Why should an exclusive UK social media agent expect a percentage of every role?

I was a distance into writing an article titled “Unlocking the Benefits of Working with an Influencer Management Agency Exclusively” when I started a section on “how can a social media agent validate a percentage of every role”, and I actually typed out the phrase I could probably write an entire article on this subject, and 700 words into that ‘subsection’ I thought this is too long, and so here we are. This is my view, as a UK social media agent on why exclusive agreements require a percentage of every role.

The initial article, when finished, will explore more about why it’s no longer beneficial to work with multiple agencies and a plethora of other points that we won’t cover here.

I will link to it in due course, but until then let’s get into the question at hand.

Yes, exclusive talent management agencies will often, by definition, charge a percentage for every role that comes into a creator, but honestly the right influencer marketing agency will mitigate it if they’re worth their salt.

What do Colossal Influence do to alleviate creators’ fears?

Unfortunately, none of these below practices are industry standard, and no we’re not sure why.

There are a few simple things Colossal Influence do to mitigate taking a percentage for every role.

  1. No fees for existing brand contracts. So, if you have worked directly with a brand before, we will continue to work with them at 0%.
  2. A sliding scale percentage depending on how involved we were in the role (between 10-20%).
  3. If we’re contacted about a role by another agency, and we don’t have a pre-existing relationship with the brand then rather than rejecting the role or seeking out the brand (which has led to deals being lost due to time constraints) we look to broker split fees. That way, where possible, the creator isn’t impacted by two lots of fees.
UK Social Media Agent

Influencer agencies should not want to benefit from work we have not put in on your behalf. It’s our privilege to work with you, so why should we benefit from agreements you’ve already signed?

We also, and I can’t stress this strongly enough, do not take a percentage of platform ads from your channel. This is still common with Multi Channel Network agreements, and we’ve made our feelings clear on them in the past.

The second point requires some level of trust from the creator’s end. Colossal influence will often charge just 10% if we’re lucky enough to do very little to secure the role This will slide up to 20% if we’re involved in discovery pitching, strategy, and the like.

Some agencies just charge their flat fee, which will oftentimes be 20%. However, that depends on your initial contract. Rates between 15-25% are industry norm. However, they charge that if they do the bare minimum or almost everything, that doesn’t seem fair for anybody involved really.

What if I (as a creator) receive an email with an offer, how much is an agent doing for me?

The main issue creators have with signing exclusive deals with an agency is that they’re worried that agents become email administrators and take a percentage for just micromanaging business emails. Honestly, this IS a problem in influencer management. Too many agents/agencies are resting on their laurels and not pitching or ensuring brands are coming to the creator as a result of the work they’ve done.

Getting a creator to sign to you, putting your email in their bio, and waiting for the emails to come in should not be normal business practice… It should be one part of a wide strategy to ensure brands are getting in contact, but not the only one.

That being said, let’s break it down. Even if an agency had their email in the creator’s bio and a brand saw it and reached out to them, they still:

  1. Handled communications, which may potentially involve some strategy
  2. Negotiated (I won’t even go into the fact that a good agent should be able to broker a better deal)
  3. Handled, checked, and signed the contracts
  4. Checked the work to see that it meets requirements
  5. Invoiced and then subsequently chased that invoice (because yes that’s a huge problem)
  6. Issued payment

For ‘nothing’, that’s quite a lot of work!

An example of why exclusive agreements are important for an agency

Back in 2019, before Colossal Influence went exclusive with our roster, we had worked on a six-figure deal with a brand and creator we’d both worked with before.

This wasn’t a deal that had been spoken about by creator or brand, but a gap in the market we spotted.

Colossal Influence knew a creator was looking for a sponsor for a show they wanted to run. We also knew, through existing communication, that a brand who matched all the demographics was looking to make noise in the scene.

So, we took some initiative and with the creators blessing we drew up a 25-page proposal. In that proposal we did all the leg work for marketing strategy and integration. We even planned for things like studio setup and design because as the ‘visionary’ of the plan it was easy for us to see how it’d be executed.

Having worked with the brand and the creator before (although never together) and having run rough outlines of the plan by them without giving any information away, and even having committed them to non-disclosure agreements eventually we setup a meeting in central London where I pitched the entire plan in a four-hour meeting.

The meeting couldn’t have gone better. For all intense and purpose, when we all left that meeting the deal had been signed.

Overall, we’d spent more than two working weeks on everything required to get from absolutely nothing to a point where everyone was happy.

Except they weren’t…

Imagine my surprise a week later when I get a call from the brand stating they’d decided against it. Then, in my subsequent call with the creator hearing that they weren’t sure either.

The deal had collapsed, which while suspicious, was always a risk. Before I drew up the plan, I knew this could happen, and I calculated the risk vs reward. It was a decision I was happy to make regardless of the outcome.

As you’ve guessed by the way this has all been worded, the deal hadn’t collapsed. The plan was still going on just without our involvement but using all the work we’d done.

A month later a show appeared on the creators’ channel. It was almost word for word what we’d suggested. They didn’t even bother changing the name of the show. They’d just used the one we’d suggested.

We had a non-disclosure agreement, but at that point following through would have been an administrative and financial nightmare.

So, it was a lesson learned. Colossal Influence made the decision to go exclusive with a roster. At the start of 2023, when this article is being written, we’d never been in a stronger position & I think most of our creators would say the same.

Make sure you find the right UK Social Media Agent

The reality is, and the sole reason I think any agent can justify taking a percentage of every role is because the right UK social media agent will spend a lot of their time pitching you to brands. You, as a creator, may only see the deals that end up signed, but an agent will pitch an unknown number of times before landing a role. That’s a lot of work where there’s a lot of time invested with no result at the end.

Sure, it may be that a brand directly emails you, and your agent picks up a ‘quick win’. However, everything else that they’ve done historically and everything that they will do will more than make up for that if you have the right agent.

Furthermore, having asked our very own roster, creators love that we’re a central point of contact.

Does the above sound ideal if you’re a creator? Make sure you contact us!

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