Social Media & Media Law: What Influencers Need to Know
Are you an influencer? Should you display #AD? Are you confused by the new ASA Rules?
In recent years, we have witnessed the rise of the social media influencer. Social media influencers have established strong social media platforms with thousands of followers, which provide power to influence or persuade audiences to buy certain products or services.
However this rise has been accompanied with new rules which can leave influencers at risk of fines or sanctions.
New legalisation can also affect businesses collaborating with influencers. You might want to use an influencer to promote your product/service. But if you do, it’s wise to make sure they are complying with the rules otherwise this could rub off negatively on you and damage your brand.
In this article, Commercial Lawyer Samantha Oakley explores these new rules to help you navigate through any legal challenges and maximise on your opportunities.
What are the rules?
In recent months the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has been clamping down on influencers advertising products on social media.
The rules apply when a brand ‘pays’ you to promote, endorse or review (i.e. advertise) their products or service, including if you are a brand ambassador or when you are doing ‘affiliate marketing’.
In this case payment can include free products or services given or loaned to you – even if given to you as freebies without you asking.
The rules also apply to any competitions, prize promotions or giveaways you may be asked to take part in.
You need to take extra care if advertising alcohol, gambling, food or supplements.
Why do I need to do this?
Recently prominent influencers such as Vicky Pattison, Georgia May, Nikki Ryan and Francesca Allen have all been found to be in breach of the rules.
Non-compliance can result in fines and/or being subject to extra scrutiny and sanctions.
What do I have to do?
You now have to make it clear and obvious in your posts, videos and other content that you have been paid to promote a brand’s products or services. It is all about being upfront with your followers.
The best way to do this is to include #AD, #Advert or #Advertising (although it isn’t compulsory to use the hashtag and you can’t use a # as a way of burying the message). In addition, you can also use the ‘Paid Partnership’ tool on Instagram.
If you are promoting, endorsing or reviewing products or services via your vlogs you may need to actually say that you are being ‘paid’ to do this.
If you are encouraging your followers to click on any links you also need to make it obvious that this is you advertising others’ products or services before they click.
How do I make compliant content?
Essentially it is all about complying with consumer laws which require you to be fair, honest, open and transparent with people.
We understand that there is a balance to be had between being legally compliant with the rules and still making content that is relevant for you and your followers; but please get in touch with us to have a chat about how we can help you with this.
For more information regarding Commercial & Corporate Legal Services, visit Healys LLP‘s website.
A friend of mine is an influencer, who once had over a million followers, however on the platform they achieved this feat, they were told by the social networking site that as they are not a brand and that they were in violation of their rules and deleted my friends account. Although my friend indeed did not own a brand they were trying to build one. Could you please kindly advise, even in general terms or pointing us towards the relevant laws governing such matters, this would be greatly appreciated.
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