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How To Manage An Influencer: 9 Vital Tips

Updated On Thursday, February 20, 2020 ;


How to manage an Influencer: 9 vital tips

Life takes you to interesting places. I never would have thought that when I graduated from University as a journalist, I’d abandon the profession to become an artist manager.

5 years on, and now Director of Influencer Relations at MIN, there have been some key learnings that I want to share.

You see, being a manager has been fraught with difficulty. It’s almost a job that is more about managing personalities than it is the actual career and finances.

Influencer’s personalities often are more complex, nuanced and difficult to understand than the rest of us. There are often interesting, weird and complicated reasons how individuals become Influencers.

Sometimes it’s down to pure talent and hard work, other times it’s a result of insecurity.

Some Influencers can be a pleasure to work with, they can inspire you and push you to become better. But tantrums, mood swings, and personality disorders are all thrown into the mix when working as a manager.

I’ve learnt a lot (perhaps too much) about what it takes to be a manager. Here are my top 9 lessons:

Show that you care

This is massively understated.

You see, an Influencer needs holistic support. Yes, they need you to help bring them in money, but they are fundamentally a human being first and foremost. And just like every other human being, they require attention, care, love and to be listened to.

One of the biggest mistakes that many management teams make is neglecting the Influencer’s overall wellbeing. The amount of Influencers who I’ve heard complain about their management because they don’t really have their interests at heart is incredible.

A simple call every now and again to ask how they are, without any other motivation can go a long way.

Fouseytube famously complained about his talent agency not caring when he was going through a rough time, treating him purely in a transactional manner.

One of the other ways you can do this is to defend them in public when they’re being attacked or criticised. That’s not to say you justify a serious wrong they’ve done, but when they’re being unfairly criticised online, there’s nothing like getting support from your team.

If they’ve done something wrong, you can speak to them about it in private. Managers like Mino Raiola, who manages a host of footballers and Khoder Nasser, who represents Sonny Bill Williams, are famous for not letting their talent receive any type of abuse.

Be responsive

There’s nothing worse than your management taking aaagges to get back to you. It’s like, come on, we live in a world where instant communication is key and things need to get done.

Being responsive is an extension of caring. You are demonstrating that they are a priority for you. If you can’t answer right away, let them know that you are working on it and will get back to them soon.

Finances

One of the biggest problems that Influencers have is securing a regular source of income. One particular comedian I’ve worked with once said to me ‘One of the big problems we face is a sense of cognitive dissonance. It’s like, everyone knows who you are, but you’ve got no money in your account. It can really f*** you up.”

Finding ways to secure a regular income for your Influencer is key. Whether it’s merchandise, Youtube income or paid ads on Instagram, figure out how your Influencer can earn regular money.

For me, a stable income helps to regulate your emotions. There’s nothing worse than struggling to pay your bills month to month, especially when everyone thinks your rich!

Show your competence

Every Influencer wants to feel secure that whoever is looking after them actually knowsn what they are doing.

And the trust is, you won’t always know what the best course of action is in any given situation. There are simply too many variables in life to be able to determine what’s always best.

But for me, the trick is not to always provide an immediate, spontaneous answer to pretend you know. What’s much more stronger, is to tell them you will go away and think about it, do some research, ask people you trust or experts in a particular field, and come back with a measured response about the next course of action.

If you display weakness, by changing your mind or not being firm about your answer, your Influencer will lose trust in your decision-making ability.

Be firm

There will be instances when you’ll need to put your foot down and be firm (but also fair). Naturally, the management team often has a more wider perspective, because you are going to be the ones in meetings, taking phone calls and reading all the emails regarding the Influencer.

So sometimes, but not always, you’ll know what’s best. But convincing the Influencer that you know better is sometimes tricky. If you ever feel that the Influencer is making a terrible decision for their brand, you can’t just tell them, you have to reason it out with them, while maintaining firmness.

If the Influencer goes ahead and destroys their brand, you both will suffer.

Don’t expose them to hate

Naturally, being an Influencer comes with its fair share of trials. You will have people who love you and people who hate you.

Where it gets dangerous is when an Influencer over exaggerates the amount of hate they are getting and it begins to wharp their understanding of their followers.

Most Influencers have 95% of people who either like them or are just bystanders, consuming content but not paying too much attention to it, and 5% who seem to hate them and write ridiculous troll-like comments.

It’s important that, wherever you can, you don’t expose them to too much hate. While there is no harm in them being criticised every now and again — sometimes the criticism is necessary — but for them to see too many hate-filled comments can really damage their psyche, the way they view themselves and the way they view the world.

Protect them or they’ll become bitter.

Limit their use of social media

This may sound counter-intuitive for a social media star, but too much exposure to social media, I believe, is unhealthy.

Many studies have shown a link between higher social media usage and the probability of mental health disorders, like anxiety and depression.

While some may argue that this is correlative, not causative, I think it’s best to tread with caution. It’s extremely important that as human beings we also engage in real life human interaction, spend time with nature and unwind. Being on Instagram all day inhibits these human aspects that we so vitally need to function well.

What constitutes too much will need to be decided by them. But it’s your job to ensure they are not spending so much time on social media that it has an adverse affect on their lives.

Encourage them to find their niche and double down on it

Neil Patel talks about this in his recent video.

There are literally millions of Influencers today. But how do you stand out?

While most Influencers post selfies, and don’t add much value to their lives of their followers, what can your Influencer do to differentiate themselves?

Once you find that USP, and it’s working, double down on it.

Encourage responsibility

The discussion around to what extent Influencers have greater responsibility than the rest of us, is a tricky one. My view is that anyone in a public position who is able to Influence large swathes of people has greater responsibility, whether they like it or not.

But my point isn’t so much about the types of messages they put out publicly, but also how they conduct themselves privately. For example, an Influencer who takes no care in the types of DMs they send, will often feel the repercussions later, when there is an exposé, or someone from the opposite gender comes out and complains about abusive or manipulative behaviour.

Influencers must take responsibility publicly and privately if they want to maintain their brand image.

Conclusion

Being a manager requires a type of mental strength, thick skin, the ability to deal with different personalities and even recognising that, at times, the Influencer’s parents may call you!

Make sure you underpromise and overdeliver. Don’t guarantee an Influencer the world, because you’ll most likely be setting yourself up for failure.

While it’s great to be responsive, it’s more realistic to set times for when you can deal with the requests of the Influencer.

The key is to build trust and for them to know you are working on their short term goals as well as long term vision. If you can demonstrate that you have their back, even during periods where money dries up, they will still have faith in you.

Good luck!

What’s one tip you feel is important when managing an Influencer? Comment below.

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