How To Make Friends, Influence People – and Obey the Rules

How To Make Friends, Influence People – and Obey the Rules

3rd October, 2017 by Grace Oliver

We all know, influencers are a BIG DEAL.

By working with influencers, you can get your brand’s name out there, reaching what can often be a huge audience – and one that is both engaged and trusting of the influencer’s opinion of the goods or services that you’re offering.

Better still, working with influencers can be a cost-effective way of reaching your target audience, in comparison with traditional advertising.

As Editor in Chief of PR Week Danny Rogers put it at a recent PR industry briefing: “I believe that the influencer phenomenon is the third age of the internet.” Told you – BIG DEAL.

But as working with influencers on campaigns becomes ever more mainstream, how we can ensure that the influencer community is regulated in the same ways as traditional consumer advertising?

Firstly, we all need to be clear on when an ad is… well…an ad. Have you paid your chosen influencer to post about your brand? Have you had a say in what they will post? Then you’ve got yourself an ad my friend.

But what if you send an influencer a gift, no strings attached, and they post a glowing review, telling all of their followers about your amazing brand? Well, with no payment, no control of messaging, and an organic review, then it classifies as editorial.

And what about that all-important hashtag? When working with influencers, it’s essential to ensure they are making it clear to their followers that they are working with a brand. Disclosure must be immediately obvious – and in no circumstances should the disclosure be hidden, or on a separate page which you have to click through to.

So is #ad or #spon the one for you? In our opinion, #spon can be ambivalent, implying sponsorship rather than payment, so always best to stick with #ad. That way everyone’s covered!

The Advertising Standards Agency is unequivocal about the rules governing such posts – it insists responsibility for adherence primarily lies with the brand and the agency, not individual influencers, but rules will be enforced at every level.

It’s also becoming more and more apparent that the influencer community is starting to self-monitor, calling each other out when they spot their peers not disclosing payment. So, with the ASA and rival influencers all on the lookout, it’s more important than ever to make sure the influencers you work with are operating within the rules – you’ve been warned!