In the age of social media, it is hard to imagine the everyday life of Internet users without influencer marketing.
Influencers are people with a large Internet reach, often including celebrities, who serve a specific target group with their posts and have many followers and fans; in other words, people who are also trusted.
However, behind the supposedly innocuous posts by influencers on the relevant social media platforms are often companies and corporations that want to draw attention to their products and services as part of paid collaborations.
Often playfully or in an emphatically aesthetic manner, attractively illustrated but supposedly private posts and videos are linked with advertising messages and presented on the relevant platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
But what are the rules of the game for influencers in this context?
A brief overview of the do’s and don’ts of influencer marketing:
- Properly label advertising (including promotional links, affiliate links, tap tags, discount codes, company hashtags) and product placements (labeling requirements)
- Know exceptions to the labeling requirement (e.g., in the case of obvious advertising).
- Complete and correctly placed imprint
- Before posting a picture, video, etc.: Clarify personal and image rights, rights to the video
- Observe legally compliant contract design (agreements on rights Obligations of influencers and contractual partners, labeling, liability issues, exclusivity agreements)
- Publish advertising and product placements without proper labeling/surreptitious advertising
- No or incomplete imprint
- Incorrect placement of markings and imprint
- Posts without prior rights clearance
- Oral agreements; no or inadequately drafted contract documents.
This compilation provides a rough overview of the legally relevant topics in connection with influencer marketing. In fact, a multitude of legal issues exist in practice, which – just like the Internet itself – are always subject to dynamic development. Regardless of whether influencer or company – the existing legal risks must be seen and observed. Likewise, the areas of responsibility of the influencer and his contractual partners should be defined.
Professional legal advice helps here to avoid legal risks and prevents the communicative “game” with emphatically private aesthetics and supposed non-commitment from quickly becoming serious.
Contact and author: Thomas Hertl