Maite Velez-Couto|Mar 21, 2016

During the time Lord & Taylor was settling with the Federal Trade Commission on its paid Instagram post debacle, our agency signed contracts with about 20 new (very on brand) influencers. As part of the agreements, the influencers will post on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, sharing campaign messaging that fits perfectly within their individual content style and reach our clients’ target audience. And they will fully disclose that these posts, no matter how organic they may seem, are part of a sponsorship.

The truth is that influencer engagement has become an integral part of PR/marketing programs. Some brands are even considering it more cost effective than paid advertising and far-reaching than media relations.

The ROI conversation is bigger than that simple argument, but one thing is certain: no matter what the goal or the message, as brands and marketers, we have to be honest about the paid nature of these engagements. It’s advertorial, people. Just like the one you read in magazines with that little disclaimer at the top of the page.

Surprisingly, this concept doesn’t seem to apply to celebrity endorsements, which pay the likes of Kim Kardashian thousands of dollars per post without any disclosure. Or at least they are getting away with the whole thing.

The bottom line is that consumers don’t want to be lied to. As influencer gatekeepers, we have to do our jobs to make sure consumers don’t feel misled and avoid turning that quick boost of engagement or clickthroughs into a big ole’ corporate headache.

Asking influencers to identify themselves as brand partners, adding #spon or #ad at the end of a post… What do you consider best practices?


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