Influencer marketing is gaining momentum. A growing number of B2B and eCommerce brands are leveraging an influencer marketing platform to reach and engage with their target audience. Ambassador defines influencer marketing as “a modern take on traditional affiliate marketing. Instead of a network of smaller affiliates driving traffic, influencer marketing targets specific people – influencers – who have large, captive audiences.”
Your path to influencer marketing might start with informal arrangements. For instance, you might invite industry influencers to present on one of your live webcasts. You send the influencers an email with the terms of the arrangement and they acknowledge the terms by replying.
You might wonder when is the right time to have a contract in place.
Some influencer marketing experts believe that a contract is necessary whenever you engage with an influencer. According to Lindsay Fultz, VP Global Growth, Nyrvana Technologies, “Any time you partner with an influencer, you should have a contract in place, so that both parties are aligned with clear objectives, expectations, deliverables, brand guidelines, do’s, don’t’s and timelines.”
Other experts say that contracts are required once compensation is involved. According to Amisha Gandhi, VP Influencer Marketing & Communications, SAP Ariba, “Contracts are useful when influencers are being compensated for work. If you’re paying the influencer for speaker fees, content creation, hosting events or promotional materials, then a contract helps document all of the relevant terms.”
In this post, we’ll cover the five must-haves to include in an influencer marketing contract.
An influencer marketing contract should specify the duration of the contract, as well as due dates for specific deliverables. The duration can be outlined by specifying the start and end dates of the contract.
According to Mike Allton, Brand Evangelist for Agorapulse, “A brand might contract an influencer for a blog post to be written and published within 30 days and specify that the contractual arrangement will last a total of 90 days.”
The contract would specify related activities (and dates) that the influencer would engage in during the 90 days.
Provide detailed specifications on the deliverables to be provided by the influencer. For example, if the influencer is presenting a live webcast on behalf of your brand, specify:
The more details you can provide, the better. If there’s a misunderstanding or dispute later on, you can often resolve things by pointing to specific terms outlined in the contract.
Document the scenarios in which influencers can publish or post directly and when they need your review and approval beforehand. In general, influencer marketing programs work best when you give free rein to influencers. If you find reputable and trustworthy influencers, you won’t need to review and approve their every word.
In some situations, such as in regulated industries, an approval workflow is warranted. Determine what works for your brand and specify accordingly in your contracts.
Place explicit references in the contract that influencers must adhere to U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disclosure guidelines. According to the FTC, “If you endorse a product through social media, your endorsement message should make it obvious when you have a relationship (‘material connection’) with the brand.”
The FTC’s guidelines include details on how influencers should communicate their relationships with brands, including the use of hash tags on social media posts and superimposing the disclosure details in videos. In November 2019, the FTC released a new publication that details how influencers should disclose their business relationships with sponsors.
The document (PDF download) is titled “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers.”
Are you concerned that influencers may work with your competitors while they’re engaged in your influencer marketing campaigns, or that they may reference their products and services? Put an exclusivity clause in your contract. The clause should specify whether influencers can reference and/or work with your competitors. Be sure to explicitly list the set of companies you deem as competitors.
According to Agorapulse’s Allton, “If you’re working with an influencer for the first time, and there’s concern that they may talk about other brands, put that request in writing. But be prepared to pay for it.”
What are common mistakes that brands make with influencer marketing contracts?
According to Nyrvana Technologies’ Fultz, campaigns can go astray if brands expect influencers to be mind readers. To address this, both the contract and the creative brief should provide explicit details and expectations.
According to Fultz, “Detailed contracts and creative briefs streamline the process. The worst thing for an influencer is to have to do a reshoot because sufficient information was not included in the contract and brief to begin with.”
Another mistake is not taking into account the experience level of influencers. Mega-influencers have worked with brands for years and are comfortable with contracts and deliverables. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, may have less experience with influencer marketing campaigns. Some micro-influencers may be signing a contract for the first time.
To address this, says Agorapulse’s Allton, “Understand an influencer’s experience and comfort level, then proceed accordingly. This can ensure that the relationship moves forward smoothly and successfully.”
More so, SAP Ariba’s Gandhi urges brands to address the needs of both sides in the contract.
According to Gandhi, “A common mistake is not mapping out proper expectations on both sides as you’re building out contract terms. We hear about this mistake from both influencers and brands. If brands expect influencers to ‘sell’ their product, it will be not be authentic.”
Influencer engagement is just like any other relationship: it’s successful when both sides are happy and satisfied.