October 21, 2021
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A Producer’s Guide to Influencer Management

The Wrapbook Team
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Producing commercials and branded content is hard work. There are so many different people working together on one project, things can get messy fast. And working with influencers invites a new kind of problem. As a producer, you’re no longer only focused on what the client wants, now, you’re thinking about if the creative is in line with the influencer’s voice and audience. This is where influencer management comes in. 

Developing and nurturing relationships with influencers and their managers will go a long way per project and on future shoots. 

Let’s dive into best practices for strengthening your relationship with influencers so you can create incredible content that everyone involved loves. 

What is influencer management?

Influencer management is a fluid term in that managing and nurturing these relationships can include many different tasks. Most often, influencer management involves managing relationships with influencers across content creation, collaboration, campaign management, and much more. 

Building long-lasting relationships with influencers are key. 

And this isn’t the sole responsibility of your typical manager or management company.

Commercial producers, too, have skin in the game when it comes to nurturing relationships with influencers -as brands, more and more, begin to turn to influencers to market their products.

Develop real relationships with influencers

From a purely pragmatic standpoint, cultivating a relationship with an influencer can help you as a producer deliver content that drives results. How? 

Well, that begs the question: how influential are influencers? 

One study found four out of five surveyed U.S. consumers made a purchase through clicking a link or image an influencer shared.  

And while you don’t need to be BFFs to develop camaraderie with an influencer, odds are you will need to make the first move in that relationship. 

Whether you’re reaching out to an influencer directly, or if a client (or agency) has ideas for casting certain influencers, knowing how to develop a strong relationship with them will matter. 

And like any relationship, showing genuine interest in the other party will go a long way and help develop trust over time.

How relationships with influencers start on productions

Most commonly, a production company wins a bid and is hired by a client, (maybe or maybe not working with an agency), to produce a video for the brand with an influencer attached. 

Though sometimes, a brand might go straight to an influencer, leaving a production team out of the conversation (or on the periphery) to save money. 

However, even though the landscape might be shifting a bit, producers are still the ones who get the project across the finish line. 

With the rise of influencers, companies have emerged to service the relationship between brand and influencer. These newer companies pay influencers to promote brands, effectively acting as the middleman between the brand and influencer. These brands pay these newer companies for facilitating each influencer campaign. Additionally, they have their own in-house producers who are well-versed in influencer management because that’s now part of their job description. They manage influencer relations during production on behalf of the brand.  

Regardless of how a producer ends up working with an influencer, there are a few best practices for influencer management. 

Best practices for working with and building connections with influencers

Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither are relationships. 

Still, there are a few overarching things you can do to start off on the right foot and strengthen these relationships.

1. Do your homework

If you’re working with influencers, check out clips of their work. This is a no brainer as it will ensure their followers line up with your client’s target audience.

And when you’re reaching out to an influencer (who may get dozens of offers) you can make the most relevant and personalized pitch. Show interest in their content and then share what you enjoy about their content or have questions about. 

2. Treat scheduling like a discussion

Millennials and Gen Zers have been escaping 9 to 5 jobs in droves for a reason. They want more freedom and the ability to have a strong say in their schedules. 

Setting highly aggressive deadlines for influencer content may not give the brand you’re working with the best results. When you need to work with an influencer, show you respect their time by making sure you provide them with scheduling options during pre-production. 

3. Let influencers stretch their creativity

If the creative doesn’t resonate with an influencer, odds are they may want to opt out or look for ways to diminish the reach of that content — because frankly, an influencer may think they sold their soul. 

Co-Founder at Aimee, Didi Fraioli says...

“Influencers have influence with their fans for a reason. When they’re scripted or made to perform for the camera in a way that isn’t natural for them, it will show in the edit.”

While hopefully, most influencers will be on the same page with you and find ways to collaborate to make it more in line with their voice, this can be a potential challenge when working with an influencer. 

Even if it seems like an oxymoron, authenticity is actually a big deal for many influencers. 

Keep in mind, most influencers are not trained actors so it will show when they’re not being authentic. And if you’re trying to spread a brand’s awareness to that influencer’s followers, it can be a huge turnoff to their fans when something falls flat. 

So, a big part of influencer management is providing influencers with some form of creative freedom. This is especially true when they’re sharing this content with their followers, an audience they’ll know better than you ever will. 

Didi continues...

“Remember why they’re influential with their fans and followers. It’s because they’re being authentically themselves in the content they produce.” 

One study even found the biggest reason influencers work with a brand more than once: being granted creative freedom.

