How Do I Get a Manager as a Social Media Influencer? | Concerns with Influencer Social Media Managers
What is the best way for an influencer to find a manager? In any influencer’s career, as they grow, there will be a point where it would make sense for them to bring in a professional to assist them with their career. And let’s make a distinction between what a manager and an agent is because within the influencer industry, it’s different than maybe outside of it. For the most part in California with actors, there are some laws that dictate what an agent and or manager can do. And so, there are caps on the percentage that an agent can take, they must be through a licensed agency in order to negotiate. Whereas a manager, at least normally, 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.
Social Media Marketing Manager
I find for social media influencers, they look at social media influencer agents and managers as the same thing, so the term could be used interchangeably. When you do want to go out and find an agent or manager, there are a couple of places, at least initially, where you can find them. If it’s an actual agent, it would be through a talent agency. There are some individual agents out there, or maybe they just identify as an agent where they’re not part of an agency because they’re not required to, or they also could be a manager. Most of them are maybe in a smaller agency or management company, but they’re not necessarily known as an agency. So, when you are looking for a manager, you need to think about, alright, what type of person do I want in this role?
Well, one, you want someone with at least some experience in the industry. The entire benefit of having an experienced manager is they’re going to have relationships with brands, they’re going to know what the industry-standard rate for a YouTube spot, Instagram post, some sponsored TikTok video, something like that. Whereas if you have someone who has never done it before, for instance, I frequently have influencers say, well, my friend thinks they can handle it. Okay, but there needs to be some level of expertise to really jumpstart the influencer’s career. And that can only be done through someone who has experience in the industry. I’m not saying it’s impossible for someone with no experience to do a good job, but probably unlikely for a couple of reasons. Other topics of interest include:
One, the manager will also have contacts with attorneys or whoever, that can assist in contract negotiation and review. The managers, as I said before, will also know where to direct the influencer as far as, alright, 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 really 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 have people reach out to them as well.
Influencer Marketing Manager Percentage
And if you’re going to discuss potential management opportunities, then you need to ask some very specific 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 contract ends? What brands have you worked with? These are all things that 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 20% of their compensation to a manager. But if you have a really 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 at all. But if you hook up with someone who really 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? There are just a ton of different opportunities that most people, when they’re starting, just don’t understand are out there and a great manager can assist them with that.
Do Influencers Need an Influencer Manager?
You could look online, but if you are going to do that, they should have a client list on their website and then maybe 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. If you go on there and you’ll see a whole list of people, and 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 purely a solo person, that’s something to be a little bit concerned about as well. Like one thing that you absolutely want is responsive. 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 I am contacted by a client, I can’t sit on it for a week. I get back to them because they obviously have a question that needs to be answered quickly. 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 really assist your career.
Does a Manager Work For Free?
Do influencers pay their management? In short, yes, they absolutely 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. An agent, an agency, a management company, and a manager, as far as social media influencers go, are pretty much the same thing. Now, in the acting arena in California, there are guilds, there are unions, and there are laws that dictate how much an agent can charge an actor. Those simply, at least at this point, don’t apply to social media influencers. What I’m talking about management, I mean, anyone who is assisting the influencer in facilitating sponsorship opportunities, personal appearances, anything like that.
Then there also is going to be some exclusive relationship between the two. Let’s say an influencer has hit the point where they want some professional representation, they find a management company. That company is going to present the influencer with a contract, and it’s usually going to be called an exclusive management contract, exclusive management, something like that. And then in that contract, it’s going to dictate the terms of the relationship. And then obviously, one of the main parts of that is the payment. A normal percentage of commission for a manager or management company for an influencer is around 20% of whatever they bring to the influencer. So, if 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 it’s paid to the influencer. That’s a standard amount.
