under the exclusive management contract. Managers do that because they don’t want an influencer to funnel deals through a third party. That is to avoid having to pay their manager anything.
Payment After Influencer Management Contract Terminates
There also will be language in the contract that states the influencer will still have to pay their manager after the contract terminates, which surprises many. If a manager brings someone a deal, then let’s say it’s a one-year deal. Suppose the influencer terminates the agreement. Then, the manager will state, or at least the management contract, that the influencer will still have to pay 20% of whatever that manager brought them. That is usually for a year after the contract ends.
Let’s say you’re in the fitness industry, you have an apparel deal you just signed, and then you decide to terminate the agreement with the manager. You’ll not get out of having to pay them 20%. You’ll have to pay them 20% for, as I said before, a year after the contract ends. Now, that can be negotiable: the amount of time you need to pay the manager or even the percentage. You might want to try to reduce it over time. But you’ll rarely have an exclusive management contract that doesn’t include some language that states the influencer will still have to pay the manager for specific deals.
They don’t want to bring a great deal to an influencer. The influencer terminates the contract, takes the deal, and then avoids having to pay the manager any commission percentages. That’s fair. So, that’s a little bit about how much managers get paid by influencers.
How Do I Get a Manager as a Social Media Influencer? | Influencer and Manager
What is the best way for an influencer to find a manager? In any influencer’s social media career, there’ll be a point where it would make sense to bring in a professional to assist them with their career. And let’s distinguish between a manager and an agent because, within the influencer industry, it’s different than maybe outside of it. For the most part, in California, with actors, some laws dictate what an agent and or manager can do. And so, there are caps on the percentage that an agent can take. They need to be through a licensed agency to negotiate. A manager, at least typically, is thought to assist the actor in day-to-day duties and manage their career. In the influencer arena, at least at this point, no laws exist that dictate the definition between the two.
I find social media influencers look at social media influencer agents and managers as the same thing, it’s used interchangeably. When you want to go out and find an agent or manager, there are a few places, at least initially, where you can find them. If it’s an actual agent, it would be through a talent agency. Some individual agents out there may identify as an agent not part of an agency. That is because they don’t need to, or they could also be a manager. Most of them are maybe in a smaller agency or management company, but they’re not necessarily known as an agency.
What Is an Ideal Influencer Manager?
So, when looking for a manager, you need to consider what type of person you want in this role. Well, one, you want someone with at least some experience in the social media industry. The benefit of having an experienced manager is they will have relationships with brands. They will know the industry-standard rate per YouTube spot, per Instagram post, some sponsored TikTok video, or something like that. Whereas if you have someone who has never done it before, I frequently have influencers on social media say, well, my friend thinks they can handle it. Okay, but there needs to be some expertise to jumpstart the influencer’s career. And only experienced managers can do that in the industry. I’m not saying someone with no experience can’t do a good job, but probably unlikely for a couple of reasons.
The manager will also have contacts with attorneys or whoever can assist in influencer contract negotiation and review. The managers will also know where to direct the influencer. Suppose you don’t want to work with this brand, or you do want to work with another brand. The best place to look for a manager that can help your career is first with your fellow influencer friends. I mean, most influencers have influencer friends. And so, if you have friends or other influencers that you know that have management, ask them, who have you used in the past? Who do you use now? Are you happy with them? Have there been any problems now? Once someone gets big enough, they will also have people reach out to them.
Charge to the Social Media Influencers
And if you’re going to discuss potential management opportunities, then you need to ask some particular questions. Who else have you worked with? Did you have contracts with them? What is your commission percentage? Do I have to pay you after the influencer contract ends? What brands have you worked with? These are all things someone should be able to answer if they’re going to be an asset to the influencer and not someone who’s just trying to figure it out. Also, many influencers are, I don’t know if, “concerned” is the right word but are reluctant to pay.
Usually, 20% is the going rate for a manager in the influencer industry. They don’t want to pay a manager 20% of their compensation. But if you have a good manager, that person should bring vastly more than the 20% you’re paying them, as I said before, with knowledge of the brands and the pricing and that type of thing.
Yes, if you’re using someone who’s not good at their job, it could be a total money sink for you and not worth it. But if you hook up with someone who knows what they’re doing, it can skyrocket an influencer’s career. Not only the sponsorship opportunities but the career management as well. Like you want to transition from this, into this. Do you want to make personal appearances? If you’re an athlete, are there some camps associated with which you could start running? When they’re beginning, there are just a ton of different opportunities that most people don’t understand. A great manager can assist them with that.
