As the online presence of influencers continues to grow, so do the blurred lines between paid and organic content. To combat this, countries are quickly grasping the importance of introducing new regulations in this landscape. Recently in Australia, the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) made an amendment to its rules to include social influencers.
While the below regulations are specific to Australia, they can be used as general guidelines when thinking about influencers. Make sure you know your local regulations and laws before you get started.
An influencer isn’t determined by follower base
If you are engaging and transacting with anyone – whether it be a social influencer, a celebrity or a thought leader – to convey a message on behalf of your business, they need to disclose that the campaign has been paid for.
Payment isn’t restricted to money
Consider you have a business that sells candy bars, you send out free samples to a few influencers asking them to post about how much they love the bar and encourage them to use your hashtag. This exchange – candy bar for content – is considered a form of payment and the influencer must disclose the compensation.
You don’t have to put a # on it
There are over 3.5 million #ad tags globally on Instagram posts. However, it’s not always absolutely necessary. If the copy makes it obvious that the influencer was paid, or is speaking on behalf of the brand and the post is not misleading to the target audience, then you’re in the clear. To be safe, the use of #ad is an effective way to disclose the partnership.
These are no longer just suggestions for good marketing
This point is rather self-explanatory, these are no longer unwritten rules, they are now regulations around the world. A single complaint or breach of regulation can initiate a formal process. The case can be reported to the Advertising Standards Bureau and be further escalated to media proprietors and appropriate government agencies.
What if the Influencer goes rogue?
If there is a breach of contract because the influencer used unscripted copy or negatively posted about the brand without proactive notification, they can be prosecuted under the new regulations. A contract should always be drafted and reviewed together so that both parties are aware that if it is breached, the influencer can be fined up to $220,000.
For any additional information on the AANA regulation amendments they can be found here.