Negotiating an influencer partnership

The ‘Instagram influencer’ landscape is an intrepid one. Full of terms like ‘micro vs macro influence’, ‘true vs artificial engagement’ and ‘traditional vs digital talent’. It is hard enough to decipher who to work with, let alone how to negotiate to ensure you are getting the most from an influencer partnership. Having worked with major celebs, talent agencies, influencer strategists (yes that is a thing!), to social media experts – I have gleaned a thing or two, so here are my top ten tips to help you on your way. You are very welcome!


Think long-term

Influencer loyalty will not be cultivated if you work with them as a one-off activity, that really isn’t what an influencer partnership entails. Nor will a one-off project capture the attention or imagination of their audience. The average Instagram post is only seen by a fraction of the Instagrammer’s audience. Not only this, the content is likely to be replaced by another post within hours. In order to have a good relationship with the Instagrammer, as well as the audience, be generous. Gift them again, invite them back or even better, invite them to be part of an exclusive club of ambassadors. #Loyalty

Get their stats

Asking for an influencer’s engagement stats is sometimes considered awkward. Nonetheless, I would fully encourage you to do this before you start putting together an influencer partnership plan. You wouldn’t buy an advert if you did not know the circulation, nor would you stay in a hotel or buy a pair of shoes without knowing the price. If they are working in a professional capacity on their Instagram profiles then this should not be a problem and it is a great way to benchmark the success of the activity of your influencer partnership with another. Alternatively, you can use an influencer marketing tool such as Meltwater which will be able to source those engagement stats for you, so you don’t have to ask.

Check out the stats before signing influencer partnerships
Check out the stats before signing up to an influencer partnership

Be nice

People want to work with people they like, so making friends with the Instagrammer is the best secret to success. If they like you, they will not want to let you down and will be happy to start and influencer partnership. Plus you get to make a new friend. Bonus!

Finding the best people for your influencer partnership is simple with the right tools

Contract considerations

Consider exclusivity

If your influencer partnership is more “official way”, for example, if there’s a financial transaction involved, it is important to ask for exclusivity. Never assume this, but spell it out. If the next post on their wall showcases your competitor, it undoes all of your hard work.

Ask them to sign an agreement

Asking for a signed influencer partnership agreement is also something that should be really encouraged. Again, if working with a professional Instagrammer, they should be happy to guarantee the posts in exchange for your generosity. It also can save any embarrassment if they are not sure what is included ie. In a hotel room mini bar for example/ what level of wine they can order from the menu. It need just be a one-pager or even a T&Cs email that they have to reply ‘Agreed’ to.

Follow the rules

The ASA has implemented stringent rules on working with influencers. Whilst many of their rules fall into grey areas – is it PR? Is it advertising? ETC, what is certain is that it is the brand’s responsibility to do the right thing legally – you are the ones who are liable and can be fined heavily for not being transparent. Be sure you are protecting yourself by asking the Instagrammer to use #ad if money is exchanged or at least being open about the influencer partnership or gifted product by using the “in partnership with” tagging feature.

Esnure your influencer partnership plays by the rules
Ensure your influencer partnership play by the rules

Content collabs

Stories vs posts

These have different audiences and very different life spans. Decide which content type will best serve the purpose of your influencer partnership and ensure that you have agreed on this with influencer prior to working with them. I would always recommend having a post in addition to any stories if you can. The number of posts is also an important part of the negotiation, as well as the posting time span. You may want to have them spread out over a few months to re-enforce the relationship or message to their audience over time.

Post narrative

It’s equally as important that the content narrative shows what you would like to reinforce. Don’t be embarrassed about being specific with narratives, but remember to be sensitive to their artistic temperament – suggestions rather than instructions.

Hashtag and geotags

Spell the use of hashtags/ geotags out ahead of rolling out your influencer partnership and never assume that the influencer has used these features before. It can’t hurt to check the posts and ensure the influencer has correctly added the tags.

Use hashtags to improve the visibility of your influencer partnerships
Use hashtags to improve the visibility of your influencer partnership

Getting more £ from your influencer partnership

Asking for additional content such as ‘what did you like most about….?’ ‘What is your favourite…? ETC is a great way of gleaning additional content from your influencer partnership that can then be added to your brand’s social media, perhaps when reposting their posts on the brand’s own Instagram.

About the Author:
Rosie Shephard, Founder of Luxury Communications Council.

Further reading to take your influencer partnership to new heights

Influencer Marketing Infographic: The Latest Research & Findings

How to master influencer marketing on a limited budget

Why Micro Influencer Marketing Matters

7 Questions To Consider When Choosing Influencers