The negotiation stage of influencer partnerships is often the last hurdle to jump before you can officially launch your campaign. Like any other business partnership you’ll want to find common ground and a mutually beneficial agreement about the expectations and compensation for campaign deliverables. It’s at this point that you should consider whether to draw up a formal influencer agreement or contract.
While it might seem like an unnecessary formality, having a written influencer agreement will help you build strong partnerships in the long run. In this article we’ll explore common questions about setting out an influencer agreement and offer practical tips to help you draw up your own.
What is an influencer agreement?
An influencer agreement or contract is a useful document for navigating professional partnerships. It is usually a written agreement that is signed by both parties, the brand or agency that represents them, and the influencer, as a way to guarantee their commitment to fulfilling every aspect of the partnership. Typically influencer contracts serve to guarantee standards of quality throughout a campaign, such as:
- The protection of brand image
- Criteria for posts: wording, diffusion, and message in line with brand identity
- Nature of the partnership (outreach, sampling, paid, event, etc.)
- Any other requirement that may be specific to the company or campaign
When an agency represents a brand, they usually already have a defined procedure for this process. Oftentimes however no agency is involved and brands must manage their own contracts. That’s why we’ll delve into the practicalities of putting together an influencer agreement.
Why do you need an agreement?
An influencer agreement is needed to set out the terms of your influencer marketing partnership. In short, the agreement makes sure that the influencer will carry out their side of the bargain by producing and publishing high quality content, while also ensuring that the brand will compensate them for their work. It offers clear guidelines and instructions about how to approach the campaign and protects both parties if one side fails to uphold their side of the agreement.
When do you need to create one?
As mentioned above, it’s at the negotiation stage that you should create and sign an influencer agreement. This means you can include specific instructions about how content should be created, if you will validate all content before publication, if there needs to be a non-disclosure agreement, exclusivity clauses or brand ownership of content created. Setting up the agreement before onboarding and starting the campaign means that everyone is clear about the expectations right from the start and will save you time later on.
You may wonder if you need to write up an influencer agreement for every single type of campaign? For simple outreach campaigns where a brand will ask an influencer for a shoutout in exchange for a free product or a coupon code, they probably don’t need to worry too much about a contract.
But the truth is, most influencer marketing campaigns have moved beyond this model. Nowadays, marketers want to create long-term profitable influencer partnerships. Influencer campaigns usually involve different compensation components such as a flat fee plus an additional commission, or offering free products and a performance-based fee. In these instances it’s beneficial for both the brand and the influencer to have a formal influencer contract.
What does an influencer agreement look like?
The components of an influencer agreement depend on the level of control that the brand requires. They could include but are not limited to:
- The creative portion, or obligations concerning the publication. For example, indicating whether a post should feature the full logo, certain brand colors, or respect a predetermined graphic guide.
- The publication itself: ie. “This video should be posted on Youtube December 12th at 5pm exactly.”
- The volume and which social media channel: For example, if 3 posts on Instagram are required.
- Hashtags and mentions: “The account @example should be tagged in every twitter post” or “the hashtag #OurAwesomeCampaign should accompany every photo posted during the event.”
- The duration and expiration of posts: “This Facebook post should not be deleted before six months”
- Their presence at online or in-person events: In the case of events, times and locations should be dictated including whether transport and lodging are paid, or if plus ones are allowed. “Your presence at the Upfluence Event is required from 10 – 5pm”
- Payment details, including fixed prices and variables if applicable such as in affiliation campaigns (for example, “$0.06 per click” )
When you’re ready, you can send over your contract to be signed digitally using an online program or meet face-to-face for a kick-off meeting. It’s also a good opportunity to send over your influencer campaign brief, if you haven’t done so yet, so that the creator has everything they need to get started with content production.
Top tips for creating an influencer agreement:
- Create a new agreement for every new campaign.
- Decide if you need to validate content before it is published and include a specific clause on this if you need to.
- Prepare for the worst-case scenario – decide what happens if the influencer fails to produce the content expected or if there is non-compliance with your brand’s guidelines.
- Include details of the most recent FTC guidelines (or whichever guidelines apply in your location) to ensure your influencers are fully compliant and accurately declare when their posts on social media are sponsored.
- You need to make sure that your influencer helps to enhance your brand reputation and protects brand safety – are there any dos and don’ts they need to be aware of? Include a non-disclosure agreement if needed.
- Remember this agreement protects both parties, so be clear about the compensation and actions that you (as the brand) are committing to uphold as part of the campaign.
To conclude, it is advisable to set up influencer agreements for all kinds of influencer campaigns. It’s particularly recommended for reasons of brand safety or to confirm the presence of an Influencer at an event. It’s important to keep in mind though that imposing too many restrictions on creativity can be counterproductive and ultimately weaken campaign performance. Letting go of creative control (a little) allows Influencers to engage their audiences, they know them best after all.
Excel at every stage of your influencer marketing journey with our guide, Everything You Need To Know About Running Influencer Marketing Campaigns.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog article does not, and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The content and materials provided in this article are for general informational purposes only.