In this age of social media dominance, influencers have become the modern-day rock stars, captivating audiences with their curated lifestyles and aspirational content. Social media influencers have the power to sway consumer opinions and drive engagement, making them indispensable assets for businesses seeking to thrive in the digital realm. However, as influencers have risen to prominence, so too has the demand for expert guidance in navigating this ever-evolving sphere. Behind every successful influencer stands an unsung hero, the legendary figure known as the influencer agent.
These masterminds possess a unique blend of business savvy and persuasive powers that can turn a quirky online personality into a brand powerhouse. However, like any magician who wields such extraordinary powers, these agents do come at a cost. So, if you’ve ever wondered how much it would take to enlist one of these magical beings to pave your path to fame and fortune, fasten your seatbelts as we dive into the world of influencer agent pricing!
What is an influencer agent?
An influencer agent, also known as an influencer talent manager or talent agent, is a professional who specializes in representing and guiding influencers throughout their careers. They assume a multifaceted role that extends beyond merely brokering deals; they act as mentors, negotiators, and strategic advisors…..and let’s be honest, therapists and hypewoman (Can I get one for myself please?!)
The Roles and Responsibilities of an Influencer Agent
At its core, an influencer agent’s role is to act as the intermediary between influencers and brands or businesses. We take on the following key responsibilities:
Negotiating Partnerships: Influencer agents are skilled negotiators who secure lucrative collaborations and partnerships for their clients. We do our best to ensure that the SOW (scope of work ie all the deliverables such as the IG reel, Tiktok etc), pay and terms are favorable and align with our influencer’s brand image and values.
If we do anything at all, it’s this! Negotiate the best combination of pay and scope of work (SOW) for our clients. If you’re not quite ready or willing to hire an influencer agent, that’s okay. As I love negotiating so much I wrote longer articles about how to negotiate with a brand and 4 negotiation mistakes to avoid with a brand.
Contract Management: We handle the intricate and overwhelming world of contracts, ensuring that legalities are met, and both parties fulfill their obligations. Contracts are an Influencer’s BFF. It’s like homebase – a place to come back to, to know exactly what you’re responsible for and what the brand expects from you, while you know exactly how the brand will use your content or not. If you’re ever not sure about something in your collaboration, refer back to the agreement.
Brand Alignment: We assist in identifying and securing partnerships that align with the influencer’s niche, ensuring that collaborations resonate with the audience and maintain authenticity.
There’s actually a lot of things Influencer agents do. I wrote this longer article called “What does an influencer manager do”.
Remember that scene in Jerry Maguire, when Cuba Gooding Jr is saying his family motto of “Show me the money”? He asks Tom Cruise to repeat it back to him, louder and with conviction? Tom Cruise is Cuba Gooding Jr’s agent. And Cuba Gooding Jr, wants him, his agent, to SHOW HIM THE MONEY i.e. negotiate a great contract for him. If you remember, there was a LOT of yelling!
Another example of an agent, more real time and without a cellphone from the 90’s, is Rich Paul, agent to NBA superstar, Lebron James. Every time you see Lebron James’ face on Nike, Beats by Dre or MacDonalds to name a few brands, Rich Paul was behind that negotiation.
Everything that Rich Paul and Cuba Gooding Jr, do for their clients, that’s what us influencer agents do for our clients. Here’s my full roster of clients if you were ever curious.
Benefits of having an Influencer Agent
For influencers, just like for Cuba Gooding Jr, Julia Roberts, Octavia Spencer or Megan Rapinoe, having an agent can be a game-changer. It allows the influencer (or actor or athlete) to focus on creating content and engaging with their audience while leaving the business side of their career in capable hands. Agents can help influencers secure better deals, protect their interests, and provide guidance for long-term success.
Brands, on the other hand, benefit from influencer agents by gaining access to a curated selection of influencers who are a perfect fit for their marketing goals. Agents act as trusted advisors who understand both the influencer’s and the brand’s needs, facilitating partnerships that are mutually beneficial.
Brands and agencies also benefit working with Influencer Agents because we’re a great neutral party. Here me out. If a brand has particular feedback for an influencer about their content or campaign results that aren’t ideal, the influencer agent can deliver that news in a better way and be a better messenger than the brand/agency might.
That works both ways. If there’s feedback, or helpful insight for an agency or brand, when I share it as the influencer agent, it will land better than coming from an Influencer. The best opportunities for this exchange to happen are early in the campaign stages when a brand is sourcing talent, looking for input on timing or a certain message.
I can share what may or may not work objectively with all the different perspectives I have, with my finger on the pulse of what’s working for influencers right now.
As you grow your business as a social media influencer or brand ambassador, considering bringing on a talent manager to your team is a big step to help you level up your business.
