How can Influencers bounce back from a bad reputation they have recently gained? 0 949

Running for its third consecutive year, the Influencer Marketing Show has just wrapped up its two-day show in London, gathering a wide range of agencies, brands and content creators under the same roof.

At a period of time when 86% of people surveyed for a 2019 benchmark report (including brand managers and marketing agency professionals) admit they plan to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on influencers this year, it was no surprise that the recurrent topics evolved around influencer marketing transparency, specifically, considering how to best measure it based on recent cases of brands paying influencers to, unfortunately, get mainly ghost followers and fake engagement rates in return.

So, how can the real content creators, the ones that are working up to 12 hours a day to balance their clients’ demands and to produce genuine followers’ engagement, stand out when it comes to effective influencer marketing? Here, professionals share their views and tips.

Strategically work instead of work being simply transactional

“It is about encouraging influencers to be as transparent as possible, being totally open about what they can offer, about their KPIs. Influencers sometimes don’t want to connect their insights or disclose the full picture of their metrics. And, when it happens, this always elicits the question: Is there something that they are trying to hide?

Besides transparency, I believe that as we move towards 2020, it is about influencers and advertisers learning to work strategically, instead of transactionally. Content marketing is often very transactional, but influencer marketing goes beyond it.

Kim Westwood – founder of content market place Shoplinks.

Influencers should have a story

“I think it is all about storytelling. I always engage with people and talk about my own experiences. I think, first of all, you have to have a relevant story to subsequently be an influencer. You can’t be an influencer just by posting pictures of your outfits or pushing for consumerism, for people to buy something. Influencerism is more than that. It is about inspiring people, it is about having a story that matters and being able to answer questions like ‘Why are you doing what you do online?’, ‘How do you better yourself’? From the brand side, the company also have to always ask the right questions, starting from: ‘what do we really want to achieve with that campaign?’ ‘Does the influencer that we have in mind have a story that matches the direction that our brand wants to go?’, or ‘Does the influencer have the right demographic to help towards our campaign goals?’ Once these key questions are clearly outlined, it is easy to take it from there and to build a successful case for the right collaborations.

Arooj Aftab – Fashion Influencer and neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) advocate.

Get into a co-creation mode

“What we have seen a lot, from the influencer side, is their disregard for brand guidelines as a trade-off for favouring their aesthetic – they want to do their own content the way they always do it even when it is a paid piece. Of course, it is very important to let content creators express themselves freely because they know how to speak to their audiences but, on the other hand, if they are getting paid to communicate on behalf of a brand there is a need to get the right balance between money and creativity. If this balance is not established early on, then it can become problematic further down the line. What I recommend influencers to do is to get, from the very beginning, into a co-creation process, not just created in their own corner in an isolated manner. The very same thing applies to brands and their marketing agencies: don’t try to just impose your vision because collaborative content creation will thrive.”

William Soulier – CEO at influencer marketing platform Talent Village.

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Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, speaker and a Content Producer working with brands and publications in the UK and Latin America.

Social committee proposes EU regulation on influencers 0 86

Perceived by consumers as closer, more authentic and more trustable than traditional advertising or celebrity endorsement, content creators are attracting more brand investment than ever: in 2022 alone, influencer marketing spend jumped from 3.69 billion to 4.14 billion in the U.S., according to data released by American inbound marketing platform Hubspot. The amount of cash trading hands pushed authorities to set standards for the Influencer marketing industry early on. So much so that, in the USA, influencer marketing is considered regulated since 2009, when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published for the first time a set of endorsement guides on sponsored content posted by content creators on behalf of brands – including influencers being required to disclose their relationships with companies in a clear way.

Over to Europe, the rules are not as clear.

Unlike traditional advertising, which is subject to very strict rules, influencer advertising can fall through the cracks of ad disclosure. The commercial nature of influencer posts is not always identifiable, with ads featuring alongside similarly styled, but independent editorial content. Companies using influencers as ambassadors for their products and brands also have greater freedom than in conventional advertising.

Now the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), a consultative body of the European Union, is trying to reduce the lack of transparency often seen in influencer marketing by proposing that the EU should set specific obligations for both, the administrators of the video-sharing platforms and social media networks on which influencers operate, and for content creators and influencers themselves.

The basic principle of the proposal is that advertisers should leave consumers in no doubt that what they are engaging with is advertising. And they should not mislead consumers or cause serious offence.

“EU already has some mechanisms in place to deal with influencers, which are covered by legislation on both advertisers and sellers/traders. However, we think it would be desirable to have a comprehensive approach given the fast rise of this phenomenon.”, says Bernardo Hernández Bataller, a councilor of the European Economic and Social Committee since 1994. “We would need specific regulation to cover the rights and obligations of the people involved, so that all legal operators and consumers know exactly what is and what is not acceptable.”

