There’s no doubting that Influencer marketing presents a huge opportunity for businesses. With 96% of us trusting people over brands, Influencer marketing has the power to leverage word of mouth marketing at scale and sway the consumer decision process.
But with such power also comes a high level of responsibility for the consumer. As Influencer marketing becomes more and more popular, so do the questions surrounding its disclosure laws.
The Kardashians recently found themselves in hot water after failing to disclose sponsored ads on their social accounts. In the US, sponsored posts must be clearly labelled as advertising, but the ladies failed to do so on over 100 Instagram posts.
The incident has raised some questions surrounding the Australian disclosure laws and guidelines. Are we required to add #spon or #ad to every sponsored post like in the US?
Although it is strongly recommended, we are not obliged by law to disclose a sponsored post. Instead, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) outline that testimonials and reviews must not mislead or deceive, and those who promote products or services must have a genuine connection to the business.
Late in 2014, Australia Post ran into trouble over the use of Influencer endorsements. In this incident, the choice of Influencers engaged to promote the postal service were deemed unlikely to have genuine connections to the business. Since then, it’s no surprise that the Australian brands leading the influencer marketing game are those engaging influencers who are genuinely interested in what their brand has to offer.
As Influencer marketing in Australia continues to grow, it will be interesting to see how disclosure laws will play a part – particularly as we see the rise of ephemeral platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram stories. While it’s easy to monitor Twitter, Facebook and Instagram captions, private Snapchat accounts and short-lived Instagram stories will be harder to regulate.
Will we follow the US and pass a law across all platforms? Or will it remain in the hands of the Influencer and brands? We’d love to hear your thoughts and predictions in the comments below.
About the author
Victoria Harrison is the founder of The Exposure Co., an Australian Influencer Marketing agency that helps brands identify and build effective relationships with influential Australian Instagrammers.