For brands, working with social media influencers can be tricky. The primary goal of influencer marketing is to engage influential people to share your brand’s story and promote your products in a humanizing and relatable way. But it’s not as easy as it used to be. Thanks to the growth — and success — of new-age marketing, brands can no longer just find an influencer, tag #ad to the branded post and watch their numbers grow. There are now rules and regulations to social media marketing. If you’re considering partnering up with a local celeb, famous athlete, fashionista or mommy blogger, here are a few things you should know:
While social media does not fall under traditional advertising like TV spots, print ads and billboards, these Federal Trade Commission rules still apply.
- Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive
When working with influencers, this is critical. While you want influencers to share positive feedback on your brand and products, it’s important to ensure they’re giving honest reviews based on real experiences. This is the responsibility of both the influencer and the brand.
- Advertisers must have evidence to back their claims
The burden of proof falls on your brand. Before an influencer can tell their followers about the benefits of your product, there must be evidence to support these claims. For example, when an influencer tells their thousands of followers that XYZ shoes help with posture, XYZ needs to be able to prove that their shoes do in fact improve posture.
- Advertisements cannot be unfair
If an influencer promotes a product and its benefits but it comes with likely injury that outweighs the benefits, it’s unfair. That means that if XYZ shoes improve posture but are also likely to affect foot circulation causing permanent damage, the advertising of the product is unfair.
In recent years, platforms like Instagram and Twitter have uncovered many fake accounts run by automated bots that boost the number of followers. When choosing an influencer to work with, it is important to know if their followers are real and/or what percentage are fake accounts. If not, brands may end up paying a pretty penny just to advertise to robots.
Aside from bots, engagement pods are another way for social media users to boost their follower count and engagement. These pods are made up of users who agree to follow each other’s accounts and engage with one another’s posts. While engagement pods boost social media metrics, they are hollow numbers since pod users are mindlessly liking and commenting.
Brands need to be hyper-vigilant about the messaging they promote and the influencers they partner with. For a deeper look into social media and influencer marketing, check out this post.