But, as with any professional service, understanding the cost of hiring an influencer agent is a crucial aspect that should not be overlooked. It’s one of the top Q’s people ask me about in my DMs – wanting to know how much does it cost to work with me.
On my website, I explain more about how my influencer talent agency operates and charges. My goal with this article is for you to gain the insights you need to make informed decisions about the cost, pros and cons of working with an influencer agent.
How do influencer agents get paid
Finally, getting the part about money! What everyone always wants to know about but isn’t necessarily confident enough to ask about. I’m happy to share this part, to pull back the curtain and tell you the ways that us talent managers make our money.
Influencer agents build our agencies around 3 different ways to earn money, each with its own advantages and considerations. Let’s explore them each, one by one.
Commission-Based Pricing for an Influencer Agent
First up, and by far the most common way that us Influencer Talent Agents earn money is via commission. Under this arrangement, me, your Influencer Talent Agent earns a percentage of the brand deals that I negotiate. This means my success is very closely tied to my talent’s success. If I don’t close brand deals, I don’t earn any money.
The commission percentage typically falls within the range of 10% to 20%. Here’s how it works:
When I secure a brand partnership for any one of my clients on my roster, I earn 20% of the deal. Let’s do the math. When I close a deal of $10,000, I earn $2,000 and the talent keeps the remaining $8,000.
One of the things I like about this model is that it’s really beneficial to us Influencer Agents that are driven by money. So that works out well for the talent on that agent’s roster. You can be confident your Influencer Agent will be doing whatever it takes to close the best deal for you.
I know of some Influencer Talent Agencies that do a different % rate if the deal comes inbound (direct to the talent) or if the agent has sourced the deal via an outbound pitch. When interviewing a talent agent about working together, be very very clear on how they earn their money. You want to be able to speak openly and honestly with your agent about money from day 1.
I don’t differentiate my commission rate between inbound and outbound leads because it gets too messy. There’s no way to track where the campaign request originates from. Most inbound requests go direct to the talent including some of my outbound pitches, for whatever reason. I’m not here to waste time, splitting hairs and arguing over who was responsible for bringing in that project.
A majority of my time is spent emailing and dealing with inbound requests that are a no or don’t come to fruition. Keep in mind that the 20% that an Influencer Agent earns from a brand deal also covers the time they spend on projects for you that go nowhere.
If you ever have a lucrative deal close “easily”, & you think “My Influencer agent didn’t do much on this project, I wish I didn’t have to pay them 20%. They didn’t fully earn this money,” remember all the time we spend on your behalf for no pay.
Kamla Pande of Moondust Management says “I usually position it that having an agent isn’t a “cost” because if they’re not delivering more than their 20% commission in new biz, they’re not right for you. It’s more about reframing the mindset to look at an agent as a business growth driver – not a “cost” for the influencer. Any agent should bring in more than their 15 or 20% cut, meaning if the influencer made $X without an agent, they should make AT LEAST $X + 20%X with one.”
In speaking with a lot of other Talent Managers in the industry, I know that I do a lot for my clients for the 20% I earn. A lot of other managers include an ongoing retainer to cover the ways I go above and beyond, but that’s not how I’ve chosen to run my business.
Pro tip : When interviewing for an Influencer Agent, be very clear on their business model, how they earn their money.
Molly Benton, Executive VP of Cook-It Media says “When working with a talent manager, not only are you getting a partner in the ever-evolving business of influencer marketing, but you’re also getting a teammate who is a true expert in this industry. They know your category niche and they know the influencer business like the back of their hand.
Talent managers do a myriad of tasks including vetting inbound opportunities, drafting extensive proposals, negotiating contracts and partnership management. All of this buys you time back so that you can spend more time creating content rather than behind an inbox. That’s why we earn a retainer, commission or sometimes both for the time that we buy back for you.”
How much does an influencer agent cost – retainer fees
Another income model for an influencer talent agency includes retainer fees.. A retainer fee is a fixed, recurring payment that influencers make to retain the agent’s services over an extended period.
Retainer fees can vary widely based on the influencer’s or brand’s needs, the agent’s expertise, and the scope of services provided. On average, retainer fees for influencer agents can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per month.
The specific fee structure is usually negotiated between the agent and the client and is influenced by factors such as the agent’s experience and the level of personalized service required. My friend Molly Tracy who is the CEO and founder of Vrai Digital uses a retainer model I believe for the clients she does a lot of outbound pitching for.
The few agencies I know who also include a retainer do a lot more work for, & on behalf of, their talent such as more specific brand building, social media management, brand overhauls & continuous outbound marketing.
My talent agency is a hybrid of both retainer plus commission for the first 90 days. This is because I spend a lot of time onboarding new talent, working with them to update media kits, reconnecting with their network, introducing them to mine among other things that aren’t financially compensated.
