Influencer Marketing Contracts: What to Include and Best Practices

Influencer contracts are the perfect start to a successful working relationship between your brand and an influencer. Here’s what you should include.

Meaghan Federspill
min read
Influencer Marketing Contracts: What to Include and Best Practices
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Working with influencers on your brand’s marketing campaigns can be extremely beneficial for business, but when you’re first getting started with an influencer, it’s of the utmost importance to set up a good influencer marketing contract. This contract will protect your business, as well as the influencer — it’s a win-win. In this article, we’ll take you step by step through how to create your own influencer marketing contract. You’ll learn about key components, as well as tips and best practices when starting off with a new influencer.

Why You Need a Contract for Your Influencer Campaigns

Clear expectations — or the lack thereof — can make or break an influencer relationship. Providing a contract upfront that lays out everything you expect from influencers and helps both parties avoid potential misunderstandings, confusion, or legal problems in the future. That’s not all. This type of transparency can also help strengthen your brand reputation. If your brand becomes known as one that is clear-cut and sincere in partnership dealings, you’ll attract more potential influencers and build a foundation for long-term brand ambassadors. The ROI of your influencer marketing campaign may also increase through the use of a detailed, well-thought-out contract. If you’re abundantly clear on deliverables for your campaign down to the smallest of details, the campaign's outcomes will be easier to predict, analyze, and improve. So, the bottom line: When questions or concerns arise, a good influencer contract provides answers. No matter what your vision for your influencer marketing campaign is, put it in writing so that everyone is protected and ready to launch into a  healthy working relationship.

Key Components of Influencer Contracts

Now, let’s get into the specifics of what an influencer contract should include. You can find an influencer agreement template or start building your own with the guidelines below. Either way, make sure to customize the contract for your brand’s specific needs, goals, and legal considerations. Let’s dive in.

Influencer Contact Information

Perhaps the most basic component of an influencer contract is a place for the influencer to provide their contact information. This should include the following:

  • Full legal name and/or their influencer name, if it’s different
  • Phone number (identify if it’s a direct line or through an assistant/agent)
  • Email address (identify if it’s a direct line or monitored by an assistant/agent)
  • Mailing address and/or shipping address
  • Links to their public social media accounts

Be sure to include a section in the contact information section that clarifies how you and the influencer prefer to be contacted. Do they prefer you email them first and only call if you need something urgently? Do they have another point of contact, like an assistant or agent, that will handle most conversations? Additionally, set expectations around communication timelines that work for you and the influencer. It may be, “All responses expected within two business days,” or something similar.

Channels and Social Media Platforms the Influencer Will Create Content for

The next section of your contract should address online channels and social media platforms. This is because some influencers may have just one platform that supports the majority of their followers, while others may have two or three platforms with substantial audiences. So, identify which platforms you expect them to post on during your engagement. For instance:

  • Social media: Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Streaming sites: Twitch, YouTube Gaming, etc.
  • Website or blog

Campaign Start and End Dates

The contract duration, or time period for each project, should be listed in your contract next. If you anticipate the start and end dates fluctuating depending on certain goals, metrics, or other factors, include that in this section. A few common terms you could use in the duration section include:

  • Date of contract effect: The specific date the obligations in the contract begin
  • Ongoing term: This means the agreement will run for an undetermined length of time
  • Fixed-term: This means the agreement will only be in effect for a set length of time

Payment Information

Once you’ve determined how much you’d like to pay the influencer, you’ll need to outline your payment terms in the contract. The influencer may want to negotiate payment rate, frequency, or structure, so remember to update these terms as needed. Some payment options include:

  • Flat fee: You and the influencer decide on a set amount of money, typically paid in one installment. For cash, check, online payments, note the currency and payment platform you’ll use.
  • Commission: If you’ve decided to pay the influencer based on the amount of income the campaign generates for the brand, for example, you can lay out the commission structure in this section.
  • Non-monetary compensation: Many influencers will accept free products and services or travel reimbursement as payment. If this is the case, explain how the “payment” will be distributed to the influencer and under what conditions.
  • Other types of payment: If your brand is using a payment structure not listed above, you can list the type of payment as “other” on the contract, then provide a detailed explanation.

One other thing to include in this section is when the influencer will be compensated. Is payment net-30 or net-60, or paid out when certain goals are met?  

Detailed Scope of Work

This section should describe what exactly you’re expecting the influencer to do while they’re partnering with your brand. This could include information such as:

  • Specific deliverables: This includes things like the number of posts per channel, the type of content to include, which tags or hashtags to use, how long the posts should be, etc.
  • Interaction expectations throughout the campaign: Is there an expectation for the influencer to respond to direct messages, comments, and other notifications?
  • Timelines of the campaigns: This covers how long campaigns should run, how often they should post, etc. You can also be as granular as specifying days or times to post. This is also useful if you’re working with an influencer on multiple campaigns over a longer period of time.

For tips on how to best work with influencers in any industry, check out our round-up of the top 10 influencer marketing best practices.

