3 Things To Consider Before Hiring A Social Media Influencer

The rise of social media over the last decade has not only enabled users to connect with friends, family, and coworkers all over the world, but it has also catapulted many into stardom—intentionally or unintentionally.

True, nowadays, marketing your product or service wouldn’t be complete unless you tapped into what are now known as social media influencers—people with a large number of followers who can persuade others to do or buy things.

These days, corporate executives have a lot to gain from the social media buzz that influencers can generate for their products. A social media personality can deliver an untapped audience of young, affluent consumers who scroll social media daily and want to emulate the people they follow. Influencer marketing can be just as, if not more effective than traditional advertising and is becoming part of many companies’ advertising budgets. But an internet star with a wild streak, the type of quality that attracts followers, can easily make a mistake and expose a company to a Federal Trade Commission sanction or a lawsuit.

The agency side of MarkMeets has helped hundreds of brands over the years from launching new brands, reviewing products and online marketing.

So what should happen when the buttoned-down CEO responsible for a billion-dollar brand meets the social media influencer with a gift for engaging audiences? Here are three things every brand needs to consider before hiring an influencer.

  1. Always have a contract.

As a lawyer who has negotiated hundreds of brand deals and has seen things go wrong when the paperwork isn’t done right, I must lead with this. Companies should protect themselves in a written agreement whenever they bring an influencer on board. The influencer also benefits from having clear guidelines.

The two sides should agree on where the influencer will promote a product — on their Instagram, Twitter or TikTok accounts or on all those platforms simultaneously. How long will the posts be up? Often a campaign leads up to the launch of a new product, perhaps 30 days. The longer the term, the more you can expect to pay. If you’re paying for Instagram stories, how many slides will you require, and does the influencer have to leave the story on their “highlights” (and if so, for how long)? Can the brand do anything with that content, like put it on their website? Is there a period of exclusivity during which the influencer can’t post about other brands? Who is responsible for posts complying with the law?

There are many more points to consider. Do not take this lightly, and hire an attorney with experience in influencer agreements.

  1. Know your analytics.

Before hiring a social media influencer, carefully consider their analytics. Follower count is no longer the only number to pay attention to. Companies should learn about the demographics of an influencer’s audience and their average number of impressions. Certain data points such as influence engagement rate, a measurement of how much engagement a post generates in relation to the influencer’s overall audience, can offer a good forecast of who the company will actually reach when an influencer posts content featuring their product. Social media companies and third-party providers offer a range of analytic tools and an experienced influencer will know how to generate and provide these reports. The influencer should also provide a report at the close of the campaign, so you can determine if it was effective.

Of course, influencers with the best metrics command the highest pay. Soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo tops Instagram’s “rich list,” earning up to $1.6 million per sponsored social media post. Influencers whose following was built primarily on their social media talent typically earn less, but can still take up a significant chunk of a marketing budget. Top-earning TikTok star Addison Rae, with over 86 million followers, has cited $90,000 as the most an influencer might earn from a sponsored TikTok, but other sources show her getting up to $155,800 per sponsored Instagram post (where she has 40 million followers).

“Micro-influencers” with highly engaged followers in the range of 1,000 to 100,000 are often considered the sweet spot for growing brands. Many brands have successfully gotten micro-influencers to post about their brand in exchange for free product(s).

  1. Know the law.

The FTC has advised social media influencers to include words like “sponsored” or “ad” in their paid posts. Companies that hire social media influencers should state in the contract that the onus is on the influencer to make the necessary disclosures, with a promise to indemnify the company if the influencer omits a required FTC disclosure that results in a fine against the company. However, it is good practice to know these laws yourself and include an instruction sheet with your contract.

Likewise, companies should be aware of the risk of copyright infringement from anything an influencer might post. A case brought early in the rise of influencer marketing set some ground rules for the use of music in sponsored posts. YouTube star Michelle Phan was sued by Ultra Records in 2014 over the music she used in make-up videos for cosmetics companies. Phan and her attorneys contended that she had a deal with Ultra Records that allowed her to feature certain songs. The influencer and the music label ultimately settled the case in 2015, with terms not disclosed.

These days, a TikTok influencer can stay in the clear by using a song from the social media platform’s music library. But an influencer who features a song in an advertisement without obtaining the rights to use that music, for example in a YouTube video, is committing copyright infringement. A company hiring a social media personality needs to clarify in their contract that the influencer is responsible for staying on the right side of copyright law, and for obtaining permission from the rights holders if necessary. The same goes for obtaining releases from anyone who might appear with them in a sponsored photo or video post.

Final Thoughts

Influencer marketing is here to stay. Companies looking to strike deals with influencers should be clear on what demographics they want to reach and which influencers can grab the attention of those demographics. Equally important is avoiding legal pitfalls by having thoughtful influencer-specific contracts drawn up. With these tools in hand, engaging an influencer can be one of the most effective forms of marketing for your company.

Author Profile

Mohammad Mo
Senior TV Reporter

The former Big Brother contestant has been working with MarkMeets for 5+ years.

Often spotted on the red carpet interviewing for MarkMeetsTV.

Email https://markmeets.com/contact-form/
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