The influencer industry is stepping up its game! Yes, The Australian Influencer Marketing Council (AIMCO) released its first ever Influencer Marketing Code of Practice last week.
We see this as a really important step, and obviously so does AIMCO, to building greater trust and transparency within the industry. Influencer marketing continues to grow in popularity both globally and in Australia, so we are all for regulating it.
That said, we checked in with AIMCO when they released it earlier this month and they confirmed it’s not going to be policed just yet, it is more of an industry recommendation. Our guess is that the bigger brands will take the lead though and start implementing the guidelines regardless.
You can find the Code here. It’s quite a mouthful so we have summarised and answers some of the key points around disclosure and measurement for you:
What is the Code of Practice?
The Code of Practice provides guidance to any business engaging in influencer marketing. This means, if you’re asking any influencer to promote your brand in exchange for money or in return for ‘freebies’ you should get familiar with it. The Code goes into detail on the following areas:
- Transparency around influencer vetting practices
- Brand safety considerations
- Advertising disclosure requirements under Australian Consumer Law
- Ensuring appropriate briefs and contracts
- Importance of including content rights/IP within contracts
- Metrics and reporting transparency
When do you have to disclose ‘advertising’ with influencers?
Any form of advertising – and this includes using influencers to spruik a brand – must be in line with Australian Consumer Law (ACL) which has two fundamental rules relating to advertising:
- You must not engage in conduct that is likely to mislead or deceive
- You must not make false or misleading claims or statements
Advertising disclosure is required when there is a Contracted Engagement. A Contracted Engagement includes any verbal, email documentation, digital or other documents that defines an engagement between an influencer and client/provider/brand. It includes:
- Any transaction with financial payment
- Value-In-Kind/gifts/free products so, anything you’re sending an influencer i.e. comped value amounts for an experience and send outs
I invite influencers into my restaurant and comp their meal in exchange for them to post, does it apply?
Sure does. As above, if there’s any form of communication between you and the influencer – verbal, email, direct messages, digital or other – about coming in to eat in exchange for a post, then you are entering into a Contracted Engagement under Australian Consumer Law (ACL). That law states that Advertising disclosure is required in that circumstance.
I send influencers my products as gifts but don’t tell them they have to post – if they do that’s a bonus. Does it apply to me?
This sounds like it would escape the Code if you are merely sending products as a total surprise with absolutely no expectation or communication about posting at all. You must have a damn good gifting budget to be sending out pressies with no ROI strategy!
How should an influencer ‘disclose’ it?
Across any platform that uses hashtags (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok) you should include a partnership disclosure in the form of #Ad or #Sponsored as a minimum.
There are additional hashtags that can be included, but cannot be used instead of the above tags. These include:
- Client requested # such as #brandname, #campaign etc.
What if the influencer I’m working with doesn’t disclose it on their post?
As the brand or business that engaged the influencer, you are responsible for ensuring your brand or business is following the rules. You should stipulate the disclosure in the influencer agreement at the beginning of the collaboration/Contracted Agreement.
What if an influencer posts about my brand or business and I didn’t ask them to – do they need to disclose?
Nope. As long as you don’t enter int that Contracted Agreement anyone can share the brand love freely.
Phew! It’s a lot to take in but great to be across if this is a marketing channel you currently work in or are thinking of working in.