Now, it could vary, certainly could be less, it could be more. But if you’re talking with someone and they’re saying, oh, I take half or 40%, they’re just trying to take advantage of you. That’s crazy. Now, two things to think about: as I said before, these are going to be exclusive management contracts, meaning, they’re going to be the only company/person that can assist the influencer and facilitate deals. So, if an influencer has an exclusive management contract and a friend, another influencer, or a brand reaches out to them directly, they’re going to be required by the contract 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. I mean, the reason why managers do that is they don’t want an influencer to, I guess, funnel deals through a third party, just to avoid having to pay their manager anything. There also will be language in the contract that states the influencer will still have to pay their manager after the contract terminates, which is a surprise to many. If a manager brings someone a deal and then let’s say it’s a one-year deal. If the influencer terminates the agreement, the manager will state, or at least the management contract will state, that the influencer will still have to pay 20% of whatever that manager brought them, usually for a year after the contract ends.
Let’s say you’re in the fitness industry, you have an apparel deal that you just signed, and then you decide to terminate the agreement with the manager. You’re not going to get out of having to pay them 20%. You’re going to have to pay them 20% for, as I said before, a year after the contract ends. Now, that can be negotiable either the amount of time that you must pay the manager or even the percentage. You might want to try to reduce it over time. But it’s very rare that you’ll have an exclusive management contract that doesn’t have some language that states the influencer will still have to pay the manager for certain deals. I mean, they just 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 of the commission percentages. That’s fair. So, that’s a little bit about how much managers get paid by influencers.
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 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 have 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.
Does an Influencer Need an Agent? | Influencers and Agencies
Does a social media influencer need an agent? What does an agent do for an influencer? They can do a lot. Now, can they do it well? I guess that’s an open question. The role of an agent is to do two things: one, find sponsorship opportunities for the influencer and bring them to them, and then two, negotiate the terms of the marketing agency contract, the payment, the frequency, and how much the influencer must do. And then, they act as a shield between the sponsors and the influencer. There are plenty of influencers who are more than capable of doing this on their own. However, I’m not necessarily sure that’s the smartest business strategy.
Influencer Agents Are Not Inexpensive
You can’t do everything as an influencer. Suppose you are creating content, coming up with ideas, negotiating with the sponsors, going out, and finding deals. In that case, you will not have enough time in the day to do and focus on what you’re good at. An agent can take a huge burden away from an influencer by, as I said before, being that shield and then handling all the details of that relationship. Now, the downside of working with an agent, well, obviously, you’re giving up a percentage of whatever you’re making from the sponsors. Any agent will get a percentage of your commission from the sponsor’s compensation. Normally, that’s around 20%. So, you’re giving this agent up 20% of your income.
Is the Agent Worth the Percentage You’re Paying
Now, you also must think on the other side. That this agent should be providing more than the 20% that you’re paying them in potential opportunities. Every good agent, manager, marketing agency, whatever you call it, has established relationships with brands. Then their job is to push their people to those brands to see them as an asset and use them in their influencer role. So, a good agent should be well worth the 20% by bringing many more opportunities to the influencer than they would have if they had been doing it on their own. And then two, negotiating the compensation. I find that many influencers are just starting, and maybe they’re building their brand and doing a great job of providing great content and gaining followers.
Those influencers don’t know what their worth is. And so, if someone reaches out to them and decides to do it on their own, they have no idea if they’re receiving a fair salary or well underpaid. Whereas a good agent will tell you, you are worth this exact amount based on your metrics. The average view duration on YouTube is important, and the audience, the audience’s age, and how many people are watching are subs versus not. There are a ton of metrics that go into what makes an influencer worth it to partner with the sponsor. And then, all of the metrics the sponsors will want to see, and the agent should be great at facilitating the correct compensation for the influencer.
What Needs to Be in a Management Contract?
Now, before you enter any relationship with an agent, a marketing agency, a manager, or whatever you want to call it, you need a contract that dictates the terms of that relationship. I have found influencers who are using like a friend who’s like, oh, I know how to do this. And they go about it with a handshake which is a terrible way of doing business. As an influencer, and you are going to make money as an influencer, you are a professional. You need to act like a professional, meaning you need to have contracts with all the people working for you. And that contract needs to dictate the terms of the agreement, such as:
- How much you’re paying them
- What they’re doing for you
- Exactly how long the contract lasts
- How it terminates
- What happens if there’s a dispute
All those need to be in the contract. Suppose those things aren’t in a contract with an agent. They do pop up, where litigation, legal disputes, whatever you want to call it, can happen.
