Ep 40: Influencer Responsibilities - The Legal Paige

Ep 40: Influencer Responsibilities

Podcast

Influencer responsibility is an incredibly interesting topic to discuss because we all follow social media accounts that have thousands, if not millions of followers, and as consumers of social media its good to know the legalities behind this type of work. Our online world now actually allows being an influencer to be a full time job, and since the world of “influencers” is so new, there is not a lot of regulations or law enforcing the conduct for these accounts. After my Instagram stories went viral at the end of December 2019, this episode goes over what all went down, my reactions to it, and my thoughts on how influencers can do better next time and how consumers can play an active role in changing laws surrounding online giveaways.




Things we talked about:

  • What exactly happened on December 23rd, 2019 on my Instagram stories and how it went viral.
  • What is an “Influencer” and what types of laws apply to them?
  • Who or what Agencies regulate these types of accounts?
  • How, as an influencer, you can protect your business.

Here are a few quotes:

  • (17:27) “Here’s the big issues with this giveaway in a nutshell: they were not clear on Instagram with how to enter to win by the end of their giveaways (specifically days 6-13). They never said that “liking and sharing” wasn’t enough. They did not link their official rules in their bio for people to easily access throughout the month. They did not explain on Instagram stories that there were more steps to enter. They still haven’t made a statement to the public taking responsibility for anything. They just keep saying these are “gifts” that are not typical giveaways that you see on social media and that they are intentional about who they choose. ”
  • (20:23) “An influencer is a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. They have access to a LARGE audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach.”
  • (20:57) “People purchase things based on their endorsements or use of certain products. This is WHY BRANDS reach out to these people to “partner” with them and then, in turn, the influencer makes MONEY off of promoting those partner products. A CBS article noted that “Mega influencers” as the world of social media often refers to them as, with a million or more followers can earn up to $250,000 per social media post.”
  • (21:42) “The main thing to note, is that the more INFLUENCE (followers, shares, engagement, etc.) a person has, the more VALUABLE that influencer is to other companies who want them to sponsor their products or services.”
  • (22:50) ” So the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) regulates that any sponsorships or partnerships (financial, employment, personal, or family relationship with a brand) must be disclosed. The FTC requires any influencer with a material connection to the brand, clearly and obviously disclose that material connection ANY and EVERY time they promote the product. It’s that simple. Advertising should be truthful and NOT misleading. And the FTC can fine you if you’re not.”
  • (34:50) “Being OPEN, HONEST, AND TRANSPARENT , will serve you so well! If you’re an influencer out there listening in, I really hope you take that to heart!”
  • (38:11) “If you’re an influencer of ANY kind, know that you have POWER. And with that power, to your audience, comes responsibility.”

Links mentioned:

FTC Disclosures for Influencers: https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/plain-language/1001a-influencer-guide-508_1.pdf

Example of a Department of Commerce/Consumer Protection Website from Montana: https://app.doj.mt.gov/apps/oscar/default.aspx

Folks Mentioned:

Jillian Harris: https://www.instagram.com/jillian.harris/?hl=en

Jenna Kutcher: https://www.instagram.com/jennakutcher/?hl=en

Trena Little: https://www.trenalittle.com/

References:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/influencer-marketing-fraud-costs-companies-1-3-billion/

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2017/04/ftc-staff-reminds-influencers-brands-clearly-disclose

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2019/03/operators-sweepstakes-scam-will-forfeit-30-million-settle-ftc

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/media-resources/truth-advertising

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/media-resources/truth-advertising/protecting-consumers

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/blogs/business-blog/2017/09/three-ftc-actions-interest-influencers

https://www.ftc.gov/about-ftc/bureaus-offices/bureau-consumer-protection


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