Influencer marketing is a staple of successful digital advertising. Influencers are compensated for their services, publishers and advertisers see solid ROI, and campaigns close with high fives all around. Well, not exactly. The billion-dollar industry has evolved alongside social media, but publishers and influencers have both been guilty of mistakes along the way. To combat the pitfalls of poorly planned influencer campaigns, influencer managers have taken center stage in the industry. This blog details the important role of influencer managers and how they make money.
The Role of Influencer Managers
Just as traditional agencies represent celebrities, influencers are often represented by managers. At its core, influencer management exists to connect talent (influencers) with brands. That said, influencer managers’ responsibilities and skill sets go beyond initiating introductions.
It is easy to assume influencer managers are just well-connected people using their networks to claim a piece of the pie. That is selling them short. Influencer marketing campaigns are complex undertakings. Their moving parts make them extremely difficult to create, coordinate and execute. Even the initial stages of identifying and engaging influencers is a major obstacle for publishers. Managers’ relationships with influencers and their prowess for influencer marketing equip them to determine if a brand-influencer partnership is worth exploring before either party invests significant time in a collaboration. As the gatekeeper to influencers, this instantly saves publishers the headache of manually identifying and engaging with the right influencers.
Influencer Managers and Campaigns
Influencer managers also occupy key roles with campaigns. They boast the know-how to aid in campaign structure and optimization, the negotiation skills to navigate contracts, relationships to oversee shoots and interviews, and expertise to ensure content meets FTC guidelines. A manager is a time-saving safety net for influencers and advertisers to ensure campaigns are successful for both parties.
These important men and women play a part in tracking as well. Many managers have access to automation software to streamline campaigns and comprehensive tracking tools to report KPIs (“likes” and followers are not the only metrics that matter). Ultimately, managers connect the two sides of the influencer equation. They cultivate conversation and collaboration on everything from offers to content and bring beneficial expertise to campaigns that is welcomed by brands and influencers alike.
Comparing Influencer Management Agencies & Marketplaces
Influencer management comes in the form of marketplaces and databases, as well as full-service agencies. While they all have the same intention of connecting influencers and marketers, their services vary.
Many influencer agencies provide brands with an entire team to run full-service campaigns. They handle all aspects of campaign creation, execution and tracking, so publishers can be hands-off with the process. Influencer campaigns are cumbersome, and agencies have the resources to manage it all from start to finish. Meanwhile, marketplaces are generally a database complete with big-name influencers and more targeted micro-influencers.
Marketplaces allow publishers to find the right, ready-to-post influencers for their campaigns in an efficient manner. Many marketplaces are also “self-serve,” making it easy for brands to purchase a post or take on a smaller, trial campaign before committing to a large collaboration. Marketplaces and agencies typically use or license software to help brands optimize campaigns and track KPIs. Both serve as simple and streamlined ways to identify and engage with influencers.
How Influencer Managers Make Money
Whether publishers source influencers from an agency or marketplace, they can expect a fraction of their costs to go to management. In most cases, influencer managers’ revenue correlates with the weight of work, their involvement in content creation and control and campaign recurrence. These fees are often determined on an influencer-by-influencer and campaign-by-campaign basis.
If a publisher wants minimal involvement in an influencer campaign, the influencer manager can count on earnings as a large percentage of the budget, a monthly retainer or billable hours. Meanwhile, other influencer managers may be open to performance-based campaigns, taking a cut of the revenue generated. Some managers work on commission. Others may take a small fee then step away as the publisher develops the campaign. Generally if a publisher would like to manage the campaign, influencer manager fees are limited. However, full-service management fees can come with a hefty price tag as part of the campaign’s total cost.
Final Word for Influencer Managers
The success of influencer marketing has led to tremendous opportunity for influencer managers. While influencer management is a fairly new branch of influencer marketing, it has become a crucial component of success in recent years. Influencer managers have ample opportunity to make money by building beneficial relationships between publishers and influencers, as well as lending expertise to campaign creation and execution.