Some Member States have gone it alone (France, Spain and the Belgian region of Flanders). But, accord to the recent proposal, a “hard core” of EU rules would be more effective. The EESC argues that it would leave no loopholes allowing different Member States to take a softer line.

The list of suggestions to be adopted by influencers in all 27 member states of the European Union includes it being mandatory for content creators to include a prominent label upfront to highlight that a post is a marketing communication. They would then be liable if they fail to make it sufficiently clear when they are being paid to endorse or promote a product or service.

The proposal highlights that platform administrators and social media networks should also be liable for content published by the content creators and influencers they host, as well as have an obligation to take down illegal content and report illegal activity.

Other issues surrounding influencer marketing featured throughout the report includes the frequent use of child influencers. Concerns regarding content creators as a trade and if their position should be covered by employment laws are also mentioned.

“What about the tax issues raised by influencer advertising? How should we tax influencer income and the profits influencers generate? How should we tax the added value they create?, asks Stefano Palmieri, co-rapporteur.

Even if approved, a new set of rules doesn’t necessary mean that brands and content creators will follow them. In France, in a study of 60 influencers and influencer agencies from January 2023, the French General Directorate of Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) showed that 60% did not respect the regulations on advertising and consumer rights.

And in the UK, compliance with labelling requirements when it comes to Influencer Marketing remains low. In 2021, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published an analysis of more than 24,000 Instagram Stories. Of the 5,700 it considered to be marketing material, nearly two-thirds were not clearly identifiable as such.

How is Coronavirus affecting content creators’ income? 0 642

It is official: we are four months into 2020, and a lot has changed since the last time content creators ventured out of their houses for a photoshoot, or to create a branded campaign from scratch.

From Asia to the USA, from Europe to Latin America, current travel restrictions and self-isolation recommendations mean that more people than ever before are working indoors, across all corners of the world, helping fight the spread of Covid-19.

So, how are influencers balancing life in quarantine, creativity restraints, and the loss of income generated by the global pandemic?

Matteo Castellotti – Ski instructor and blogger

Double Impact

“As a content creator and ski instructor, I have been doubly impacted because you need to be outdoors to carry out both activities, and, right now, it is not a possibility here in Italy.

It has been a month since the last time we were allowed out of the house properly, and the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus is worrying.

We try to remain courageous and support each other, but the truth is, we don’t know when all this will end, and life will be back to normal. Hopefully, everything will be resolved as soon as possible.”

Matteo Castellotti – Ski instructor and blogger

Renata Oliveira – Model and Lifestyle Influencer

Leveraging the Engagement Spike

“It affected me directly as I had worked with brands canceled, as well as a work trip carefully planned to take place during Easter that has been canceled.

I am very practical, though, and as I suddenly found myself at home with lots of extra time, I have dedicated my time to creating content that can help my followers through their quarantine.

From tips to recipes, I am doing whatever I can to keep my Instagram active and useful, besides leveraging the increase of traffic and engagement I have noticed since this novel coronavirus started to change people’s online habits.”

Renata Oliveira – Model and Lifestyle Influencer

Giovanni Aguayo – singer

Fitness Routine Dropped

“Although I love my two dogs, staying full time indoors with them is also driving me insane. I miss going to the gym – and for once, my fitness routine has totally dropped.

I’ve been trying to keep a healthy diet but, I’m just at home watching movies all day. I haven’t been back to work in 2 weeks, and I truly miss it, even seeing my co-workers and just people in general. As an influencer and content creator, the virus has had a kind of up and down effect; for example, I haven’t had any new products for product placement, but I have learned a couple of new things for myself. I’ve learned to dance more, keep in touch more with my family and friends (over FaceTime, of course). In fact, lately, I have been putting together a lot of dance videos, and have even learned a couple of choreographies.

The virus itself is horrible, and I wish it can go away soon, so we can continue with our normal lives and normal living and rebuild a financial structure. Tons of businesses have closed down here in Las Vegas, and hotels and casinos are all boarded up to keep people away.”

Giovanni Aguayo – singer

Dr. Bucandy Odetundun – Brand influencer and Medical Doctor

Negotiations On Hold

“I’m a stay at home mum, and I usually use the time when my son is at the nursery to create content for both my YouTube channel and my Instagram. However, right now, my son’s nursery is closed, so it is really difficult as he consumes most of my time.

It is not only affecting my creativity but my income, too. I had a few brands in which I was at an advanced stage of negotiations for an Influencer Marketing campaign before the lockdown. Unfortunately, they had to put everything on hold due to the unprecedented times.”

Dr. Bucandy Odetundun – Brand influencer and Medical Doctor

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