Being a social media influencer is just travel, free clothes and cocktails, yeah?
That might be the dream, but here’s some #nofilter advice every aspiring influencer should consider on their way to insta-fame and fortune.
And yes, you’re going to need a lawyer. Sounds boring but keep reading (there’s some great tips here for businesses wanting to work with influencers, too).
There’s three main ways you turn your socials into a career:
- Paid brand endorsement
- Affiliate marketing; and
- Promoting and selling your own products.
Often, it’s a blend of all three. Here’s what each of these looks like in practice.
1: Paid brand endorsement.
- How it looks on insta: You’re sitting by the pool, looking great, clutching a refreshing drink. It’s this great new juice cleanse that has made dieting so much easier. Your skin looks great, you’ve got more energy and you encourage your followers to try it out. You tag the company so everyone knows who you’re talking about because you’d love your followers to try it too.
- Behind the scenes: A juice cleanse company approaches you to endorse their product in exchange for payment. These deals are usually based on a minimum number of Instagram stories and posts about their product.
2: Affiliate marketing.
- How it looks on insta: You’re sitting by the pool, looking great, clutching a refreshing drink. Same juice cleanse but because you care about your fans you’ve negotiated a deal with the company to get 10% off any purchase by using an exclusive coupon code at check-out. This way, you’re not only sharing great health tips with your followers, but because you care you’ve managed to get them a discount, too.
- Behind the scenes: A juice cleanse company approaches you to endorse their product. As an added incentive, you get a small commission for each product they sell through your social media. The coupon code is also a tracking tool that shows just how effective your campaign was. Obviously if the company sees huge sales with your name attached, it’s likely they’ll keep working with you.
3: Promoting and selling your own products.
- How it looks on insta: You’re sitting by the pool, looking great, clutching a refreshing drink. It’s the juice cleanse secret you’re now ready to share with the world. Countless hours of research have gone into this wonderful product, which your fans can purchase at your online store.
- Behind the scenes: It’s the Kylie Jenner model. Either develop something new or slap your name on an existing product and name your price. Much riskier, but potentially more lucrative.
Sound easy, doesn’t it? It’s not. And here’s why you need a lawyer.
Firstly, you need to understand that you are a business and your most valuable asset is your brand.
You need to protect that brand from misuse and exploitation. That is, people who want to use your brand without your permission, and those who want to use your brand without paying a fair rate.
This is where a good lawyer comes in. They can look at the deals you are offered (because there’s always fine print) and tell you what the pitfalls are.
A good lawyer can also help you structure your business in a professional way and assess the risks of any particular endorsements you might be offered. This will protect you in the event something goes wrong.
This is especially important if you’re planning on selling your own products and giving out health and lifestyle advice, as bad advice can lead to problems down the road, especially if you endorse a product that doesn’t do what it claims – or worse – made someone sick.
We’ve helped a few influencers at this firm. One recent case we saw included a contract that was 20 pages long and included a sneaky clause that would have signed over all rights to a particular influencer’s name and image – literally everything of value in their personal brand!
Needless to say, based on our advice, the influencer walked away from the deal and maintained control of their business.
Other times, we’ve helped influencers extract the value in a deal that didn’t seem great on the surface (which included options for affiliate deals).
Similarly, if you’re a business looking to work with an influencer, we can help you get the contracts in place that will help grow long-term, fruitful relationships in this exciting space.