Do Influencers Have Agencies? | Influencer Agency Need
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.
Does an Influencer Need a Marketing Agency?
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.
Influencers and Agency Contracts
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.
Influencer Marketing Agencies and Contracts
What should an agency contract between an agent and an influencer include? What needs to be in that contract? Before you establish any working relationship with an agent, a manager, an agency, whoever it is, there needs to be a contract in place that dictates the terms of the relationship, and what should be included in that agreement would be the length of the agreement, how to terminate the agreement, the responsibilities of the agent, the responsibilities of the influencer, what happens if there is a dispute, what are some examples of breach of contract and then obviously, the payment structure between the influencer and the agent. Normally, it would be a percentage of whatever the agent brings to the influencer.
20% is an average. Some of the most important terms in the contract will also include what happens after the agreement terminates. Almost any agent is going to require some language in the contract that states the influencer is going to have to pay the agent, even after the contract terminates for a period, for any deals that the agent brought the influencer. Let’s just say you are an athlete, and you have a sponsorship opportunity with maybe an apparel company. If the agent brought you that deal, and even if the apparel company wants to continue the relationship, the athlete is going to have to pay 20% back to their agent for normally a year. That’s since agents don’t want to bring an influencer deal, they terminate the relationship and get out of having to pay the commission to the agent.
Obviously, I would consider that reasonable and fair. Now, if the percentage is extended indefinitely, meaning, if the agent says, if I brought you this deal, you owe me 20% forever, well, that’s not reasonable, and that’s not something I would sign if I were an influencer. There must be a cutoff date, and you could even tear down the percentage over time as well. But that’s one thing that will likely be in the contract. And that usually is negotiated. Another aspect that I find is missed frequently is most of the time, you’re going to have deals with a set amount, and it’s based upon historical metrics.
Is it a Marketing Agency?
You will have to provide these metrics to these companies like how many average views do you get on a video, what’s the average duration that people watch the video, what’s the interaction, and the subs versus non-subs, all that data goes to these companies, and then they decide of what is a reasonable price for the sponsorship opportunity. Well, if you have a deal that’s based purely on metrics, meaning, you don’t know what you’re going to make until the video has been out there and calculations have been completed. Your agent is always going to have access to all your metrics. They’re going to have access to your Instagram, your TikTok, your YouTube, any of those things. Well, if a relationship ends, you’re almost always going to revoke access from the agent to those accounts. But if you have a compensation structure that’s based purely on metrics, I can promise you the agent is going to want access to make sure they’re being paid correctly.
Usually, there is a dispute if it’s not written in the contract. So, there needs to be somewhere in the contract that determines what’s going to happen in that scenario. If there is some deal that’s based purely upon metrics, how is the agent going to get access to those numbers and understand that they’re accurate without getting full access to everything that the influencer has because the influencer is absolutely going to want to bar their past agent from getting into their current numbers. You can always negotiate any term in a contract. There’s nothing that’s ironclad, especially for an agency contract. The influencer has the leverage in these negotiations. The agent is going to make money off the influencer. And so, the influencer does/can exert some force in getting favorable terms.
Now, if this is a good professional agent, there’s going to be a limit to how much they’re willing to change. They’re also very valuable if they do a great job. And there’s always a push and a pull. But don’t think that if the agent says this is a take it or leave it deal, you need to leave it. There has to be some give and take in any contract negotiation. Alright, that’s what should be included in an agency influencer contract.
Influencer Agency Cost
What is the percentage of commission that agencies take from a social media influencer? If you are an influencer and you are interested in establishing a relationship with an agency or an agent, there will be a contract that you have to sign. And then this contract is going to dictate the terms of their relationship. In a normal management contract, it’s going to state how long it lasts, how it can be terminated, what happens if there’s a dispute, the responsibilities of both parties, and then obviously what’s the payment structure between the influencer and the agent. Normally, most management influencer management agreements is a percentage commission for whatever the manager brings to the influencer.
And a normal percentage is around 20%. Certainly, can be less, can be more, but 20% is about an average. Now, a couple of considerations: in almost every influencer management agreement, it will likely be exclusive, which means the influencer will not be able to have other managers out there, meaning, you can’t have five managers going out and finding you deals and then bringing them back to you and then you decide which one you want to go with. It’s going to be an exclusive relationship. Meaning, the agent/manager is going to be the only person who can facilitate the sponsorship opportunities for the influencer. Even if a friend, family member, another influencer, or a company reaches out to the influencer directly, even if your current agent has absolutely nothing to do with the deal, the contract is going to state that you still have to give them the deal to negotiate, and then you’re going to have to pay them a percentage of commission no whether they had anything to do to originate the deal or not.
Now, there may be some wiggle room in that scenario, but for the most part, no reputable agent is going to provide a management contract to an influencer without language like that. There also is going to be language that states after the contract terminates, the influencer is still going to have to pay the percentage of the commission back to the agent for a period. For instance, let’s say you’re in fitness and you have a deal with an apparel company.
Influencer Agencies and Marketing Concerns
Your agent brought it to you and negotiated the deal. Even if you terminate the relationship with that agent, they’re still going to get their 20% of that apparel deal for, normally a year after the contract is terminated. Most agents are not interested in bringing deals to an influencer, and then the influencer is terminating the relationship, taking the deal, and then avoiding having to pay any of the commission to the agent. That’s why the language in the contract will dictate that it’s likely you’re going to have to pay the agent even if you no longer work with them anymore. There are some strategies in either lessening the amount of time or the rate that you must pay them. But that’s all part of negotiating the management agreement prior to signing it. So, that’s a little bit about how much an influencer must pay their agent.
Is it a reasonable amount? Certainly, if the agent is good, if they know what they’re doing, it can be a career changer for some influencers to have the right management in place.
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