Hopefully not always, but us managers do often need to build a runway for the Influencer to expand into more paid brand partnerships when we first partner. For me, those first 90 days are crucial to really get to know one another on an intimate business level and smoothing out our flow and process.
I do a monthly fee + 10% commission on all deals we close during those first 90 days and then starting at month four, I move to a straight 20% commission structure. It’s a question I’m often asked, so I wrote about it in my FAQs page here.
How much does an influencer agent cost – flat fees
Flat fees are a straightforward and transparent pricing model used in the influencer agent industry. The only time I’ve seen flat fees incorporated are for one-time services or specialized tasks, such as contract negotiation, campaign strategy development, or content creation oversight. Truly the most common I know of is a straight flat fee to have a lawyer review an agreement.
Influencer agents utilize various pricing models, including commission-based pricing, retainer fees, and flat fees, to cater to the diverse needs of influencers.. The choice of pricing model should align with your specific goals, budget, and the level of support and services you require from your influencer agent. Understanding these pricing structures is essential to making an informed decision when seeking representation in the world of influencer marketing.
The cost to hiring an Influencer Agent isn’t based on your following size ie if you have 1000 followers it’s not different than if you have 1 million followers.
Some agents make choices about the talent they want to represent based on the following count of the talent. For example, some Influencer Agents don’t work with micro influencers (which means less than 100k followers). For me, it doesn’t matter.
I look for how frequently the Influencer is doing digital marketing campaigns. It means they work often with influencer marketing agencies and are a trusted brand partner. The more marketing campaigns an Influencer is a part of, the more money they’re earning, the more projects they have to manage & posts to create, the more engaged they are with their target audience, the more it makes sense for them to bring an Influencer Agent onto their team.
How much does an Influencer agent cost per month?
The only way to have a monthly investment in an Influencer Agent is if you’re working with the retainer structure, which is a monthly fee. Otherwise, your Influencer Agent only earns money when you earn money from your influencer marketing campaigns, which would vary month to month.
How much do influencers make?
If an influencer is working with an Influencer Agent, they earn between 80-90% of the brand collaborations they complete. Their manager earns the other 10-20%. I know Influencers who work with marketing agencies on the side, or on top of a full time job and do a small amount of campaigns each year. Whatever they earn is bonus money to them. I know Influencers who do brand collabs full time and earn in the millions of dollars from social media platforms each year. My clients currently earn anywhere from $100k+.
How much does it cost to hire an influencer?
This is a great question and truthfully I can’t speak to it in great depth. As I’ve only ever worked on the Talent Management side of a campaign, I don’t know instagram Influencer pricing when an agency is working on an influencer marketing strategy. Agencies vary in the pricing model they use to determine the influencer price per post.
Do influencers use agents?
Some influencers do use agents, absolutely. Take a look at my johanna b. voss Agency roster to see the Influencers I represent. You’ll see a variety of backgrounds, types of content and follower count. You can also scroll on Tiktok or Instagram and see many many Influencers that do NOT use agents. Sometimes it’s hard to tell and the only way to find out is by asking.
Do Instagram Influencers have agents?
They sure do! Personally I look for my clients to be active on multiple social media platforms such as Instagram, Tiktok, to have a website and more. But I know of some people who are strictly on Instagram like Ismail Mpiana of My Culinary Adventures
Should I get an Agent as an Influencer?
My opinion is that you should get an agent as an Influencer when you’re making more than $100k/annually in brand partnerships & are at a tipping point of having too many inbound requests for campaign opportunities. You want to make sure it makes sense financially to bring a manager onto your team. Remember as we mostly work off of commission, you need to be earning enough money for it to make sense for us as a manager to bring you onto our roster.
How do I get an Agent as an Influencer?
Love this question. You get an Agent as an influencer by doing your research to find the best one for you. Ask your fellow Instagram friends who have managers for recommendations, ask in FB groups or online, You can also google us or search for us on social. And let’s not forget that you’re reading my article, written by a talent manager. Should we talk? Here’s where you can read more about my johanna b. voss Agency and how I work.
I want to clarify. An influencer marketing agency is very different from an Influencer Talent Agent.
An influencer marketing agency is one that runs influencer marketing campaigns. They are the ones at the top of the funnel who decide what the campaign will be about, what the goals of the campaigns are and which influencers will be selected for the project.
It’s up to the people on the influencer marketing agency side to determine the overall cost of the campaign, what the influencer marketing agency will charge the brand to run their campaign and what the Instagram pay rates or YouTube influencer rates are.
As a manager, I don’t decide that. I can try and negotiate it but I don’t have input on the influencer marketing pricing for anything. Don’t I wish!?