What to Consider When Searching Online
Suppose you’ll look online. Then an agency should include a client list on their website. You may reach out to those influencers and say, hey, I’m interested in using them as management. What are your thoughts? I do find that some of the websites are not up to date. Suppose you go on there and you’ll see a whole list of people. Then, if you contact them, they’re like, no, I don’t work with them anymore. So, you need to be careful as far as that goes. If it’s just a solo person, that’s something to be a little bit concerned about. Like one thing that you want is responsiveness. If you contact your manager and they don’t get back to you for days, that’s not someone you want to work with.
I mean, everyone’s busy, so they can’t get back to you within a minute. But if you text your manager, they better get back to you relatively quickly. An influencer deserves that, just like me as an attorney. If a client contacts me, I can’t sit on it for a week. I get back to them because they have a question that needs a quick response. It’s just good business to do that. So, anyway, those are the avenues to find representation. If you’re an influencer, it makes sense to do it once you hit a certain point, and they can assist your career.
Influencer Management Contracts | Should You Sign What Your Manager Brings You?
There is always a temptation to assume that your manager is always putting your best interest first when you have someone who takes care of your day-to-day business operations. But that is not always the case. Think about the 90s pop band “The Backstreet Boys” members and how their manager Lou Pearlman took them for a ride. In that case, Pearlman was dead set on scamming the pop band out of their hard-earned money from the start. However, he was so charismatic and charming that many couldn’t believe he had done all he had to scam the boys (and many others he represented).
The Pearlman case is an extreme example of injustice by a manager. Still, it is also a cautionary tale for anyone who thinks that their talent agents and others they give responsibility over some portion of their money-making abilities always do entirely ethical things. This is one of the reasons why it is important for an influencer management contract attorney to always go over all of the documents presented to you as an influencer. You are simply better off safe than sorry when it comes to these types of things.
Contract Terms That Are to Be Expected
Contracts need to have rules and stipulations to them, and there are certain things that all talented influencers should expect in any contract they take on. That is to say that not everything noted in a contract has to be looked upon with suspicion. It is best to evaluate on a case-by-case basis. Here are a few ideas that you would expect to be in influencer management contracts:
- Terms of Employment (of the manager) – There should be definitions of the manager’s responsibilities and what they need to do for their agent to remain employed by that influencer. The manager must have everything spelled out for them in precise detail to ensure they know exactly what is expected of them in meeting the terms of their contract. Failure to place these specific terms in their contract could leave too much room for misunderstandings, and no one wants to put themselves in that position.
- Objectives That Must Be Met – The manager needs to bring in a certain amount of business for the influencer to make their services worthwhile. A contract that details those objects can be a very powerful contract indeed. After all, it is always nice to know that everyone is shooting for the same targets in these situations.
- Compensation Structure – There are numerous ways that influencers and their managers may work out the compensation. If a manager sees that they are likely attaching themselves to a superstar influencer, they may be more prone to look for ways to cash in on what they see as a lucrative career ahead. Thus, a manager may seek to earn some share of the future profits that the influencer generates during their work. Influencers should be somewhat wary of this as they don’t want to give away too much of the equity they have in their own future earnings.
These are all typical terms in influencer management agreements that one might expect to see. One should pay close attention to the last point about compensation structure because this is where some managers will try to slip in clauses that entitle them to more than they are honestly worth.
Is it Necessary to Have a Lawyer Look it Over?
You are not legally obligated to have an attorney look over your influencer management contracts. Still, it would help if you considered doing so to avoid any outcome you don’t want to see. It takes a short time and a small amount of money to get an attorney to look over what you need within the contract you are working on.
When you do hire an attorney like this, you can ask them to kindly review the influencer contract you have received from a manager line by line. The benefit you get from this is having an attorney sign off everything that looks legitimate to them. Instead of spending excessive time worrying about what may or may not be contained within a contract, you might be signing, why not spend that time working out the details of how you will construct your next videos for social media?
It is more challenging to be a social media influencer than many believe, and it takes a lot of work and concentration to pull off. This is impossible if you are always worried about scanning through every contract.
How We Can Assist Today
There are plenty of things that we can do to help you out. When dealing with an agreement with a manager you might want to hire, we can help with legal matters. Here are a few of the things that we offer to everyone who schedules an appointment with us:
- The chance to look over every piece of information contained within a contract
- A one-on-one meeting with you to talk about the features of the contract that you are proposing
- Recommendations for suggested edits to your contract to make it more applicable to the situation you find yourself in
- Formatting recommendations to ensure that all elements are included in a standardized way that you can use again
If you need a manager, you need to ensure quickly reviewing any potential contract. Therefore, we highly recommend you contact us to start the legal process. It takes a while to get things just right, and this is why we want you to start the process by calling our offices today. It is the best and only way that we can start working on your case.
