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The Delicate Balance This Talent Agency Maintains To Succeed In The Influencer Space

Megan Johnston’s boutique talent management agency, TheInfluencerPA, is thriving in the influencer marketing industry by taking an intentionally small and personalized approach. She prides herself on offering white-glove, 360-degree management by being a single point of contact who responds quickly to both talent and brands. 

Her key differentiators are curating unique partnership opportunities tailored to each creator’s niche and prioritizing engagement metrics over follower counts. While deftly navigating ever-shifting algorithms and new platform popularities like TikTok, Megan stresses the importance of maintaining an authentic brand identity rather than trend-chasing. 

From Side Hustle to Boutique Agency: Megan’s Passion Project Blossoms

The entrepreneur founded her agency in 2018 in London. What started as a side gig assisting influencers while working at fashion companies has blossomed into Megan’s passion project.

“It wasn’t like I had a goal at that point to be a management agency and to be successful, it was just something that I really fell into and then have grown from that point,” she says of the agency’s humble beginnings.

Though just a one-woman shop for the first three years, TheInfluencerPA has seen significant growth while maintaining an intentionally small, family-oriented approach. “The main thing about being principal is that it stays boutique and it stays small, and it stays like a family feel,” Megan explains. “My talents are with me because they want to be managed by me, and they only want to be passed around to manager after manager with this big kind of agency.”

The talent agent prides herself on offering full-service, 360-degree management tailored to each influencer’s needs. “We offer everything – shared calendars, tracking brand deals, lining up commercial opportunities, invoicing,” she says. “It’s my job to have great relationships with PR agencies and brands and manage any inbound organic requests.”

The services go far beyond just Instagram sponsorships. “We’ve done Penguin Random House book deals, BBC radio segments – we want our talent to have big commercial opportunities that go far, far beyond [Instagram],” Megan states.

While scaling the business from a solo operation, she has been careful not to overextend. “The biggest challenge is not scaling too fast…I’ve had plenty of opportunities to scale this business far beyond what it is now. I’ve seen agencies decline because they take on so many talents and can’t manage them effectively.”

The industry vet cites close relationships as the most rewarding aspect of the creator economy. “All my talents have become virtually my best friends and family,” she says, explaining the great responsibility of managing someone’s full-time income and career trajectory. “Seeing them grow as individuals and in their careers has been the biggest and proudest thing to be a part of.”

Cultivating Personal Connections

For Megan, staying boutique and offering a highly personalized approach is key to attracting and retaining talent at TheInfluencerPA. “The biggest thing is being so personalized, being just me—I am the strategy,” she says. I am why people want to be managed by me. They get me 24/7, immediate responses, emails answered right away.”

Megan believes this close relationship and constant communication are her main differentiator. “If I want to scale too fast, it’s not the right strategy for the business,” she explains. “It’s remaining small and boutique but still providing the same opportunities as the bigger agencies.”

According to Megan, this personalized strategy also extends to facilitating meaningful brand partnerships for her influencer clients. She’s spent years cultivating relationships with brands and PR agencies. “You are nowhere without those relationships – checking in, getting coffee, going to meetings. It makes all the difference in an oversaturated industry.”

Her reputation for fast responsiveness and smooth facilitation prompts brands to come directly to her. “I have an incredible contact list now with probably every brand you can imagine,” Megan says. “One of my favorite things is taking on new talent, getting their dream partnership wishlist, and making it happen. Having that ability is the biggest joy.”

While offering white-glove service, Megan also counsels clients to focus on engagement over follower counts and find an authentic niche. “Everyone needs a unique selling point to make their mark. Having a small, highly engaged audience that trusts you is far more valuable.”

Overcoming Industry Challenges and Navigating Algorithm Changes

While Megan’s boutique approach allows for personalized service, she acknowledges the influencer marketing industry faces some inherent challenges. Chief among them is the unpredictable, ever-changing nature of social media algorithms.

“You can’t really predict what the algorithm is going to do,” she states. “No one can understand that fully. It’s important that talents adapt, but it’s also not their fault if engagement drops or things change.”

As new platforms like TikTok rise in popularity, Megan encourages her clients to embrace them for potential brand opportunities. However, she stresses the importance of creators maintaining an authentic niche.

“Stay in your lane and don’t do what everyone else is doing. The biggest brand deals I’ve had are from talents doing their own unique thing, not copying trends.”

Megan analyzes each client’s content performance to identify patterns that can help counteract algorithm shifts. “Looking at the best posting times, highest engagement times, and content types performing well is key since that’s really all you can look at to manage the algorithm.”

Another major hurdle is the inconsistent workload cycle inherent to the influencer economy. Busy periods ebb and flow, creating income instability for Megan’s talents.

“It’s a huge pressure when they text me with no jobs lined up,” she admits. “I’m always doing outreach, but it’s not a consistent stream of opportunities. That’s just how this industry is.”

For many creators, influencing is their full-time livelihood. “Not having a reliable income is definitely something they struggle with. Managing money gets really difficult when the workload fluctuates so much.”

Through it all, Megan strives to secure top-tier partnerships while counseling talents on establishing a niche, navigating platforms, and handling the profession’s volatility. It’s a delicate balance, but one she is passionate about maintaining with a personal touch.

The Rise of AI and Protecting the Personal Touch

As the influencer marketing industry evolves, Megan sees artificial intelligence as a potential double-edged sword that could significantly impact talent management.

“AI has already had a huge effect and will continue to have a bigger impact going forward,” the seasoned manager says. “Brands and PR agencies are now using AI to analyze talents’ demographics and audience fit, taking away the personal relationship aspect of this job, which is really quite sad.”

While AI can be a valuable tool for tasks like content creation and caption writing, Megan worries about becoming too powerful a gatekeeper. “It gets to the point where it stops taking out that direct talking to brands and the reasoning behind who gets picked for campaigns,” she laments. “Then I don’t know how to explain to talents why they weren’t selected.”

Megan has even heard of AI tools leading to staffing cuts on the brand side as companies adopt them for strategy and outreach. This increasing reliance on automation runs counter to her boutique agency’s personalized approach.

“That’s why staying small is so important to me,” she states firmly. “I never want to be like other agencies that let technology hinder their reputation and personal relationships. Keeping that human touch is key for brands wanting to work with me.”

As AI’s role expands, Megan remains laser-focused on facilitating authentic connections—both for her talents’ success and her agency’s longevity in a shifting landscape.

Cecilia Carloni, Interview Manager at Influence Weekly and writer for NetInfluencer. Coming from beautiful Argentina, Ceci has spent years chatting with big names in the influencer world, making friends and learning insider info along the way. When she’s not deep in interviews or writing, she's enjoying life with her two daughters. Ceci’s stories give a peek behind the curtain of influencer life, sharing the real and interesting tales from her many conversations with movers and shakers in the space.

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