Just like everybody thinks they can be an influencer and don’t realise the hard work and skill it takes, many also believe setting up an influencer talent agency is a quick and easy way to make mounds of cash.
Running a helpful, successful, professional and purposeful influencer agency means long hours, hard graft and the genuine desire to make a positive difference to your creator’s lives. The best ones are brilliant – but we’ve all heard horror stories about agencies which open, take the money and disappear overnight.
Spending on influencers is rocketing by around 15 per cent each year – and a quick Google search shows the number of new talent agencies is keeping pace too. So if you’re an influencer, how do you find the right manager for you among the many thousands now on offer?
Here is a ten-point plan to follow and you’ll land the talent team you’re looking for.
1. Show me the money
First and foremost, what’s in it for you – and for them? If the agency is transparent about fees, has time to talk with you (not at you) and can show a track record of growth for the creators it represents, then that’s your first step sorted.
2. Sales Specialists
Sales are what pay your wages, so ensure your new agency has a dedicated sales team with first-rate brand and agency contacts. You’ll need experts who work to get you fair rates on the best contractual terms for all parties.
3. What else is on offer?
Agencies which only broker sales deals are known as ‘Mr 20 Per Cents’, as that’s what they tend to skim from your fee. These days that’s simply not enough. Search for an agency which offers much more than only brokering deals. A decent team will provide career support, strategic guidance, audience development and content strategy, PR advice, merch help if you want it, plus professional audience and analytics reporting.
4. Find your fit
There’s no point signing with an agency specialising in teen TikTok pranks if you’re in the Ethical space or a family influencer. Find a talent team in your ‘vertical’ – in marketing speak this means the area you work in such as fashion or sport. Some big agencies work across a number of verticals, but ensure they have a specialist in your area too.
5. Do your due diligence
Check out how long the manager has been in business for, who their other influencers are and who their clients are. Look up the agency’s owners and directors. Are they legit? Have they ever had a company fold or go bankrupt? This may seem dull but you are entrusting them with your brand and business.
6. What’s their rep?
Are they managers who put their talent at the heart of their business? Do they truly understand the current trends and challenges within such a fast-moving industry to keep you on top? Are they well-respected by their peers, brands, advertisers and industry bodies? How much repeat business do they get from clients? Ask to talk to talent they already represent and get their take on them.
7. Out of hours support
Being an Influencer is a 24/7 job. Before you sign, assess if the agency will support you at weekends, holidays and through the night if needed. Do they have specialists to support you against trolls, libellous comments or negative PR? It’s not nice to think about but it is needed.
8. What if the worst happens?
So you’d done the work, run the campaign and the client doesn’t pay. Does the agency pay you? Or do they shrug it off and leave you out of pocket? To protect yourself, be careful to select a talent team that always pays you once you’ve fulfilled your contract correctly.
9. Are they more than a business?
The best talent teams aim to build a community of like-minded individuals to make a positive difference. Pick the right talent manager and you’ll find new friends as well as new business partners.
10. And finally…
No spilling the tea please – but make sure your chosen team make great tea and serve top-notch biscuits too! You’ll be spending a lot time with them and the little things like this can make a big difference!