As influencers reign over social media and build followings the size of a small city, some wedding professionals are starting to see opportunities to collaborate and position their brand in front of a significant audience of new leads. When influencers and content creators get engaged and begin planning weddings, they’re quick to share every detail on their platform—from dress shopping to cake tasting; they take their audience along for the ride.
However, there hasn’t been much discussion about how a wedding pro should handle requests from influencers if approached—or, more importantly, how they can protect their businesses. Done right, you can certainly get a return on investment. But, if not managed properly, it’s easy to get burned with no chance for recourse.
So, what’s a wedding pro to do? Here are the best practices to keep in mind when considering a partnership with an influencer of any size.
Ask for compensation.
Don’t be shy. You can ask for money! It doesn’t matter who reaches out or how much influence they have—you should not go into debt to do a wedding. While influencer collaborations can be fantastic opportunities for publicity, it has to be worth your while. You may consider discounting labor rates at your discretion, but you shouldn’t be eating the hard cost of goods. If an influencer truly wants to work with you, they will see your value.
Know their audience.
You might get an idea of who a content creator targets through their social media feed, but a great influencer will be able to give you real insights into their audience. They know their followers and should be ready to provide you with demographic information—geographic locations, age ranges, relationship statuses, and so on.
Do not say yes to an agreement until you’ve seen this data and confirm that the audience aligns with your marketing goals. For example, if you are based in the Pacific Northwest, it does you no good to work with an influencer whose audience is primarily on the East Coast—even if they have hundreds of thousands of followers.
Be sure their content fits your brand.
You won’t be a match with every influencer, even if your audience demographics align. You need to know where you are in business and stay true to your core values. Is the opportunity on-brand for your business, or will it push you away from what you’re known for in the industry?
As you review their content, be very mindful of the voice they use and the overall vibe they curate on their profiles. It’s OK if it’s not a fit—that just means you’re saving yourself the trouble of committing to a project that would likely return little on your investment.
Check engagement rates.
Thanks to ever-changing social media algorithms, engagement rates have become more important than follower counts. Having millions of followers does little if you can’t engage with the audience, so make sure to check out their engagement rates.
I recommend using an online tool like grin.co, so you don’t have to worry about the math. Simply type in the handle, and the program will generate data like follower counts, engagement rates, popular content, and so on. Look for an engagement rate that falls in the 2-3 percent range or higher—4-6 percent is considered viral content, so keep those numbers in mind as you research.
Create an ironclad contract.
Too many times, influencers have been known for taking a product or service without properly promoting it. If there is no clear contract in place, you’re left to recoup the losses. You must protect yourself and your business!
In your contract, list absolutely everything involved in the campaign—how many posts are expected, when they should be posted, who should be credited, whether they are static posts or video Stories, and how they should tag you. I would recommend having your handle included in the photo and the caption.
Also, consider exclusivity—ideally, you are the only vendor of your specialty working the event. If that’s not stated in the contract, you may be sorely surprised to find someone else showing up on the event day. You may also want to include a clause that gives you approval rights over the photographer (if it’s not you). Quality of content is crucial, and you want to be able to use these images, so an amateur or even a professional that doesn’t match your aesthetic won’t fly.
While influencer relationships can be quite lucrative and help to grow your business in front of new audiences, these are not partnerships to enter quickly or take lightly. So before signing anything, sit down and flesh out what the event will look like, what it will cost you to produce, and what you need to get out of it for an acceptable return on investment.