Stay up to date on the latest regulations for social media influencers with our comprehensive guide on the new rules and guidelines. Learn how to stay compliant and protect your online presence.'
Guidelines for Social Media Influencers: The field of marketing is constantly evolving and influencer marketing is now in the spotlight. As of 2022 the Indian influencer marketing total net worth is around ₹12 billion. It is expected to have a compounded annual growth rate of 25% for the upcoming 5 years. As of 2026, this value is expected to cross ₹28 billion.
This popular form of marketing had a whooping 55 million urban Indians as direct consumers in 2022. The numbers are soaring up with more and more people joining the influencer movement and the increasing popularity of social media influencers. However, there are a number of risks associated with social media influencers. So new rules have been put in place to address and mitigate these risks. Let’s start from square one
Who Are Social Media Influencers?
Social media influencers are individuals who have a large following on social media platforms, such as Instagram and YouTube. They typically have a unique style and voice and often share product recommendations and opinions with their audience. By leveraging their reach and credibility, brands often partner with social media influencers to increase their product visibility and engagement with their target market. As a result, social media influencers have become an important part of the digital marketing ecosystem.
Benefits of Using Social Media Influencers
- Social media influencers have become essential to marketing strategies due to their ability to reach large audiences and create meaningful connections with their followers. Influencers have the power to drive sales, increase brand awareness and boost engagement with their audiences
- The benefits of working with social media influencers include increased engagement, more followers and higher conversions
- They can also help you reach more people, build trust with your audience and increase brand loyalty. Investing in social media influencers can be a great way to get your message out and build relationships with potential customers.
Risks Associated with Social Media Influencers
Social media influencers have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they can provide valuable marketing opportunities for businesses and brands. However, there are certain risks associated with the use of these influencers. Some of them include
- Misrepresentation of a product or service, lack of transparency regarding the influencer’s activities, and the possibility of conflict of interest
- Need for more control over their content, leading to a lack of accuracy and accountability
- Influence the masses to buy a product or service that is not upto the mark resulting in losses
Therefore, it is important to ensure that any influencers used by a business or brand are carefully vetted and monitored to reduce the risk of any issues.
New Rules for Social Media Influencers
The CCPA protects consumers against unfair trade practices and misleading advertising. Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh launched the guidelines at a press conference. Under the CCPA, endorsers of misleading ads can be prohibited from making any endorsement for up to 1 year and 3 years for subsequent violations.
As per the update, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) can impose fines of up to ₹10 lakhs on manufacturers, advertisers and endorsers. A fine of up to ₹50 lakhs can be imposed for subsequent offences.
According to Mr Singh, over 1 lakh social media influencers in the country have many followers.’ Social media influence is here to stay and will only grow exponentially, thus the need to regulate misleading ads on social media. It is an obligation for social media influencers with material connections to the brand they want to promote on various social media platforms to behave responsibly regarding disclosure to consumers.
As part of consumer law, the right to know is one of the most important paradigms. ‘When something comes from digital media, consumers should know if the person or entity sponsoring it has taken money or if they have any connection with the brand.’
In cases of non-compliance, Singh said people could approach the authority to seek legal action against defaulters. It can investigate and handle cases on its own.
According to CCPA Chief Commissioner Nidhi Khare the guidelines include, benefits and incentives, including monetary and other compensation; free products, including those received unsolicited, discounts, gifts; contests and sweepstakes entries; trips and hotel stays; media barters; coverage and awards; and any family, personal or employment relationship.
Due to their authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with the audience, individuals/groups with access to an audience and influence their audience’s purchase decisions or opinions about a product, service, brand, or experience must disclose whether it’s a paid promotion or not. New guidelines specify who to disclose to, when to disclose, and how to disclose.
- According to Ms Khare, disclosure should occur ‘when a material connection exists between an advertiser and celebrity/influencer that may affect the credibility of the endorsement’
- In simple language, the disclosure should be ‘hard to miss’
- Ensure the disclosures are clear, prominent, and extremely hard to miss in the endorsement message
- Links or hashtags should not be mixed with disclosures
- Picture endorsements should be superimposed over images so that viewers can see them
- Video disclosures should be made in audio and video formats, not just in the description
- Live streams should display disclosures continuously and prominently
- It’s also acceptable to use ‘XYZ Ambassador’ (where XYZ is a brand) on platforms with limited space
These guidelines are issued under the umbrella of the Consumer Protection Act, and one of its main principles is the prevention of unfair trade practices.
The Impact of the New Rules on Social Media Influencers
The new rules concerning social media influencers have significantly impacted the industry. With stricter guidelines and regulations, influencers must take extra caution when promoting or endorsing products and services.
Companies must also be aware of the implications of their relationship with influencers, ensuring that their content complies with the new regulations. This has led to an increased focus on transparency and authenticity regarding influencers and their content. With these new rules in place, influencers can no longer rely on disingenuous endorsements and will have to work harder to maintain trust with their audiences. Ultimately, the new rules have resulted in higher standards for social media influencers and the companies they work with, providing a win-win situation for all involved.
No doubt that the Social media influencers are an important part of the marketing landscape. New rules for these influencers are essential to ensure their partnerships with brands are successful, ethical, and beneficial for all parties involved. As the industry evolves, influencers must be mindful of their responsibilities and adhere to the new rules. By doing so, brands will better understand the value that influencers bring to their campaigns, and social media influencers will be better equipped to excel in their industry.
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