Influencer Agents: What Do They Do and How Do We Best Work With Them?
In the modern marketing arena, collaborating with social media influencers is the latest strategy for reaching target audiences and generating positive online PR for brands. Influencer marketing enables brands to engage with consumers through an influencer’s social communication platforms such as Instagram or Youtube. Working with influencers poses many benefits to brands such as better engagement with audiences, gaining followers and increasing brand awareness.
Best of all, influencer marketing gets brands in front of target audiences in a way that feels more organic than through traditional methods such as an advertisement or a post from the brand’s own social media accounts.
As influencer marketing soars in popularity, the lack of traditional celebrity and negotiating power that brands initially benefited from are dwindling. Getting an influencer to promote your brand is not as simple as sliding into their DMs with a discount code or free product.
Now, career influencers and brands are investing in agents to represent their interests in the pursuit of promotion deals and to negotiate promotion terms to clearly outline expectations. While you may be familiar with a talent agency, agents for an individual posting to their social media may look different.
So, what is an influencer agent? As explained by IZEA, influencer talent agents work with influencers to connect them with different partnerships or jobs with brands. Agents for influencers must introduce brands to the influencer, negotiate a partnership and manage everything related to that like costs, creative control, and other factors. They are ultimately the liaison between a brand and the influencer.
Typically, agents work with the largest influencers (those with hundreds of thousands of followers or even millions) versus micro or nano influencers. This is due to the more significant profits large influencers generate as agents make their commission through these bookings. A micro influencer, with as few as a few thousand followers, simply don’t earn enough from their brand sponsorships to hire a middleman. Therefore, needless to say, agents are not for everyone.
As a brand, using an agency saves search efforts for famous thought-leaders in their target groups. However, if your goal is to use cheaper influencers to share your brand with their networks, an agency can be a waste.
To better understand an influencer agent’s role in influencer marketing, here’s a look at their functions and partnerships:
What Else Does Their Job Entail?
As the intermediary between the influencer and the brand, an agent has the task of facilitating communication between both parties and reaching a conclusion that is mutually beneficial. One of their primary responsibilities in doing so is helping brands understand the value of their clients (influencers). This is mainly done by putting together resources such as a media kit and standard rate card to best position them. These media kits introduce the influencer to the brand with a biography segment, images, past works, and other crucial factors.
In addition to starting the initial talks of entering a partnership, influencer agents are full-time negotiators. They must negotiate these opportunities with brands to get their clients work. Key differences in influencer agents versus other agent types are in the terms of their negotiations. Agents must reach agreements on price, content guidelines, post timing on social media and other factors associated with influencer marketing.
With that being said, once a negotiation is agreed upon, it is also up to the agent to review and edit the partnership contracts. It’s the agent’s responsibility to ensure their client is receiving fair treatment and is going into a job with a mutually beneficial contract. Most importantly, agents need to review contract fine print to protect the influencer. They must ensure there are no surprises for the influencer and prevent them from agreeing to a deal that could somehow harm them or limit their career in the future.
Beyond overseeing current deals, influencer agents constantly search for new brands to partner with. As an agent, they use their insider knowledge and base future opportunities on industry research and connections.
Partnering with new brands continuously generates potential jobs for influencers – another major aspect of an agency’s role. When doing so, agents need to be mindful of the types of brands they foster connections with to best match the influencer to the brand. The more an influencer’s content or lifestyle connects to a brand’s messaging, the better cohesion the brand and influencer will have in their partnership. The more related a brand’s and influencer’s purpose is, the more effective influencer marketing initiatives will be.
While it may go without saying, once agents find new brands to partner with, they need to also cultivate the brand and agency relationship. More important than discovering new brands, maintaining positive relationships with brands is the best strategy for growth and success. Having contacts that you have a relationship with improves your understanding of the brand’s goals. This closer bond means more potential deals or favors for agency clients and more trustworthiness of influencers in the eyes of brands. The more comfortable and familiar a brand is with an agency, the more willing they are to consider working with an influencer.
What Do Agents Look For In A Successful Influencer Agency Relationship?
Once you understand the agent’s role in fostering and managing partnerships, it’s important to also consider what agents look for in maintaining a successful influencer agency relationship. Agents represent their client’s best interests when partnering with brands and must have a relationship with the influencer that is more than just transactional. Here are the key things agents look for in a successful influencer agency relationship.
The most important thing agents look for in their relationships with influencers is seamless communication. Effective communication both internally with their clients and with brands is key to their success. Transparent communication entails clear partnership guidelines and setting realistic expectations for all parties involved.
To make sure agents have an understanding with influencers and brands, agents rely on formal documentation to present agreements and provide records proving clear communications took place. This typically includes contracts that outline the parameters of the partnerships between the brand and influencer and includes a creative brief. Differing from other agent agreements, a creative brief is especially important in defining the creative aspects of what the influencer is expected to post.
Influencer Creative Control
Agents also look for influencer creative control. Influencers should create content that’s appropriate according to the creative brief; however, they should still have the ability to use their own creative vision. After all, the basis of working with the influencer is due to their content. Protecting the influencer’s creative integrity is an important aspect of partnering with a brand.
Simple Approval Process
Agents don’t want to waste time with disputes over the terms of a promotion the influencer posts. They seek an easy and straightforward approval process so the influencer can share content with their followers and brands can respond to these efforts. The smoother the process can be, the better.
Understandably, agents also stress quick and on time payments from the brand to the influencer. As their commission comes from the influencer, this is a major priority for an agency. Additionally, the shorter the net terms, the better. Lingering payments can damage influencer and brand relationships and hinder future partnerships.
Ability to Negotiate Fairly
As the connection between the brand and influencer, agents need to be able to make both parties happy in the partnership. Fair negotiations are essential to reach a mutual agreement and yield positive results in the promotion. However, this is also heavily dependent on the openness of the influencer and brand entering negotiations.
You win more bees with honey than with vinegar. While this is true for all aspects of life, it’s especially true as an influencer agent. Kind words should not be optional when interacting with brands, agents and influencers. Additionally, the environment an agent creates should be conducive to providing constructive feedback for the influencer – if any. Positive, kind words set up agency relations for success in the long run.
Ability to Share Analytics
Measuring the success of a post and analyzing engagement levels help brands perfect their influencer marketing strategies and help the influencer modify tactics to improve effectiveness. An agent needs to be able to share conversions and other data if asked to ensure transparency and change approaches as needed. Sharing these findings keeps everyone in the loop and makes it easier to set expectations for results.
Agents’ goals in building a successful relationship are focused on the long-term. Therefore, they seek out partnerships that have the potential to be ongoing with multiple deliverables versus one-off posts. Rather than having their client do a single promotion for a brand, agents aim to establish partnerships that allow the influencer to grow with the brand and become part of the influencer’s online identity. Not only does this benefit the agent financially, but it also helps the brand release consistent messaging and build rapport with an influencer’s audience.