The business of influence is professionalization. Content creators sign with major talent agencies. In February, SAG-AFTRA, the largest union in the entertainment industry, expanded coverage to include people who create sponsored content. And now a new service wants to make it easier for developers to apply to work with brands and companies to hire them.
“We created an easy way for brands to create a careers page for influencers,” said James Nord, 36, the founder and CEO of Fohr. “It enables people to apply, pull data from their social platforms, and provides an easy way for brands to recruit, analyze, and collaborate with influencers.”
More than 50 brands, including Dyson, Costco, American Eagle, Lilly Pulitzer and Sephora, use Fohr’s Ambassador Management Platform (AMP) to find talent. These companies pay Fohr to set up custom career pages where online developers can apply to work with brands.
“At American Eagle, influencer marketing is arguably the most important thing we do,” said Craig Brommers, the company’s chief marketing officer. “We have a young demo, 15 to 25 years old. Social media is their oxygen and especially during the pandemic. “
Small developers often negotiate brand partnerships through personal connections or direct messages on platforms like Instagram. Mr Brommers said American Eagle is inundated with direct messages on social media from people who want to work with them; AMP, which prompts users to answer questions about their content style and interests, has helped the company better identify people who are passionate about American Eagle and have a following.
“On our part, we’re trying to find authentic relationships rather than pay-to-play,” said Brommers.
Mr Nord hopes that AMP can make it easier for any creator to partner up, regardless of their background or connections. “The industry is way too relational now,” he said. “You get jobs because you know someone who works for a brand. That’s not a fair way of organizing the industry. When brands launch these pages and have centralized spots for influencers to apply to, it becomes a lot fairer for anyone with a following to raise their hands and say I want to work with you. “
Content creators demand this type of standardization. Yinon Horwitz, a 35-year-old social media developer based in Miami, said he had spent hours earlier in his career chasing people on LinkedIn and reporting to the wrong companies because there was no clear place where he could see what they were looking for. “In the beginning it was hard to understand who was the right person in the brand, in the business, or in the agency to connect with and develop a relationship with,” he said.
“I think formalizing this is a great idea as both sides, the creator and the brand, are able to compare apples to apples,” he said. “From reading forms and getting a better understanding of the brand and their search, we sometimes understood that this is not the best solution.”
In the past few years, various business-to-business tools have attempted to assist companies in sourcing and partnering with influencers. There was an explosion of influencer marketing platforms in 2017 and 2018, where brands could source influencers for one-off deals. Due to the unregulated nature of the business, some who used these platforms went without pay.
Eleni McCready, Lilly Pulitzer’s senior director, branded media and community development, said she sees AMP as a step towards further professionalizing the industry and making the industry more competitive.
“It’s about removing things from social media, really legitimizing them, and saying, ‘Here’s a business tool that brands can use to attract new talent,” she said. “The beauty of being able to apply , is that there are incredible content creators out there that we may never see or that get buried in DMs if you don’t look for a few days. “
Mr. Nord hopes that as the industry uses AMP settings, companies will become leaner and clearer. “We hope influencers will start to have sophisticated brands that have this space and become something that brands need,” said Nord. “I don’t see a world where in a few years every brand will no longer have a tab for people to apply to work with.”