How to manage your relationship with social media

10:17 AM, 2 July 2019

Navigating your obligations in this new form

Over the past few years, activity with social media has continued to increase, and brands are increasingly using social media influencers to assist the promotion of their products.

Through paid promotions, influencers and celebrities post and advertise on a business’s behalf – effectively increasing their outreach.

Celebrities and micro-influencers alike have the reputation of your brands in their hands – once your brand is passed over to them to promote.

While the allure of social media advertising is understandable in marketer’s minds, the industry is facing a challenge and brands can be at risk both in terms of regulatory compliance and reputation.

The issue with influencers

Brands face backlash from influencers’ failure to comply with social media regulations


Following the glamorous musical festival failure that was ‘Fyre’, businesses’ inability to correctly manage their relationship with influencers and social media marketing has been brought to light.

The shambled festival became the subject of a Netflix documentary, but it’s not the only case where influencers have caused chaos. There are many other cringe-worthy, offensive, or just plain embarrassing mistakes made by influencers in the name of brands.

Without confidence in tackling the use of social media influencers and celebrities, businesses are losing control over the powerful marketing strategy of social media influence – and becoming poorly represented.

A call for stronger regulation


Regulators from around the world are focusing on the relationship between brands and influencers, asking whether paid influencing is misleading consumers. This began in the US, where the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) introduced rules requiring influencers to clearly reveal brand endorsements in their posts.

In some cases, it’s been found that social media influencers and celebrities have been incorrectly endorsing products, and not being honest about the pay they are receiving. This reflects poorly on the integrity behind both the influencer, and the brand involved.

Andrea Conscelli from CMA has highlighted:

“Influencers can have a huge impact on what their fans decide to buy. People could, quite rightly, feel misled if what they thought was a recommendation from someone they admired turns out to be a marketing ploy.

You should be able to tell as soon as you look at a post if there is some form of payment or reward involved, so you can decide whether something is really worth spending your hard-earned money on.”

As a result, the CMA have made an order for social media influencers and celebrities to be more transparent when posting online, and the investigated celebrities have made a pledge to do so. This means all influencers are to clearly state when they have been paid to advertise or endorse a brand or product.

New Zealand’s regulators have not yet focused on influencers. However, the responsibilities outlined under the Fair Trading Act and the ASA’s Advertising Standards Code apply in New Zealand just as equally as they do overseas.

It’s important to learn how to control and manage your relationships with influencers.


A way forward: learn how to manage your relationship with social media influence


In order to protect the authenticity and honesty, brand should be taking control of their relationships with social media influence rs and celebrities. This means providing clear contracts and being strict around any way in which the influencers refer to your brand.

To help you navigate your relationship with influencers, here are some key points to consider:

Influencer contracts are not the same as other talent contracts.
Social talent are not just paid actors, they are also media owners. Contracts for your talent should not be re-used for influencers – the contract for an influencer in an entirely different territory.

● There is difference between celebrity influencers and micro-influencers.
It’s important to understand that their differences should be reflected in their contracts. While celebrity influencers require more detailed contracts, micro-influencers still require them – just a lighter version. They should cover both parties and ensure commercial discipline.

Influencers should agree not to do anything that causes “adverse publicity” .
You should also be ensuring you have the ability to walk away in the event of a negative event. Limits on liability may need to be approached differently to other commercial contracts, with limits on the talent, instead of the company.

What should your contracts with social media influencers include:


1. Materials and usage rights.
It’s important to know you can’t own everything. You should expect to agree to usage rights for the use of material, but still specify the period of usage and its territory. You also need to consider what happens on termination of the contract – and whether or not material needs to be taken down.

2. Clauses dealing directly with content labeling.
The ASA outlines rules surrounding influencer’s content labeling (for example, #ad, #advert). However media platforms have their own guidance, so it’s important to provide your brand’s expectations of how they are promoting you, and being clear with the paid promotion behind it.

3. Clauses outlining what your brand expects of the influencer.
These clauses need to be clear in what the brand expects in regard to fake followers, and fake likes. The nature of social media use means that influencers can ‘buy’ their following, so it’s crucial to outline your brands expectations on the influencers reach and authenticity.

What’s important for you to know? Social media influence insurance is also becoming available in New Zealand.

As the appeal of social media influence rs continues to grow, brands must be careful about where they stand. It’s also worth considering the With any new facet of the advertising industry, it requires clear rules, regulations and guidelines in order to maintain fairness and transparency for all.

At ANZA we like to inform and guide members about their brand marketing. Get in touch if you need help managing your relationship with social media influencers.

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