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Thinking of using social media influencers? Read this first

Thinking of using social media influencers? Read this first

A couple of months back we wrote about some of the changes occurring in the realm of ‘social media influencers’. Well, since then, the drama has kept coming!

Late last month, New Zealand’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld four complaints about Instagram posts made by Simone Anderson, one of New Zealand’s highest profile social media influencers. The complaints related to posts that Anderson had made promoting products and services without any indication that her endorsements were part of a commercial relationship between Anderson and the brands.

This is a big deal because, until now, the ASA had not made any rulings in the social influencer space. In doing so for this case, it sets a precedent that brands who are considering using social media influencers should take heed of.

We believe this is just one more reason why brands looking to use influencers in their social media marketing should take a cautious approach. With that in mind, here are our golden rules for working with social media influencers: 

  1. Be transparent: Insist that the influencer makes your commercial relationship with them clear in any posts endorsing your brand – if you are paying them to promote your products or services, they must use the hashtags like #sponsored and #ad
  2. Do your research: Before you approach an influencer (or, as soon as they approach you), check them out on social to make sure their values and beliefs fit with those of your brand. Look at their recent and historic posts.
  3. Don’t assume that bigger is better: Some of New Zealand’s ‘big name’ influencers have embarrassingly low engagement rates on their posts, or a large number of followers based overseas (not useful if you only sell domestically)
  4. Always go for authenticity: We see many influencers trying to maximise their income by promoting as many brands as they can. Only work with those individuals who genuinely love your product and service and align themselves with a small handful of reputable brands.
  5. Agree on your payment terms: Make sure you both understand when you will be paying them, how and (obviously!) how much. If you are gifting product, you may want to specify how this is used by your chosen influencer/s (for example, can they choose to resell these items at a later date?)
  6. Get it in writing: It’s best-practice to always have a signed contract where you both agree on the aforementioned (and other relevant) terms.
  7. Think about the questions: Hopefully the influencer’s content will generate plenty of interest. Who is going to respond to questions from their followers? Always be prepared on your stance with managing critical comments, too.

Image: Photo by Amanda Vick on Unsplash 

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