Avenues on Finding an Agent
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 an Influencer absolutely should not take is utilizing a friend. Repeatedly, I find people who will say, oh, you know what? I’ve been 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, knowing the industry is extremely important for an agent. They need to know the going rate for an Instagram story, a YouTube video, or a personal appearance. You’ll not know these things if you’ve never been through this before. That will also know when to push back:
- Average expectation for the influencer
- How many appearances must they make
- What are the industry norms are
It Is Recommended to Look for an Experienced Agent
Not to say it’s impossible for someone who’s never done it before, but it isn’t easy. And it’s very likely the influencer will be leaving money on the table when going with somebody who has no 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 also spill over into the personal realm. 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. Someone who has experience doing it and then has a roster of clients they can show you.
Many agents will start in an agency, get their feet wet, learn the business, and then 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 more contract knowledge if they have experience with contracting. Still, an agent for an influencer does not have to be an attorney. I would say at least half of them are not. Now, how much does an influencer have to pay this person? That’s always a big question. It’s based upon a percentage cost of the commission. Whatever deals this person brings you and negotiates the price, they will get a percentage cost of that.
Influencer Talent Management Charge a Percentage
Very rarely are you going to find any agent influencer relationship where it’s a flat fee? Most of the time, the percentage cost 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. As an Influencer, you must do a little math equation in your mind. Alright, is the value this agent will bring me worth more than the 20% of all my deals I will have to give them? Because most of these agents are going to have what’s called an exclusive management agreement with the influencer.
That means the influencer cannot use anyone else for any deal-making. And not only that, if an influencer has a friend, family member, agent, or another influencer they know. Suppose they have anyone bring them deals independently of their current agent. However, most of the contracts will still have the influencer 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 the Influencer.
Do Influencer Managers Have Contracts? | Need for Safe and Fair Influencer Management Agreements
Do influencer managers have contracts? In short, they better have. Suppose you are an influencer and have decided that you’ve reached a level where you think some professional representation would help you move forward. In that case, you’re going to look for an agency, a manager, a management company, or an agent. It’s all the same in the influencer realm. Outside, in other industries, like with actors, some legal definitions and laws, especially in California, dictate the different roles a manager, or agency, can have. They must be licensed through an agency. There’s a cap on the percentage they can take. Whereas in the influencer arena, at least as far as the date of this blog, it’s a gray area.
Influencer Marketing Contract Concerns
And there’s not a lot of regulation of the industry. Most of any management is all lumped into one big pot, even though they might be called something different. Suppose you have reached a point where maybe you found a social media influencer manager or an agency you’re interested in associating with. In that case, there will be, or at least they will require, an exclusive management contract between them and you. That contract will dictate all the terms of the relationship between you and the manager. The length of the agreement, how to terminate it, the commission percentage or flat fee paid to your manager, and what happens after termination. There are some things you’ll have to continue paying the manager after the agreement ends. And there’s language in there about that.
What if There’s a Dispute?
What happens if there’s a dispute? Where is that dispute heard? It’s called the venue. The responsibilities of the manager, of the influencer. The entire point of a contract is that if there are some disputes, it should be spelled out in the contract as far as somebody is in breach. Is someone not doing what they said they would? In that scenario, a contract helps avoid and resolve disputes without going to litigation or arbitration or depending upon what’s in the contract. If you find someone and they say, you know what, I don’t want to make this a formal thing.
Let’s just handshake, verbally agree to the payment, whatever, that’s an enormous red flag, and no influencer should go into that for a couple of reasons. In almost any management contract, there will be some language stating that after the contract terminates, the manager will still receive a percentage of any deals they brought to the influencer for a period. Usually a year.
It’s Usually an Exclusive Management Contract
Also, it will have language that states the exclusive management for the influencer. Maybe if a friend, another influencer, or a sponsor reaches out directly to the influencer and says, here’s an opportunity we’d like you to take, there will be language in the contract that states the manager has to be given all of those deals, no matter what. And they’ll still get a percentage of those deals, even if they initially didn’t bring them to the influencer. And then also, how did the relationship end? Do you have to give some notice, which is typical in a contract? What happens if one party is in breach of contract? Does the agreement automatically renew after the initial term? Influencers have to figure out all this stuff in advance. Going into a relationship without a contract is a recipe for disaster.
