New Rules Set to Rein in NZ Social Media Influencer Management Agencies

Auckland influencer management consultant Fleur Revell was recently asked to provide comment for a Sunday Star Times article talking about recent developments in social influencer engagement. As a leading influencer talent agency, we know that Kiwis are pretty savvy when it comes to social media – and depending on the level of engagement people have with an influencer’s social platforms, often it will be quite obvious if they are being paid to endorse a particular product.

The challenge that exists for paid influencers is that often the big budget brands are not a great fit with their existing positioning. And while these budgets can be difficult to turn down, the average fan will quickly see a change in tone and messaging as their favourite fitness influencer suddenly develops a penchant for chocolate biscuits – even if its wrapped up as a “treat day” snack!

As a top influencer agency, we know it is essential to remember that an influencer is only as valuable as their audience

– if they start posting inauthentic content, they will quickly lose that audience and become less appealing to potential brands or partnerships.

What are the guidelines around disclosure?

The ASA recently released updated guidelines to better control and or manage transparency around both native advertising and influencer marketing. The new ASA code of ethics requires all advertising content – including social media – which is in some way controlled by the advertiser should be identified as such.

This is the first time there have been guidelines around influencer engagement

it’s a relatively new platform for marketers, which means regulations are only just beginning to get on board.

In Australia, transparency has been a requirement for some time now, so it is pleasing to see it formalised now in New Zealand with the ASA releasing influencer marketing guidelines.

In NZ consumers may often see #sp on an Instagram post which shows it is “sponsored content’’, but for even greater clarity #ad can be used.

Not disclosing can risk brand damage for influencers…

An influencer will quickly lose an audience if it feels there is evidence of inauthenticity or views the influencer as simply cashing in without being honest about their paid relationship with a brand. As well as this, and importantly from the point of view of advertisers; their brand can also suffer from being associated with a campaign which was not disclosed as paid for by the influencer.

The challenge with measuring brand damage is that it’s not always immediately apparent. The brand’s equity and or credibility can be eroded over time when it becomes obvious that their marketing is not as transparent as their consumers expect.

Non-disclosure also sends a subliminal message that a company is not being upfront – which then translates into questions about the product efficacy. As a social media talent management agency, we advise clients that a campaign needs to be carefully planned, taking into account the natural fit with the influencer as well as the size of their audience.