Influencer Management Contract Terms | Laying the Groundwork for What is Expected in Influencer Contract
The market for social media influencer content is on the rise. IZEA, a social media marketing agency, publishes a report each year in which they detail some figures about how much influencers are being paid. For 2021, IZEA reviewed a total of $60 million in payments to social media influencers to see how that money was distributed. Here are some of their findings:
- Nano-influencers (1,000-10,000 followers) were paid an average of $901 per post. This is a 36x increase from what they were paid in 2015!
- Mid-tier influencers (50,000-200,000 followers) were paid an average of $3,087 per post. This is up 6.4x what they were paid in 2015.
- Mega influencers (500,000-1,000,000 followers) were paid an average of $6,786 per post. That is also up 4x compared to 2015.
The overwhelming trend in these numbers is that brands are willing to pay influencers much more than they were just years ago. It is also true that they are willing to pay for larger audiences. Both things are valid simultaneously, meaning much more attention is being paid to influencer marketing.
Social media influencers often appear to do all of their promotions and endorsements spur of the moment without a care in the world. Of course, this is staged just right to make it appear that way, even though much thought goes into what they do. Almost every aspect of an influencer’s endorsement is part of a contract they make with the brand or company they are working with. As such, we wanted to look at some of the terms contracts often contain to understand better the work-life an influencer has.
Influencer Contract Terms Include
Parties will clearly discuss the kind of content the influencer will produce for the brand ahead of time. Both sides of this transaction need to get together to determine what type of content they will put out and how that content will correspond with the brand’s overall strategy. Influencer management contracts will contain a few terms within this aspect of the contract. They include:
- Exclusive Management Clause – A social media influencer manager will likely want to include a clause written into the contract that they offer their talent that dictates that they are to be the sole manager of that talent. This is done to ensure the content put out by the talent follows what both parties have previously agreed to.
- Length of Access to Data – Managers need access to influencer data to decide who to hire and how long. However, that data connection needs to be revoked after a while when the performer no longer works directly with the manager they originally signed up with.
- Non-Compete Clause – There is likely to be a clause within the contract that requires the influencer not to produce endorsed content for any other brand that directly competes with the brand currently signing them up.
- Commission – The manager will likely put in information about how much commission they expect to get for helping the talent find endorsement deals in the first place.
- Termination – There should be specific information about how an influencer can terminate the contract they have set up. This will make it easier for them to end an agreement not actively serving their purposes.
These are just a few aspects of influencer management contract terms. There are many more aspects of these contracts to consider as well.
Essential Requirements for Social Media Influencers
It is ideal to include all of the essential elements of an influencer management contract hammered out in specific detail within that contract. Failure to do so can mean that important aspects of the relationship get left out. Companies will want to make sure it is clear what their goals are for the relationship that they develop with an influencer that they pay to market their posts. Here are some examples of things that most companies want to ensure are a part of their overarching goals for the campaign:
- Increase Brand Awareness – Virtually every marketing campaign has been used in part to increase brand awareness, which is no different for social media influencer marketing. Brands want to ensure that they get their messages out to the broader public in a way that promotes who they are and what they offer in a way that is appealing to their target demographics via an influencer.
- Gain Traffic – Getting more traffic to a company website or driving sales in some way is a clear objective that the influencer contract should spell out. Failure to improve the amount of traffic one receives to their website can certainly be a good enough reason to eliminate the contract deal you have set up with a social media influencer. You don’t want to continue offering a deal to such an individual if they are not providing your company with the type of returns you expect.
- Connect with a New Audience – Another explicit goal of the campaign can be to connect with a new audience you haven’t reached before. The value in doing this is that you can reach out to a group of people who might otherwise have never heard about your products or service. They may be interested in what you have to offer, but until you take the time to reach out to them, you will simply never know if this is the case. The influencer management contract terms can and should spell out this desire.
Have a Lawyer Look Over the Contract
It is highly recommended that you have an influencer management contract attorney review the contract you produce for your talented influencers.
The best-written contracts ensure everyone is on the same page as far as expectations are concerned, and the only way to reach that point is to use an attorney who knows how to create such a contract.
Please contact us today to set up a free consultation and get started with an experienced lawyer from our team.
Influencer Management Contract Questions?
Contract Review, Termination Issues, and more!