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Influencer Marketing Etiquette: How to Structure a Marketing Deal With an Influencer

While many influencers are open and willing to accept brand and marketing deals, the way you structure the agreement can make or break your influencer campaign. We’re breaking down ways to contact, structure, and maintain a deal with both macro and micro influencers.

Step 1: Identify & Contact

The very first step of your company’s influencer campaign is to identify which influencer(s) you want to use. Having a full understanding of the influencer’s credibility, engagement rates, audience interests, and reach is the only way to identify an influencer who is worth your time and will get you the results you’re looking for.

Once you’ve identified the influencer(s) you want to partner with, the next step is to contact them. Many influencer deals are structured through warm introductions. Which means knowing a friend of a friend who has an acquaintanceship with the influencer. If your friends list isn’t chalked full of influencer’s personal accounts, it might be worth it to reach out to an agency who offers to bridge the gaps between companies and influencers. Forms of cold-calling occasionally work as well. You can dm an influencer on their social media channels, or they may give out an email for business inquiries.

Step 2: Making the Ask & Closing the Deal

You’ve identified your influencer and have successfully found means of contacting them. It’s time to make the ask. Whether you’re dealing with macro or micro influencers, you always want to explain what you can do for them first. If someone believes they’re getting something out of your request, they’ll be more likely to read, respond, and take action. For example, tell an influencer you’ll pay them X amount, provide professional editing, and even offer travel incentives if you need them to be in a certain area. (Although most often, influencers create content in the comfort of their homes). Clearly state what you’ll give them, and then ask for what you need in return. A sponsored post. The ask should be clearly stated and easy for the influencer to take action on. If they agree, send over a legal agreement immediately that can be electronically signed. Latham & Watkins (entertainment & media legal practice) published a step by step guide in crafting your influencer agreement. https://www.lw.com/thoughtLeadership/Brands-Influencers-Navigating-Agreements-Macro-Micro

Step 3: Maintaining the Deal

Your dream influencer agreed to your deal! They offered sponsored posts and you’re excited to see the impact it has on your brand. Unfortunately, the hard part isn’t over. Once you’ve structured a deal, it’s essential to maintain that deal to optimize your time and money. Oftentimes influencers will forget to create content, miss posting deadlines, or other problems might arise. Be in constant contact with your influencer (but remember to not go overboard). Try to set deadlines of when content needs to be created, a deadline for editing, and a specific time for it to be scheduled. If content is created and scheduled ahead of time, it cuts down on the majority of problems that might pop up before your contract expires. Be sure to clearly outline the expectations from both parties in your signed agreement with the influencer. It’s also best to structure payments based on deliverables. Never pay your influencer the full amount up front.

Step 4: Ending on Good Terms

Ideally, your influencer campaign ran smoothly and ends on a good note all on its own. There may have been a few bumps here and there, but always be sure to close out the contract in good spirits. Burning bridges with influencers may blacklist you from further deals. The influencer world is a small one, and word gets around quickly. The better impression you’re able to leave, the better chance you have of securing future deals with this influencer and others. It’s also a good idea for your company to have case studies of your partnership with influencers, especially macro. If your influencer campaign didn’t quite go as planned, find a way to end it as quickly and amicably as possible. Always remain respectful of their time and creativity, as the deal may work out in the future. Taking the deal personally or looking to ‘get even’ with underperforming influencers will only add stress and scare you off from future influencer marketing.

They say practice makes perfect. Your first influencer deal may seem daunting, but the more campaigns you run, the better you’ll get. Successful campaigns with influencers will open more doors and the maintenance process will become streamlined. Never forget to protect yourself and your budget by verifying the influencer’s credibility and clearly outline each party’s expectations in the agreement. An influencer's audiences credibility can be found in an influencer's Tensor Report, you can get your first free report here.

Beth Lambdin, Team Tensor