Sponsorships: the bread and butter of any influencer’s livelihood, their primary source of income, and the trampoline that any personality can leverage for their success.
Ever since the Australian influencer market exploded, the tie-in between personalities and brands has become a standard fixture for the way many products are marketed. From lifestyle beauty bloggers to “entrepreneur gurus” that bank on their success stories for relevance, anyone classified may have a brand partnership or two under their belt.
For many of those who aspire to grow their social media following, reach out to a bigger market, and become an “influencer,” it’s clear that brand partnerships are essential for success. While you may dream about having sponsorship from several brands, however, there’s one question that you should pay attention to: “Where does the Australian law stand on influencers disclosing brand partnerships?”
Coming a long way from being seen as a mere hobby by the government, being an influencer is now distinguished by law as a full-fledged occupation. Although there may be a level of prestige that comes with having the field of influencing customers as a livelihood, this can also be a double-edged sword as it also entails several responsibilities. One such responsibility is the obligation to file taxes for the income that you make and pay them annually.
Given the level of government attention that influencing has gotten in recent years, many brand ambassadors find themselves in a grey area of whether or not they should disclose their paid partnerships. Now that influencers are repackaging their partnership contracts and finding new ways to market products without being obvious, telling if a post is sponsored is now more complicated.
If you’re an influencer that’s sprung into the world of endorsements and paid ads but don’t know what to do with your first sponsorship, here’s a quick rundown for you:
On reference points
Currently, Australian law has yet to establish set guidelines on when an influencer should disclose their partnership and how they should approach the situation.
Despite the lack of clear guidelines, the best point of reference and documentation that you can keep in mind when going over the concept of disclosure is the Australian Influencer Marketing Council’s best practice guidelines. AIMCO sought to help best inform budding and established KOLs alike of various guidelines on influencer activity, one of which is being voluntary in advertising disclosures.
Even though many online personalities tend to fixate on finding guidelines for best practices about advertising disclosures, it’s also vital to take a look at consumer protection laws.
The main reason this law plays a crucial role in the activities of influencers and their responsibility to disclose advertisements is that it prevents businesses from making false representations – influencers included. Although the creative direction is in the hands of the influencer, it’s still vital for them to disclose which posts are ads and which ones aren’t. Given the law in question, a crucial associated concept that you should consider before putting out a sponsored post is the idea of intention and impact. Regardless of what your purpose is, the law will always fixate on the effects of any post that you make on the influencer. This means that you could face penalties if a follower was misled by your post (even if you didn’t mean to).
Beyond taxes and formalities, the idea of disclosure is something that any influencer should understand before jumping into an agreement because of the involvement of Australia’s consumer protection laws. By taking the time to go through this guide, reading up on AIMCO’s guidelines, and familiarising yourself with technicalities, you’ll be able to foster excellent and safe posting habits!
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