Influencer Contracts in Practice

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The question of contracts comes up a lot with businesses that are new to Influencer Marketing. How else are you supposed to ensure performance? But did you know contracts can actually be stifling to campaign success if poorly constructed? So what does an Influencer contract look like and how often (and strictly) should you be employing them? Here’s the Upfluence take on things:

What is an ‘Influencer contract’ and when should you use them?

Like any other contract, there are at least two parties concerned. As for Influencer campaigns, these parties constitute the brand (or agency that represents them) and of course, the Influencer. Typically 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 already have a defined procedure for this process. Oftentimes however no agency is involved and brands must manage their own contracts. The question then becomes: how do you ensure that the aforementioned standards will be respected? Moreover, Is it necessary to create a new contract for every Influencer?

Interestingly enough, it’s fairly normal for companies not to require formal contracts in Influencer Marketing. In fact, the presence of written contracts relies heavily on the type of campaign in question.

For outreach campaigns (so without paid compensation) or with sampling (physical compensation), contracts are almost nonexistent. In rare cases, for brand protection reasons (such as confidential information that shouldn’t be available before a certain date) an NDA will manage the affair.  

If a campaign is paid, usually a simple collaboration quote will be agreed upon by the brand or agency. These quotes briefly outline the date and details of publication (dedicated hash tags, sharing instructions, etc) as well as the price per post. Practically public, quotes like these are used to solicit influencer participation.

Though if the campaign features an event, it is strongly advised to create a specific contract. Due to the fact that it is difficult to replace an influencer at the last minute, this serves as a guarantee that the campaign won’t be jeopardized by no-shows.

What does an Influencer contract look like?

While no predefined model exists, the components of an Influencer contract 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.
  • The virality: “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 can not be deleted before six months”
  • The presence: 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” )

To conclude, it is advised to use contracts when the partnership circumstances require it, for the 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 degrade campaign performance. Letting go (a little) allows Influencers to engage their audiences, they know them best after all.

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