Required Brand Guidelines and Expectations

After outlining the scope of work in the contract, include information on brand guidelines and expectations. Some aspects to think about including are:

  • Tone and voice: Discuss the tone and voice you’d like the influencer to use when writing posts for the campaign. You may want them to adjust their usual approach, keep it the same, use certain terms, your logo, and so on. Provide some examples from past campaigns, if possible.
  • Style of photos: Provide guidelines for photos. Do you have a preference for indoor or outdoor photos? Does the campaign require professional-grade photos, or do you want them more casual? Are selfies allowed? Which types of backgrounds should they avoid? You may want to provide them with approved images and logos too.

Other Terms and Conditions

Some other terms and conditions you may think about including in your influencer contract include approval requirements, confidentiality terms, copyright and ownership conditions, FTC guidelines, and reasons for termination. We’ll go into more detail below.

Approval Requirements

Determine what kind of approval process you’d like to engage in with the influencer. Will there be any approved content and briefing materials for the influencer to use, or is it up to them to write all copy? Will you require sign-off on all photos before posting? And if so, how far in advance do you want to see draft posts before they are scheduled to be posted? Lastly, you’ll want to outline what’s expected of the influencer if something isn’t approved, like if revisions are required.

Confidentiality Terms

Confidentiality and exclusivity is important to address in your contract, as it’s likely the influencer will have some level of access to private and sensitive information about the brand. You’ll want to include specific language to ensure the influencer will only share approved brand info. The second part of this section should also address any consequences of sharing private or confidential information. This could include legal action the company will take. You can also request a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

Copyright and Ownership Conditions

It’s vital that you specify who owns the content that’s produced for the campaign, from text posts to images and videos. Keep in mind, there are intellectual property rights that may apply in certain cases. Some influencer content can qualify as protectable intellectual property, so we recommend consulting with an experienced lawyer. This section can also include requirements and expectations surrounding exclusivity of the influencer. In many cases, influencers maintain several brand deals at once to earn enough revenue, so keep this in mind if you want to propose an exclusive arrangement.

FTC Guidelines

With the rise of influencer marketing, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has laid down some rules and regulations for the industry. As of December 2020, the FTC’s rules state that influencers must reveal their relationships with brands within their posts, according to Forbes. In other words, social media users and followers need to be able to decipher whether they’re seeing an ad or an organic post. So, influencers need to add hashtags like #sponsored or #ad, include a prominent note, or use platform features that indicate it’s sponsored content. As the brand, it can be beneficial to disclose the latest regulations in the contract to avoid any issues down the road. Read a full explanation of the current FTC rules here. Also, if your state has governing laws that are applicable, include that. A legal team or lawyer can advise on any other legal details you may want to include.

Reasons for Termination

In an effort to ensure the brand and the influencer are protected, you’ll need to include a section covering reasons for termination, otherwise known as a cancellation clause. The reasons for termination on your brand’s part will be specific to your company but could include actions such as:

  • Non-performance (Not performing agreed-upon duties)
  • Poor performance (Give specific guidelines or metrics that qualify as poor performance)
  • Breaking brand rules
  • Sharing confidential information
  • Posting without approval

This part of the contract needs to be extremely specific, so it’s clear what the requirements are for termination by either party.

Tips and Best Practices for Influencer Marketing Agreements

Now that we’ve covered what exactly needs to be included in an influencer marketing contract, let’s cover some tips you can use when creating these agreements.

Consult With a Legal Expert and Validate the Contract Is Legally Binding

As mentioned previously, consulting a lawyer or legal expert at multiple points in the contract creation process is useful — especially if you’re doing this for the first time. Even better, think about consulting with a lawyer once you believe the contract is complete so they can point out any areas that need work. This will also ensure the contract is a legally-binding document. Investing in this step from the beginning can save you money and prevent issues down the road.

Provide Clear Definitions and Specific Guidelines

Ensuring that your influencers and creators understand each term and guideline in the contract is important. Define any terms that may be vague or confusing and use easy-to-digest language. This is especially important if you’re partnering with an influencer whose native language isn’t the language that contract is written in.

Bring Both Parties Together to Review the Contract Terms

Give everyone ample opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns. We strongly suggest meeting with everyone involved in the contract to walk through it and well before it’s time to sign or nearing the campaign launch date. Build in time for negotiation, contract editing, finalizing, and signing everything.

Make Disclosures Highly Visible

Make sure any important disclosures included in your contract are in places that are highly visible. Consider putting them in a different color, a larger font size, or bolded text to ensure it stands out on the page.

Contract Ready? Find Your Next Influencer Partners With From Popular Pays!

If you have your contract all set and you’re ready to find your next influencer partner, check out From Popular Pays, the all-in-one platform that helps brands discover, connect, and vet influencers. You’ll be able to manage influencer relationships, organize communication threads, keep track of all campaigns, access and manage a content library, and report and analyze each campaign with ease. Try it out today.

Meaghan Federspill
Meaghan is a professional social-scroller, trend reporter, creative ideator and friendly Senior Creative Strategist at Lightricks.

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