Influencer marketing is one of the best marketing options you could choose for promoting your brand or service. After you’ve found an influencer, the next step is finding the best ways to work together.
What does an influencer want? What do brands want?
A good partnership means both parties get what they want. Influencers want to know they are collaborating with a respectable company that will treat them professionally, give them the opportunity to create creative content, and pay them the agreed amount on time.
Brands want their content and their product to be shown in an effective way, after which they will get their expected results from the partnership.
To make sure you get what you want, I suggest you start signing an influencer contract which will take your collaborations into a more formal stage. And believe me, you will both enjoy a more profitable partnership.
Why do marketers need an influencer contract?
Marketers and influencers often discuss all the terms and conditions via messages or calls. This may be convenient, especially as it is the fastest way of trying to get a deal, and it creates a friendly atmosphere between both parties.
But during this process, both parties can miss some important points — either because they forget, or on purpose — which can cause many misunderstandings and unpleasant situations between them later on.
When doing an influencer marketing campaign for one of our products I had a deal with an influencer. We paid him and he shared our product with his followers. A few hours later he asked me if I would like him to share our content on his other page.
I thought, “Why not?” And answered YES!. After 24 hours he got back to me and asked me to send him money for the second page. Picture my surprise! Here I was, thinking that he was offering to do something that required no effort, in order to strengthen our partnership… but he had another intention. As he hadn’t mentioned anything about the payment for the second page, it took us a lot of effort to negotiate and make everything right.
Or there was another case where an influencer received the product and posted about it without even opening the package! He didn’t mention the brand’s page and used the wrong link. If we had had an influencer contract from the beginning we wouldn’t have gotten into these kinds of troubles, as an influencer contract is the best way of avoiding these kind of misinterpretations.
What should an influencer contract include?
Your influencer contract needs to include all the necessary information, the conditions of collaboration, the payment method, and — most importantly — you should clearly define all the expectations you have about the content created by an influencer.
Let’s go over a few important points that should be included in influencer contracts.
Brand values and guidelines
Create a guideline for an influencer, where he can learn about your brand values. Mention the words and the expressions that should and shouldn’t be used while reviewing your product or when writing a caption about your product or service.
For example, if you’re marketing a fitness product, but you are against propagating any kind of diet, make sure to tell an influencer about it. Otherwise, instead of spreading brand awareness, they might end up harming your brand reputation. Also, make sure that the influencer won’t mention any of your brand competitors during the whole promotion process.
Content-type and number of posts
It is very important to agree upon the type of content and the number of posts in social media influencer contracts. Make it clear whether you would like to have a photo or a video post. If it is a video post, also mention the length of the video.
Have you agreed on a permanent post that’s going to live on their feed forever or a 24h post? State it clearly.
Clarify the number of posts and stories you are expecting from an influencer.
In some cases, you may agree on totally different styles of promotions. For example, after an influencer receives the product he/she does unboxing story on Instagram, the second post should showcase that the influencer is using your product actively, a less promotional video about his/her daily morning routine will do the trick. The third post may be a giveaway post to add more exposure to your brand.
All these should be clearly stated in your contract.
Payment terms and amount
When negotiating the price, always make clear what that amount includes.
Always mention in your contract whether the posts will be done before or after the payment. You may agree to pay a part of the amount before the promotion and make the remaining part of the payment after the influencer provides some specific results. For example, the post reaches 100K users, you get 500 new subscribers, or the post has 500k views.
If the payment is going to be processed via PayPal, Stripe, or another processor, make sure you both know who will be covering the fees.
Link, tags, and captions
Be sure to include a trackable link that influencers should mention in the post, and the social media account/Instagram handle/username they should tag.
You’ll need UTM links to track the results you get from an influencer or see where the traffic to your website is coming from.
Clarify whether you are going to provide the caption or the influencers should create it themselves. Don’t forget to mention whether there are any specific hashtags you want your influencer to use.
Further usage of content created by an influencer
Never use the content created by an influencer without having permission for it.
Content created by an influencer is a goldmine, as it can bring value and trust to your brand. Influencers are quite popular and putting their video featuring your product in your ads, social media, and elsewhere can be a smart decision. However, it should be communicated beforehand to avoid copyright issues.
After asking permission from an influencer about the further usage of the content, put in your contract how, where, and how long will you be using iit.
Marketing campaigns are very fast-paced. Everything might be resting on the momentum an influencer post will generate.
Influencer contract should clearly state the period for fulfillment of responsibilities. For example, the contract requirements should be fulfilled within a month starting from the date of contract signing.
One thing we’re sure about influencers is that they are really good at creating content that can go viral. Limiting their creativity and controlling every step can not only affect the quality of the content but also reflect badly on your further relationship.
However, in some cases, you’d like to review the content before it goes live. Some products/services are not as simple as they may seem. You may want to emphasize the technology or science behind your product and make sure those important aspects are presented properly.
Politely ask your influencer about sending the content for final approval before posting, explaining the reason, which is obviously not the lack of trust.
Confidentiality and Exclusivity
You’re preparing a new campaign for your brand and want to involve influencers in it, but you want to make sure that no information is leaked or posted before the launch date.
Talk about the confidentiality of the campaign with your influencer to avoid unwanted spoilers.
In some cases, you may want to work with an influencer on exclusive bases. This means that your influencer is not allowed to promote a similar brand (or in some cases any other brand) for a certain period of time.
In one of my recent collaborations with a popular tech page, when doing an influencer marketing for a brand producing facemasks, I told an influencer we’d like him not to promote any other masks during the following 30 days.
He told me that another very popular facemask brand had approached him for a promotion and he was about to accept their offer as well.
After our conversation, he agreed to postpone the promotion until the next month so we can get the absolute maximum from the collaboration.
Force Majeure situations
Not everything can be planned. And sometimes when things go wrong, it’s not really your or the influencer’s fault. That’s why your influencer contracts should also include a Force Majeure clause, that covers those situations and their solutions that don’t depend on you or your influencer.
These could include shipping problems during a pandemic or other uncertain times, broken products, etc.
Hopefully, I could deliver some value and show the importance of the influencer contract.
However, remember that not everything is black and white. If you have found the perfect influencer who you are really seeking to work with, but they avoid working with influencer contracts… just try to make sure that everything is certain and agreed upon by chat or a call.
Even though it’s not as binding as a contract, it can really help to avoid any kind of unpleasant situations and misunderstandings further on in your collaboration. Stay tuned for more.