Social media "influencers", particularly on Instagram, have a huge influence (excuse the pun!) over consumers. Their endorsement of a product or brand can make a huge difference to that brand with the influencer's followers flocking to buy the product. As their power grows, and as celebrity and blogger endorsement on social media increases, so does the importance that they make it absolutely clear when they are endorsing a product whether they are doing so because they have been paid or received gifts from the brand.
New guidance from the Competition and Markets Authority provides more clarity around what should and should not be said when endorsing products. Essentially, endorsements should make the relationship with the brand clear in a transparent, easy to understand, unambiguous and prominent way. It also provides guidance on the hashtags to use and not use and where they should feature in the post.
The guidance should be very much welcomed by consumers and also by influencers who value their relationship with their followers. In fact a number of celebrities have publicly committed to complying with the guidance. The responsibility to comply also rests with the brands and agencies themselves and so to give the endorsement integrity, they should make sure the post complies. Getting negative publicity for an endorsement not complying is somewhat contrary to the intended impact of the endorsement in the first place!
Social media endorsements: being transparent with your followers