Over the last few years influencers have become incredibly popular and brands have been making use of their services for a while.

The trouble with influencer marketing in South Africa is that the rules aren’t as robust or as clear as the rules that surround advertising through more traditional channels such as print and online publications.

In a bid to regulate the influencer marketing industry somewhat the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has published a set of guidelines (PDF) it hopes will protect consumers and promote ethical conduct of brand marketers and their representatives.

“The fundamental objective of the draft Advertising Code of Practice Social Media Guidelines is to protect the consumer by encouraging brands to exercise ethical constraints on all paid social media communications; and to benefit the industry with a clear code of conduct regarding the use of social media to advertise products and services,” the IAB wrote on its website

The process of drafting the guidelines was led by the IAB, the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASASA) and Marketing Mix. Industry bodies were also consulted in the drafting process.

The full guidelines released earlier this month are exhaustive and if you are an influencer or a brand making use of an influencer’s services then they are worth paying attention to.

The brand and influencer responsibility

The guidelines set out the responsibilities of brands when engaging with influencers.

For one, any claims made by influencers must comply with the Code of Advertising Practice, specifically section 10 of Clause II which can be found here.

The key thing to note in the Advertising Code of Practice Social Media Guidelines is that influencers or marketers will no longer be allowed to use the phrase “it was my opinion” should the claims made be found to be false.

Marketers that hire influencers will also be required to have a written contract with the influencer that contains the following:

  • The details of the engagement/brief
  • The remuneration (cash or cash equivalent), details and conditions of payment
  • The obligation to publish only own content or to clearly disclose or credit the content creator, if and when the content is not self-created
  • Mandatory disclosures and industry specific marketing regulations required by the marketer’s industry

Reading through the guidelines it’s clear that the IAB, ASASA and Marketing Mix are trying to help not only the public from being advertised to without their knowledge, but influencers as well.

It’s important to note that these guidelines have not yet been implemented and before they are they need to undergo a consultation period.

The guidelines were released earlier this month so that consultation period should be announced soon. Thereafter a date for formal adoption will be announced.

For now then its worth familiarising yourself with the rules that might eventually dictate how influencer marketing is regulated in South Africa.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]