In past posts, we mostly focused on the legal requirements that social media influencers have with regards to disclosures. These rules, implemented by the federal government, are designed to protect consumers. But these are not the only rules that social media influencers must follow. If you are a social media influencer you also have legal obligations related to ads, brands, and sponsors.
Here are just a few things to keep in mind.
The fine print is important
As we have noted in previous posts, all social media influencers need lawyers to help them draft agreements with the brands they represent. One of the reasons is that your legal rights and obligations are detailed in these agreements.
A typical social media influencer agreement addresses your obligations regarding your ad, brand or sponsor, including but not limited to the following:
- Product endorsements in social media posts – including the type of content used to promote the product (video, photos, text, etc.), frequency of posts, duration of posts and where they must appear.
- Hash tag use – brands have different requirements regarding the use of hash tags to promote their products in social media posts. The agreement will detail which ones the social media influencer should use, how often and so forth.
- Performance measurements – including the type of proof, such as links, or screenshots social media influencers should be prepared to provide that they have fulfilled their obligations regarding product endorsement posts. The agreement should also stipulate if detailed reports regarding the number, duration, placement, and appearance of posts are required.
- Rights to review content prior to posting – the agreement may also include the brand’s right to protect its interests by reviewing the product endorsement before it is posted.
- Conflict of interest – recognizing that successful social media influencers endorse multiple products, brands may include prohibitions on simultaneous promotion of competitors’ products.
As a social media influencer, it is important that you understand all of these provisions before you sign the agreement. Once the agreement is signed, it becomes legally binding – just like any other business agreement. Failure to comply with any or all of the provisions could be construed as breach of contract, and your sponsor or brand could sue.
Its reputation is one of the most valuable assets held by any business. That’s why brands may also include contractual provisions regarding a social media influencer’s behavior and lifestyle. Specifically, the brand or sponsor may include contractual provisions requiring that the social media influencer refrain from:
- Acting in a manner that creates a scandal
- Acting in a manner contrary to brand messaging, especially if the target demographic includes minors
- Acting in a manner contrary to the brand’s corporate values
A health, fitness or beauty business that promotes “clean,” healthy, living may also include lifestyle provisions in a social media influencer agreement. For example, a brand may request that a social media influencer refrain from smoking or drinking to excess in public, or posting photos of them engaging in these activities.
Finally, businesses that retain social media influencers may also take steps to protect themselves against third-party lawsuits. One way they can do this is to mandate that the influencers get permission to use any logos, symbols, photos, and other material used in their posts.
Clearly, that’s a lot to digest. If you have any questions or concerns about any or all of these issues, contact the social media influencer lawyers here at the Los Angeles Law Office of Parag L. Amin P.C. (LawPLA). Get started by giving us a call, filling out the form on our contact page, or scheduling a free consultation online.