Contracts can be one of the most overwhelming parts of being an influencer. You go through the pitching process and finally get a deal you are excited about. Then the brand sends over a 15 page influencer contract.
You find yourself thinking, “What does this even mean? Do I just sign it? Do I actually have to read all of this? I don’t know what half of these sections are talking about.”
That’s where this posts comes in. We are going through the common terms in social media influencer contracts as well as some things to look out for. We aren’t telling you what should be your make and break terms in a contract as that is up to each individual. Instead, we are helping you navigate the contract to make the decision for yourself.
Before we start going through the terms, let me say that you should not let that 15 page contract intimidate you. They put a lot of things in the contract that don’t really need to be there. Maybe it is to scare you off, but it is probably just to cover them just in case. Oftentimes the contract could be much shorter though.
First of all, READ THE CONTRACT. Yes, that is in all caps for a reason. You need to read everything. Even if it takes a long time and even if you don’t understand everything, read it all.
If you don’t understand something, try to Google it or ask a friend. If nothing else, you can ask the brand for clarification. Especially check to make sure the deliverables are what you agreed to in your previous communications with the brand.
As far as the rest of the typical influencer contract, there are some terms that are common. We are going to explain what these terms mean as well as what to watch out for and what is “normal” for each. If you get to the end and still have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section!
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PAY OUT PERIOD
The normal terms you should expect to see in this section are net 30, net 60, and net 90. This refers to how long after the collaboration you will be paid. Make sure to read this section of the contract so that you know what to expect.
Most brands are going to try to do a net 60 or a net 90 pay period. You want to get it down to net 30 if you can. It is extremely rare to get paid faster than 30 days. Those pay period are standard. You just need to know when to expect payment so that you also know when to follow up if payment is not received.
PAYMENT TYPE & FEES
Another important part of an influencer contract is payment type. Is the brand paying you by check, bank transfer, PayPal, etc? Are they paying the fees associated with that payment type?
Every one of those payment types comes with fees. You should not be covering the fees – that is not your job. The brand should know the normal fees, but you need to look them up too for the payment type.
You should get paid your full amount. If you are supposed to be paid $1500, you should receive $1500. If the bank transfer fee is $25, you need to charge $1525 so that the brand covers the fee.
This is one of the most important things to know from an influencer contract. Most other parts of the contract will refer to the term length or the length of the campaign/contract.
If you don’t know the term length, it makes it hard to decide if some of the other sections are make or break. For example, if you are looking at a section that says, “This clause is in effect for the term length,” you need to know if the term length is 3 months or 1 year. If you are looking at usage rights with a term length of one year, you are giving them usage rights to the images for one year.
Exclusivity is your ability to work with other similar brands. If there is an exclusivity period of 6 months, you cannot work with competing brands during that 6 month period.
Before you decide, you need to know about the competitors. Who are the competitors? Some brands have looser definitions while others have tighter definitions. Know who you can and cannot work with during that exclusivity period.
Along with knowing how long the exclusivity is and who the competitors are, know if you are getting paid (or getting paid enough) for the exclusivity. If you can’t work with any similar brands for 6 months, are you being paid enough to cover that time period?
Usage rights are the rights the brand has to your content. This is a part of the typical influencer contract that you really need to dive into as usage rights are something that you should be paid for depending on what they want to use them for. If they want full usage rights, they need to pay more than if they want social rights only.
Pay attention to what the usage rights for your content are. Are they using it for social posting only? Do they want to boost or whitelist it (pay to boost your post) or use it for paid digital (same thing)? Do they plan to use it for marketing, emails, their website, billboards, etc?
Know how long they can use your images, where they have the right to use them, and if the payment you are getting justifies that usage.
SMALL THINGS ARE INCLUDED
While this isn’t a specific section title of the contract, this will be included in the contract itself. This is especially important for influencers who travel for brands.
If you are paying for products up front and being reimbursed, make sure you know how you are being reimbursed. Is it included in the budget already or do you need to invoice for it afterwards?
For travel, make sure all the little things are included in the influencer contract. Make sure it covers things like transportation to and from the airport and meals (alcohol often is not included). If they are covering your flight, make sure your luggage is included. We’ve had influencers show up at the airport only to find out their luggage was not included.
Being willing to cover the little things is actually one of the signs of a great brand deal. Find all the signs of a great brand deal here.
The termination clause in an influencer contract outlines how the brand can get out of the contract and sometimes how you can terminate if you need to as well. You need to know this information.
One thing I’ve talked to influencers about a lot is trips being cancelled. Sometimes they have blocked out time after saying yes to a trip and might have even turned down trips in the same time period. Then the trip gets cancelled for any number of reasons.
This is going to be hard to put in a contract that you get paid in that situation. The brand wants to cover themselves, so they are highly unlikely to agree to put that in a contract.
Sometimes the tourism board decides they no longer want to put budget behind that project. They’ve already got several influencers who blocked out two weeks in August in the busy travel season for the trip. They’ve said no to other jobs and now the trip is cancelled. The influencers just lost out on money and potentially content shoots they planned. The brand/tourism board doesn’t want to pay for that, so it is unlikely they put it in the contract.
These are some of the most common parts of an influencer contract. One important thing to know is that the likelihood of any of this changing in a contract is small. The brand will usually say, “That’s just how we do it. It’s always net 60 payment. It’s always one year of usage rights.”
You can still ask though. Then you have to decide what is make or break for you. Are you willing to give on the usage rights but not on the exclusivity? Is the contract enough to make you want to turn it down because you aren’t being paid enough? These are all personal decisions we can’t make for you.
If you still have questions about these terms or about contracts in general, feel free to leave them below. A manager will know the ins and outs of a contract, but not everyone is at a point of needing a manager yet.
If not, Boost Society is now offering a one-of-a-kind small group coaching program that goes into more depth about the behind the scenes of the influencer business, giving you the tools you need to act as your own manager.
In the coaching program, I cover things like negotiating contracts and deals to know up front if it is a good deal or not, what contract terms mean, what to look for in contracts, etc. I also give you examples of contracts you can use to help you understand contracts better.
This is not teaching you how to be an influencer or how to grow on social media but how to negotiate from gifting to paid partnerships, how to read and understand contracts, how to pitch brands, how to build long-term partnerships and more. You can check it out here!
If you aren’t quite ready for that, you can still get our free tips for pitching brands below!
Subscribe to get your FREE “12 things to include in a pitch email” PDF & to get more tips and tricks from Boost Society!
For more Influencer tips, check out these posts:
- How to Work with Brands and PR Agencies
- How Influencers Really Make Money
- How to Work with the Right Brands as an Influencer
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