Before you can agree on your collaboration terms, you need to find the right influencer. This means doing your homework to ensure the chosen influencer is consistent with your brand's look, feel and tone. You can start by learning what other companies are doing. Research your competitors and look at other brands that aren't necessarily competition, but share a similar demographic. Lastly, analyze the performance of your current posts and establish which ones are doing best and explore why.
Once you've done your homework, get to learning! Ensure you and your marketing team know about the latest tools available on various social media platforms. Look at how several companies use them and implement this into your social media marketing plan.
Now that you know what works best for your industry and brand, you can create the brief for your influencer marketing campaign. It's important to consider giving your influencer a high level of creative freedom. Instead of setting strict guidelines, give them a mood board that demonstrates the general vibe you want to follow.
Remember to make sure you choose an influencer who is relevant to your brand. Choosing the wrong one could be extremely expensive, so it's important you get it right the first time. If you've chosen your influencer and have established your campaign strategy, it's time to get to grips with your collaboration structure.
Why is an influencer collaboration agreement important?
It's likely you and your chosen influencer have a lot invested in your newfound relationship. Aside from money being on the line, you both have a reputation to withhold, loyal followers you want to keep happy, and sales to maintain.
An influencer collaboration agreement is important for the same reason a contract between an employee and company is: to protect the interests of all parties involved. Your collaboration will also clarify:
- Who has creative ownership of the content being created
- Who has usage rights over this content
- What is expected from all parties in the agreement
- The expectations for the campaign
Now that we've established why a collaboration agreement is essential, let's get going with how you can create one for any future influencer marketing campaigns.
How to create a collaboration agreement.
The expectations you have for your influencer marketing campaign should align with your brand's marketing processes. It's important to remember that you're investing a lot of time and money into your campaign, so expecting incredible results from a few simple Facebook posts won't cut it.
Aside from thinking of other tasks for which you could leverage your influencer, create a two-way relationship whereby your influencer becomes part of your team, rather than just another marketing tool. For example, your influencer could help you by:
- Creating content for a new product or service launch
- Sharing posts and images that are relevant to your chosen campaigns
- Attending both digital and in-person events you plan on hosting or sponsoring
- Answering product questions
- Gathering feedback on your various promotional messages to establish which ones are most powerful
- Providing ideas for product or service improvements
- Voting for new product designs
- Sending out social media surveys
1. Tell them about the content you expect them to produce.
Yes, giving your influencer creative freedom is recommended, yet you still need to offer a level of guidance so that they can get a feel for your brand image. They also need to know what does and does not work for you to avoid any mistakes.
Think about the type of content you want them to produce. Do you need a combination of blog posts and imagery? Or do you feel short, yet engaging posts with high-quality media would have more of an impact on your audience? Combining your marketing knowledge with their influencer expertise is the best way to make the most out of your campaign.
Once you've agreed on the type of content you want published, decide on the frequency. Look at your social media and website's data and establish the best time to post content. From there, ask your influencer to provide you with an adequate number of posts for your own channels and combine that with a specific number of posts on their accounts.
2. Specify the amount of media to be used in each post.
Content with relevant, high-quality media is much more efficient than plain writing. If you want your posts to make an impact, you need to include some form of imagery, videography, or even infographics and gifs.
When thinking about image specifications for your agreement, ask your influencer if he or she has a portfolio of media that could work for your campaign. Remember to also share some of your own media and avoid stock photography at all costs. Instead, aim to include:
- Product pictures
- Lifestyle shots
- Informational video clips
- Video tutorials
3. Discuss channels on which the content will be published.
Where your influencer's content is published will depend on your brand and the types of product or services you offer. It will also need to vary according to your audience. You've most likely already researched your influencer's following across various social channels, but be specific about where you want your campaign's content published.
Come to an agreement with your influencer as to where the content will be promoted. Consider asking whether the same post will be shared across various platforms for quick reach or whether a new post will be designed for each specific social channel in order to ensure maximum engagement.
4. Establish your content usage rights.
You'll most likely reach an agreement in which your influencer will always retain ownership as the creator of the content he or she is publishing. That said, you do have certain rights to it and it's essential that you clarify these in your agreement.
Think about for how long you will need to have access to the content. Take into consideration the fact that you may want to reuse the content created at a later date; for example, during a seasonal sale or at a promotional event for that product or line of products. You could need it one, two, or even three years down the line. Don't limit yourself by forgetting to outline these usage rights.
The content usage rights section of your collaboration agreement should also highlight:
- Any licences
- Clearances for third party uses
5. Abide by the regulations of sponsored content.
Regulations on sponsored content are changing on a weekly basis nowadays. Most people aren't knowledgeable about which country allows what. When putting together your agreement, be sure that your influencer is aware of the regulations in your area. Check the legislations and outline them clearly.
The best way to avoid any complications is to stay cautious by implementing a rule in which your brand and influencer always use hashtags such as "#ad" or "#spon". These hashtags display a level of transparency among your customers without affecting the performance of your posts.
6. Provide tracking links for your influencer.
You wouldn't start a regular campaign without knowing how to track it. The same goes for your influencer marketing campaign. In order to track the performance of your influencer's posts, you need to provide them with tracking links, as well as coupon and promotional codes.
When creating your collaboration agreement, you must clearly state how and where you would like these codes to be implemented. Typically, you'll want codes to be incorporated into every piece of content so that you can make amendments to what is underperforming and shift your focus to areas that are performing well.
7. Specify whether your campaign is dedicated or non-dedicated.
Dedicated sponsorship is when no other brand name is mentioned in a sponsored post but your own. On the other hand, non-dedicated sponsorship allows for other brands to appear in a post, video, and any other form of content. The type of sponsorship you agree upon will predominantly depend on the amount you are paying your influencer.
Be clear about the type of sponsorship agreement to which you are signin. Many influencers today work simultaneously with multiple brands. Although relevant when creating content such as fashion mood boards, you may not want to appear alongside your competitors in the same post, especially if you offer similar products to the ones mentioned.
8. Set preview expectations.
Do you want to see your influencer's posts before they are published in order to ensure they follow the right style and tone? If so, make this clear. There's nothing worse than having to delete a post once it has been published. Even if one customer sees and shares it, it could ruin your image, or worse, your reputation.
Make sure you clearly outline your preview expectations. Your influencer should be aware of:
- The timeline in which to complete work
- Deadlines you have set
- Your review and approval schedule for each post
9. Discuss your timescale.
That brings us to your timescale. Your marketing team and influencer need to be working on the same timeline. It could be that you are running a promotion or have released a new line of products and need your campaign to coincide with this. Whatever the reason for your influencer marketing campaign, your team needs to be backing it up every step of the way and vice versa.
Be honest about your time requirements. Don't assume it will be fine and that your influencer can adhere to your schedule. Bear in mind that you are most likely not their only client. By being upfront and including it in your agreement, you'll be able to gauge whether or not your influencer can meet your deadlines, thus avoiding any unpleasant surprises.
10. Expect to make some form of payment.
Influencers aren't free. You may be able to exchange products for part of the services, but you will most likely have to pay a fee as well. Remember, you're paying for multiple services at once, so don't be surprised by the price.
The fee you agree upon in your agreement should include:
- Content creation
- Usage rights
- Access to your influencer's audience
As with any contract, your collaboration agreement works as security for all parties involved. It's also a great way for expectations to be clear and, in turn, met. It allows you to avoid any nasty surprises along the way, and above all, it's an excellent way for you to get to know your influencer on a more personal level. By creating a collaboration agreement, you'll be leading the way to a long and prosperous relationship with your influencer.