Influencer marketing is here to stay – and that means advertisers and influencers need to have a clearly-defined relationship. As influencer marketing matures, so do the contracts between them and the brands that work with them.

As 2017, the “year of influencer marketing”, begins to draw to a close, there’s been a lot of advancements that have taken place in this specific marketing channel. We’ve discussed these changes as recent as a month ago when Snap Inc, the company that owns Snapchat, announced that influencers would be having special features available to them through Official Stories. We’ve also interviewed several influencers that have given us different perspectives on where the state of influencer marketing is at, as well as where it’s headed. As 2017 wraps up, we’re seeing a more mature marketing channel than at the beginning. One of the most recent developments, however, is also one of the most significant – that is the way contracts are now being approached by companies when it comes to influencer marketers.

Digiday recently published an article exploring how different agencies and influencers are working with more defined, stricter contracts. Many agencies have either recently updated their contracts outright or put clearer expectations within their current contracts. This is a great advancement for both influencer marketers as well as the brands and agencies that work with them.

Updates and changes in contracts that were cited in the article include when and how long for a brand can repurpose an influencer-created post for their own marketing, how many edits can be made on a piece of content after the influencer has created it, and how brands can use influencer content in areas beyond the internet, such as on TV and in print advertisements.

The effort to refine contracts with influencers not only further validates the importance and effectiveness of influencer marketing, it also can make the relationship more effective. Digiday observed that, due to the clearer and more defined expectations in updated influencer contracts, smaller influencers are able to understand their role in the brand’s marketing strategy much more effectively, as well as what’s expected of them. Likewise, this also ensures that influencers who are seasoned partners with brands can reduce the amount of time they may spend on reviewing created assets or discussing strategies with the brand. The brands also benefit because it empowers them to clearly understand aspects of the relationship that may have previously been undefined, such as what they can and cannot do with the influencers’ created assets.

A More Defined – and Critical – Marketing Vertical in 2018

The benefits of a more defined relationship between influencer and brand, especially within the contract, is going to be extremely beneficial going into 2018 and beyond. Consumers have responded positively to influencers, and by advancing the relationship between brand and influencer marketer the two can ensure that this marketing strategy remains strong and beneficial for all parties – customers included.

We asked Jennifer Moor, the Senior Manager for Brand Quality & Regulatory Compliance Management, what her expert perspective was on these developments in the influencer space.

“It is great to see agencies are providing more clarity to influencers in their contract terms about specific compliance requirements,” Moor explained, “but this is only half of what needs to be done.”

Moor noted that these developments were beneficial from a working perspective, but from a legal compliance perspective, “the industry still needs a level of oversight and monitoring to ensure that, as these influencers post about these brands on social media, that they are following their contractual agreements and disclosing their material relationship clearly and conspicuously.”

If you plan on revisiting your influencer partnership contracts in time to prepare for the holidays or even in 2018, you’ll want to consider the compliance aspect as well as how the partnership will work. When in doubt, always seek professional legal counsel on these issues.

Compliance aside, however, it’s easy to see why these advancements in the contract between influencer and brand can only benefit both sides further. If you’ve already rolled out your influencer marketing program and are looking to improve it, evaluate how your contracts are written, and if they meet the expectations of your brand and organization, and if they support your influencer partnerships in a way that’s empowering and beneficial.

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