4. Collaborate more effectively 

Ask questions to draw out the vision an influencer may have for a piece of content. The deeper you understand their vision for the project, the better it will be (and hopefully the easier influencer management will be).

Adam Rencher, Digital Marketing Manager at Zapmoto says...

“Influencers know what they want to do but don't always vocalize it.”

Even if providing an influencer with 100% creative control doesn’t make sense for your client, you can still respect the processes and try to work around them to collaborate. 

You may be wondering: what does collaboration look like dealing with influencers then?

You can provide talking points as options with brand mandatories to create guardrails. 

This still gives them freedom with how the video comes together.

5. Empathize and think of the long game

It may be difficult to relate to someone who gets paid to fly to Dubai because they have one million Instagram followers. 

We get it. 

But ultimately, as seen in the above study, most influencers just want to be respected like anyone else. 

Even if you’re not an in-house producer, an influencer might lump you into the brand’s team. Maintaining a good relationship with them for the duration of the project (and after) will go a long way with your relationship with the client. 

The influencer will likely associate a good experience with you, with a good experience with the brand. And If the brand is happy, they’ll likely want to work with you, as the producer, again. 

6. Strike a balance between creative 

When weaving in promotional messaging into a brand/influencer collaboration video, a good rule of thumb is 25% promotional but still in the influencer's voice and style.

Again, this goes back to creative collaboration with the influencer, brand, and anyone else involved. 

Working with influencers' managers 

It’s not always as simple as sliding into an influencer’s DMs and asking if they’d be interested in collaborating. 

For influencers with 100K to millions of followers, you’ll likely need to negotiate with an influencer’s manager or agent on:

  • Pricing
  • Content guidelines
  • Placement of video on social media 

Like most negotiations, you’ll want them to throw out the first number. Ask for their rate card. 

Remember, you’re cultivating a relationship with their manager as well. 

The better relationship you have with their manager, the easier the collaboration process. You can work with their manager early to ensure the creative brief provided will work with the influencer’s voice, audience, etc. 

Another quick tip---if you’re responsible for paying them, pay them quickly if you can. Making anyone wait too long for payments automatically makes them feel undervalued and that could tarnish future opportunities. 

What are some influencer management tools? 

As a producer, you may not find yourself working with these tools. If you’re an in-house producer at a company that acts as the middleman between brand and influencer, you might. Or, if you’re a producer directly reaching out to influencers, you might dabble in a software to make your life easier.

If you want to avoid a bunch of pseudo-organized spreadsheets and email threads, check out these influencer management tools. 

1. TapInfluence

TapInfluence offers an end-to-end influencer management platform---you can find and reach out to influencers there. Then you can use their guided workflows as training wheels if this is your first time dealing with influencers. Plus, review the platform’s built-in analytics to measure your campaigns’ results. 

2. Traackr

Besides providing a ton of influencer options, Traackr provides benchmarking analytics to see how a brand’s social media efforts stack up to their competitors. At a summary level, they provide a brand vitality score that factors in your social KPIs and the overall quality of your audience. 

Then you can dive into how competitors allocate their budget whether it’s on larger-scale influencers or micro ones. 

When managing influencers, you can also track each by relationship stage (i.e. Aware, Engaged, or Advocate). Then if you have multiple teammates engaging with an influencer you can add notes, track progress on campaigns, and more.

3. Sideqik

Sideqik’s influencer relationship management software lets you review an influencer’s content for brand alignment and safety.

While how many influencers end up being influential is debatable, you can search from Sideqik’s database of over 10 million influencers. Then filter by interest, brands they’ve already shown affinity for, and location to help you during the outreach phase of influencer management.

Wrapping Up

Influencer management is similar to working with clients ---play nice and produce killer content. While collaboration with influencers might seem a little more challenging--- having to ensure both the brand’s and influencer’s audiences are happy, ultimately, respectful teamwork is the name of the game. 

If you want to learn more about working with influencers, don’t miss our post outlining SAG’s influencer agreement for branded content.

Disclaimer

At Wrapbook, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding free resources to producers and their crews, but this post is for informational purposes only as of the date above. The content on our website is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for legal, accounting, or tax advice.  You should consult with your own legal, accounting, or tax advisors to determine how this general information may apply to your specific circumstances.

About the author
The Wrapbook Team

The Wrapbook Team consists of individuals who are thrilled about building modern software tools for creators. We’re a team of compassionate and curious people dedicated to solving complex problems with sophisticated solutions. You can find us across the U.S. and Canada.

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