Good practice in influencer marketing. How to label product placement appropriately?

Good practice in influencer marketing. How to label product placement appropriately?

The rapid advancement of social media has opened up entirely new opportunities for action. Influencer accounts, which boast millions of reach and an engaged community, are a tasty morsel for anyone wishing to promote their brand or products online, including on a platform such as Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. The dynamic development of influencer marketing brings with it constant changes, also in the legal aspect of the appropriate labelling of collaborations. So how do you ensure good practice in influencer marketing? What should a brand pay attention to when collaborating with influencers?

  • Influencer marketing is an increasingly used form of marketing
  • Companies wishing to work with influencers should choose their partners accordingly
  • Prominent Polish influencers could pay up to €50m in fines
  • Every social media advert should be branded appropriately. There is nothing difficult about this!


What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a form of marketing based on activities on the internet, and more specifically on social media, which is the result of a collaboration between an influencer and a brand. It usually involves the placement or recommendation of a product, service or company in the form of content posted directly on the influencer's social media profiles. Advertising activities in influencer marketing usually take place on social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or TikTok, among others, and the content made available is usually visible on the influencer's profile even after the campaign has ended.


Good practice in influencer marketing. How to label product placement appropriately?


In influencer marketing, communication takes on a direct character, where the influencer becomes the intermediary between the brand and the audience. This is why it is important for companies planning to establish a partnership with influencers to take into account more than just their popularity when choosing a partner. Of course, statistics, high reach and number of followers are important! However, they are not the only factor to consider. In order to accurately reach the right audience, it is important to keep in mind what the influencer's target audience and audience profile is. The experience and know-how of an agency that works with influencers on a daily basis can be extremely useful in determining this data. In particular, in selecting the right influencer, it is also worth taking care of their authenticity and credibility, audience engagement and interesting content that generates a lot of interest.

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Loud UOKiK proceedings - is this the end of arbitrary influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing, and more specifically the practices and principles that should guide anyone posting adverts on their Facebook or Instagram, became notorious thanks to the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection at the end of September 2021. It was then that the president of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, Tomasz Chróstny, declared his involvement in the case and initiated an investigation with the aim of examining the influencer marketing market, as well as developing clear guidelines for people who use their communication channels to present products in the form of paid advertising.
According to the president of the UOKiK, a situation in which an influencer has been paid for his or her post, but gives the impression that he or she is sharing a private opinion online, is simply unfair. Therefore, any paid promotion of a product or service without a clear indication that it is advertising may violate the ban on surreptitious advertising and thus constitute an unfair market practice.


The ABCs of every influencer, i.e. how to correctly tag sponsored content on social media?


From the preliminary investigation carried out by the UOKiK, it appears that a large amount of advertising content shared on the profiles of influencers on social media sites such as Facebook, Youtube or even LinkedIn, are not labelled as paid campaigns at all. On the other hand, some of them are labelled incorrectly - e.g. with the hashtag #ad, which, in the opinion of UOKiK, is an inadequate solution and incomprehensible to many Polish internet users, and thus: such a campaign may be perceived as illegal.

Influencers to pay up to 50 million fine?

Did top Polish influencers cheat their audiences for years and today they can expect multi-million dollar fines? There is much to suggest it! All because of their unwillingness to cooperate with the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. Admittedly, the authority has announced that it has no plans to penalise influencers who have incorrectly tagged paid collaborations to date, and only wants to check the influencer marketing mechanisms in place to date. However, it turns out that some influencers - including those with millions of followers, such as Julia Kuczyńska (Maffashion), Marek Kruszel (Kruszwil), Marlena Sojka (Marley) or Marcin Dubiel have still not responded to messages, sent the required documents or received correspondence from UOKiK at all . Such behaviour is perceived as a lack of cooperation and penalty proceedings have already been initiated against the named persons. It appears that a fine of up to €50 million may be imposed for a lack of information on the part of an influencer.
As you can see, the list provided by the OCCP only includes online creators. Traditional celebrities well known from the TV or cinema screen are missing. However, given that such people are becoming more and more active on social media every year and that many brands want to cooperate with them, we can expect that they too will sooner or later come under the UOKiK's scrutiny.

The ABCs of every influencer, i.e. how to correctly tag sponsored content on social media?

The current regulations state that the promotion of products or services without a clear indication of the fact that it is an advertisement violates the prohibition of surreptitious advertising and is therefore not allowed. Importantly, this refers to both paid and barter activities. Therefore, every company - especially those not using an agency experienced in influencer marketing - must pay particular attention to ensure that its products are appropriately labelled on influencer profiles.


Instagram and Facebook


Admittedly, Polish law does not yet define the exact scope of obligations in the context of a given social media platform. This fact, however, does not exempt influencers from the obligation to label each collaboration. Fortunately, all global social media offer a range of solutions to make the labelling of paid campaigns as transparent as possible.

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Instagram and Facebook

Let's start with the platforms "from Mark Zuckerberg's stable", namely Instagram and Facebook. How do you correctly identify placement on these platforms? First and foremost, each post of an advertising nature should leave no doubt that we are dealing with an advertisement. The best way to do this is to clearly label each activity with "Sponsored". On Instagram, each influencer has the option to add such information even before sharing - in which case the designation is directly below the username. What's more, influencers also have the option to add information about exactly which brand is located in the post. In this case, the note "Sponsor: name of the respective brand" is placed under the username.

A very similar designation is offered by Facebook - in which case each advertising post is labelled with the phrase "Sponsored post". It is also worth remembering that the addition of the phrase "Sponsored" is also possible and necessary in the case of promotional activities on Instastories and Facebook Stories. To make the advertising campaign even clearer, each description of a sponsored post or Stories can be labelled with the relevant hashtags - 1TP5Advertising, #collaboration, #the name of the brand being promoted - with the first hashtag being the most specific and relevant indication. Another way is also to label the promoted companies in the post description or on stories. By following these rules, every influencer can be absolutely sure that they have done everything possible to make the course of the advertising campaign as visible and transparent as possible.

The film also needs to be labelled

We can speak of a similar mechanism in the case of sponsored content on the popular YouTube website. Each video in which a product, brand or service is promoted can and should be appropriately labelled even before its publication. In this way, for the first few seconds of the video, the phrase 'Contains a paid promotion' appears in the top left-hand corner, which is clear information for every consumer. Every youtuber should also make sure that the description of the video clearly states that the video contains product placement for the brand in question or was created in collaboration with the brand in question.

TikTok is unfortunately lagging behind

The case is slightly different for TikTok. For the time being, there is no way to directly mark content as 'TikTok sponsored' or 'advertising'. The only thing an influencer can and should do is, before sharing a video, to mark it as "branded content". The TikTok planned for publication is then automatically tagged with the hashtag #ad. As is well known, such information is insufficient and may not be understood by everyone, and therefore the hashtags #recommendation and #collaboration, should be added manually by the influencer.

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Influencer marketing, or in short, cooperation with influencers, can have a considerable impact on a given campaign, its final success and increased brand awareness. When selecting influencers for cooperation, it is worth remembering that they should be people who focus on quality, good communication, inspire trust and correctly label all advertising collaborations. Only then will the collaboration benefit both parties.

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