What is talent management? It can mean different things for different sectors. When we consider human resources, talent management is the process of hiring the right talent and helping them grow. When it comes to talent management for influencers and content creators on social media, the definition is similar; however, the process involves pairing the right talent with the right brand and creating opportunities for growth for both the brand and the influencer alike.
This process requires identifying influencers who perform well and helping them understand the opportunities at hand and choosing the most suitable ones. This also helps them develop their skills further and motivates them to achieve long-term goals.
In this article, we will discuss talent management, its expenses, and how influencers and brands can get the best possible results when working with a talent management agency. Through this in-depth discussion, we will outline what to expect from these agencies when influencers and brands work with them.
So, what is talent management?
In terms of influencer marketing, talent management is broadly speaking about connecting influencers with brands who need their services. Talent management encompasses negotiations, contracts, public relations, and so much more.
Although, this is not a new concept. For many years now, celebrities have had a dedicated team of people around them prepping their hair and makeup, running small errands, or doing a variety of other things that the celebrity might need. Most influencers get the treatment of second or third-grade celebrities; however, that does not mean talent management has no value.
What are the costs involved in influencers Talent management?
Talent management includes costs for both the business and the influencers. The primary objective of having a talent manager is to ensure that they can get influencers at the best possible rates. This is a win-win situation for all parties involved -- the brand gets an appropriate influencer, the influencer gets a well-suited and reputed brand, and if the talent manager can get a good rate, they earn a good amount of money for themself. This is particularly good for brands, as they can potentially save money from the good deals they get out of the negotiations with the influencer.
The costs of influencer marketing generally fall under two broad categories:
Most times influencers are paid depending on their reach and engagement levels. There are also cases where influencers are paid for their involvement levels. A single post may not cost as much as a 2000-word blog. Similarly, a picture may not cost as much as a video.
You can choose to pay them in kind or cash depending upon the contract with the influencer. The technicalities of producing the content are also considered. For example, it’s important that the video has a proper production set-up because content without proper lighting, script, presentation, and editing will not be engrossing for the viewers.
Distribution fees are more of the costs involved in producing the content and widely vary depending on the genre of the industry, consumer demographics, engagement rates, follower counts, and more. As an example, a picture may cost between $100 to $10,000 depending on the type of influencer you are working with, and at the same time, a video may cost somewhere between $500 to $50,000.
The relationship between influencers and talent management must be mutually beneficial. Being well represented may put influencers in front of more and more brands, but at the end of the day, it’s their talent that makes them an asset. Talent management opens new doors for influencers, helps them make better decisions based on the opportunities available, and lets brands have access to all this exciting content that is produced by the influencers to do wonders for their brand.
So, the bottom line is if you are an influencer who needs help in picking up proper campaigns, help with connecting with larger brands in their domain, or need assistance in the contract negotiations, you need proper talent management.
If you are an influencer, what should you consider before signing up with talent management?
Ask yourself, are you ready?
If you are not a full-time content creator or influencer, you might not need talent management; however, if you do this full-time, most chances are that you are too busy throughout the day working, and maybe inclined to accept anything that comes your way. The reason may be that you simply do not know how to choose among them or if you should choose them at all.
You may largely benefit from a talent manager who will help you understand the advantages and disadvantages coming your way from the offers and guide you with the one you should actually accept.
Assess if they have what you are looking for
Even if you need a talent manager, you should not immediately sign up with the first talent management agency coming your way. You must ask them questions and understand if they will be able to meet your expectations and needs.
You need to learn about their business practices and their processes and the same goes for brands. You must know if they are communicating well about the campaign and explaining the why’s and how’s, rather than just telling you what to do.
Additionally, you must know of their online presence, and make sure the information you are getting is not just from mass emails. After all the hard work, you will not want to be a face in the crowd but rather as someone who has a personalized presence.
If the experience is not to your needs and experience, you must stay away. You should also request references and previous case studies, which the agency should be readily and willingly able to provide. As you follow up on their references, you may want to tally figures or claims of the agency from third-party websites for a neutral view.
As a brand what things should you know about talent management?
Just like influencers, brands must consider a lot of things before engaging with a talent management agency. Here are some important points to consider:
Check their work experience
By this, we do not mean to ask you to verify their start date. You must check out their previous work and the campaigns handled. Their influencers should be capable of producing high-quality content that meets the requirements.
Your need may be perfectly balanced lighting, matching color palettes, and ergonomically perfect frames or just abstract, natural, or amateurish frames (if the content is pictures or video). You need to make sure your required type of work has been produced by their talents. This will help you in landing with the right list of influencers who will meet your campaign targets.
Draw up a spending limit
Before everything else, you need to draw up a plan, a budget, and most importantly a creative brief. Talent managers will always connect an influencer with you depending on their skills and your budget rates.
Influencer rates vary from one to another, but you need to plan and make an informed decision about how much to spend for this particular campaign, your brand, and the influencers. You might need to negotiate the rates and other terms.
Also, you need to have a base plan in mind for creative inputs about the campaign. You should also look for flexibility in meeting your needs and look for scalable services for them. Although you can choose to walk away and sign up with a different one, it's best if you simply know for the time being that you have an option to do this if you need to.
That being said, it’s time to understand talent management strategy.
All talent management agencies should have a robust strategy that can be demonstrated to brands and influencers. There are certain talent management tactics that make up a strong strategy.
These could be as basic as job descriptions or as a detailed creative brief. When brands have properly conveyed their expected creative outline, talent management agencies find it easier to find out the best-suited influencer for that campaign. Generic briefs can be nightmares and portray that your awareness of the market is disappointing.
Understanding the following will help all involved parties:
Why is this campaign being done?
What is the problem statement? What are we trying to solve?
Who is it for? Why should they be interested?
What is the scope of the work? What exactly are the activities to be conducted?
How will the campaign be measured and assessed?
A talent marketing agency not only helps choose the right influencers for the right campaigns by matching the skillset, but they also make sure that both are a good fit. If the brand and the influencer are not on proper terms, the collaboration might not benefit anyone.
These agencies also provide coaching to influencers who want it and also involve the brand's in-house marketing team in their activities providing them exposure in this arena. Influencers grow their skills while businesses gain exposure, and the campaign is successfully completed. This is a mutually beneficial arrangement and can be best availed with the help of a talent management agency.