Legal Influencer Marketing in the UK
Influencer marketing is a well-established form of advertising that has been revived and refreshed in the last decade. Following the explosion of social media, most relevant revenues have turned to influencer marketing. If your venue is one of the many brands engaging in this strategy, you should make sure that your venue is engaging in legal influencer marketing.
Staying within the legal framework while competing in a global market takes work. In order to get the most return-on-investment for the least amount of expenditure, you need to make sure you’re informed on how to legally integrate influencer marketing.
Know Your ASA and Cap Governing Bodies
Every manager should be familiar with these two regulatory bodies in the UK. They are the equivalent to the Federal Trade Commission in the US and the Australian Association of National Advertisement down under. If you are trying to raise brand awareness and engage customers within the UK or internationally, you need to be aware of how these organizations regulate influencer marketing.
The codes laid out by the regulators are often pretty similar. The following links will help clarify the legal requirements of influencer endorsements:
What is the most important thing to keep in mind?
The overriding theme of all these guidelines is disclosure. This is the most important factor for any manager who works with influencers. It will be your first and best defence against legal uncertainty when you create any marketing strategy. In local, international and global advertising campaigns, legal influencer marketing relies entirely on disclosure.
The codes are very clear on this necessity, and agencies are increasingly policing influencers who post endorsements for venues. Disclosure in this context means direct and visible information. Hiding an endorsement in a string of links, captioned text or not mentioning at all can lead to cases like that of the 2014 Oreo Lick Race. The UK firm Mondelez and their YouTube influencers faced an official warning after failing to state that their endorsements were paid for. In this digital age, negative media exposure can be just as expensive as material legal consequences. Make sure not to lose the trust and goodwill of your audience by failing to stick to legal guidelines.
US and Australian advertising guidelines also highlight the importance of disclosure. If you are planning an international marketing campaign, you should be familiar with as many international marketing codes as possible. Even if your influencers are not paid in cash, you must still clearly state that they are being compensated for their endorsements.
For example, an American influencer must disclose their reimbursement if they are receiving free goods and services worth more than $600 in return for their promotions. In order to avoid legal recpurcsusions, brands must report this information to the US Internal Revenue Service. As long as you stay on top of changing guidelines and communicate appropriately with your influencers, your business can avoid any legal conflict.
Legal influencer marketing and the #hashtag
Following legal influencer marketing guidelines can be as simple as using a #hashtag. All of the UK, Australian and US legal codes require the use of hashtags in every post or endorsement made by influencers. It must be clearly visible in a place where consumers can notice it. Honesty is the key to a positive relationship with consumers. Ultimately, venues are responsible for the way in which influencers represent them. Brand loyalty and honesty go hand-in-hand. Keeping to legal guidelines also means maintaining the trust of your customers.
How we’ve address this
On every listing on Swayy you can set out not only the disclosure requirements, but also the specific hashtags you want them to use and by when you want this content shared by with those disclosure requirements. You can also tailor individual disclosure requirements for influencers in different markets (since requirements vary), and communicate this easily through Swayy chat.
By Angharad Miller