Content and Brand Language in Influencer Contracts
Now, if you are an influencer and you’ve received a management contract, it needs to be reviewed by an attorney. It’s just reality. Some say, ah, I don’t want to throw down the money. When I review many employment contracts for healthcare providers and physicians, we can save or gain hundreds of thousands of dollars for these physicians. And they’re concerned about spending a tiny fraction of that on a review. If you’re doing it the smart way, you need to get a review from somebody. That person can assist you in knowing, alright, what is an average percentage? What should the language look like? As I said before, all the things that you should be concerned about. If a manager brings you their contract, it will be slanted towards the manager.
That’s just how it works. And so, influencers need to push back, and everything is up for negotiation. The good thing about negotiating for influencers is that the influencers have leverage. You could choose anybody and the manager. Although they can bring a lot to the table, they also stand to make a lot of money off the influencer. And so, influencers have some leverage in making changes to the contract.
What Is Exclusive Management of an Influencer | Influencer Management Issues?
Suppose you are an influencer at some point. In that case, you will likely reach out to an agency, a specific agent, a manager, or someone who will facilitate the brand sponsorship opportunities that any influencer can get. And you will ultimately sign a contract as well, which kind of dictates the terms of the relationship between the influencer and the agency. In all those contracts, there will be a clause called exclusive management. And this is going to dictate what the influencer can and can’t do. Exclusive management means that whoever you sign with will be the only party facilitating deals between you and a brand.
So, even if a brand contacted the influencer directly, let’s say. Suppose they had an exclusive management contract. Then, there will likely be language that states that even if we had nothing to do with this deal. Suppose someone contacts you for a brand endorsement opportunity. It would help if you referred them to the agency.
Then, the agency would be the ones that undertake the negotiation with the brand sponsor. They would reach an agreement. The agency would present that brand endorsement opportunity to the influencer. Additionally, it’s the job of any manager or agency to go out and find brand endorsement deals for the influencer. And once again, they would be the only party that would be allowed to do that. Suppose you had a friend that came to you with a deal or another agent. Suppose you have an exclusive management contract with an agency or an agent. In that case, they will not be able to get compensated for whatever they bring to you. You would be required to refer them to your agency. And then, once again, they would be the ones to facilitate the brand endorsement opportunity.
Influencers Pay After the Agreement Terminates
Now, why is this? Quite simply. If someone manages you, they’ll want to benefit from the commission percentage cost negotiated between you and the brand. 20% is an industry-standard amount. Suppose someone brought you a brand sponsorship opportunity that was 2000 a month. If they got 20% of that, you would get paid every month. Then, the manager would receive 20% of 2000. And then that is how the compensation would occur between the two parties.
There’ll be clauses stating if the influencer decides to terminate the management agreement. Then, any sponsors with whom the influencer has had a relationship with the management company still have to pay the commission percentage cost for a period after the contract termination. Most of the time, that’s one year. Let’s say you established a relationship with a meal prep company. And then you decide, you know what, I’m going to move on to a different manager. However, the meal prep company said, ” Hey, even though you’re not with the manager, we still want to associate with you. The contract would likely state, if it’s an exclusive management contract, that even if they are no longer your manager. You still must pay them the 20% for a year after the contract terminates. That’s standard.
Any management company’s biggest fear is bringing a bunch of deals to an influencer. The influencer terminates the contract. Then they avoid paying the 20% to the agency or manager, whoever brought them the deal.
Negotiate the Look Back Period
Now, where influencers can negotiate is the amount of time after the contract ends. That kind of payback percentage cost would last. Then the percentage cost of the agent or manager would be negotiable. Are exclusive management contracts good or bad? Well, for the most part, they’re good. Most influencers are not as savvy as a reputable marketing agency. And influencers have established relationships with companies and have a broad reach. They can generally bring influencers things they wouldn’t know how to bring to themselves or have the contacts to facilitate those deals.
Influencer Management Contract Questions?
Contract Review, Termination Issues, and more!