As social media continues to grow and become a part of our daily lives, businesses have taken note and begun using influencer marketing as a valuable tool to reach their target market. An influencer’s personal brand is what makes them unique and stands out from every other social media profile. A brand is an influencer’s voice that allows them to express themselves and connect with their audience. For influencers working on expanding their brand and audience, it is essential to take the proper precautions to protect themselves and their social media profiles.
Growing Your Brand
When influencers are considering developing their brand, they must also consider the audience that will follow them. Potential followers are looking for influencers with whom they have shared values/interests, they identify with or are inspired by, and most importantly, a person who is their authentic self. Influencers that have grown the largest followings online have been able to capitalize on these three factors.
Part of what makes an influencer’s brand so valuable is their engagement with their audience. When an audience is invested and connects with an influencer personally, they are more likely to engage with their content, brand endorsements, etc. Social media continues to evolve and give users new and creative ways to interact with one another and build a personal connection. In particular, Question and Answer sessions where followers send in questions and the influencer answers are an excellent way for followers to learn more about them and establish a stronger connection. Additionally, vlogging a typical “Day in the Life” and “How to” videos are other great ways for an audience to feel like they are part of an influencer’s daily life and build a genuine connection that extends beyond the app.
Lastly, using your social media account as a self-promotion tool to promote your accounts on other social media platforms is another great way to build your following. Major social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok all fill a unique role in the social media market and allow audiences to be engaged in different ways. Using each platform as a tool for personal brand promotion encourages followers to be active with the influencer on all social media and results in steadier audience growth.
Collaborating with Brands
Influencer marketing has quickly become a useful tool for companies looking to directly impact consumers through a voice they trust. Brands are ultimately looking for influencers that will increase business and drive traffic to their social media profiles. In exchange, an influencer could receive the product, payment, and increased exposure by being featured on the brand’s profiles.
An influencer’s audience and the content that they post often go hand in hand. When brands are looking for a potential influencer partnership, they will consider whether an influencer’s content, audience, and values reflect their own. This is necessary for brands to consider because when an influencer is working with a brand, they are now acting as a representation of that brand itself.
Another aspect that brands consider when choosing an influencer to partner with is their brand engagement. As discussed, engagement can come in many forms, such as likes, shares, comments, etc. Brands actively seek out influencers that have high engagement levels, regardless of the size of their following. The reasoning for this is because it shows that the influencer’s audience is actively showing interest in their content instead of scrolling to the next post on their timeline. If an influencer has an engaged audience, they are more likely to take the time to learn more about the product/brand that the influencer is endorsing.
Protecting Your Brand
Influencers can protect their brand in a variety of ways. As one continues to build their brand and audience, there is a growing need to protect their hard work. By filing a trademark, influencers can proactively protect their name and likeness from other social media users or companies looking to take advantage of an influencer’s brand without their permission. It is important to note that there is no minimum followers requirement for an influencer’s trademark to be filed. When an influencer files a trademark to protect their brand, they must be doing so because they are seeking to use their name in commerce for goods or services. When doing so, it is crucial that the influencer’s social media handles match those that are in the trademark filing.
As influencer marketing has continued to grow and be used as an asset for businesses to grow their revenue, the Free Trade Commission (FTC) has stepped in to set up new regulations that protect consumers from having their purchasing decisions unfairly influenced. The FTC is now requiring influencers to give a disclosure any time they are endorsing a product. The disclosure can be expressed in a variety of ways, but it must be done in clear and straightforward language that will be easily understood by an influencer’s audience. The most common way is to include terms such as “advertisement,” “sponsored,” or “ad” into the caption of their post. Additionally, it is highly encouraged to utilize hashtags such as #ad or #sponsored at the end of their message to ensure that their post is in connection with another brand.
To stay up to date with FTC regulations for influencers, please visit. ftc.gov/influencers
Daniel Lee is a Law Clerk at Carbon Law Group. Since joining the firm in 2021, he has helped serve clients in all aspects of our legal services. Daniel is currently a J.D.-MBA student at the University of San Francisco. During law school, Daniel has served on the board of numerous clubs such as the Business Law Association, Sports and Entertainment Law Association, and the Intellectual Property and Cyber Law Association.
Before law school, he received his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fullerton, where he studied Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. After receiving his degree, he worked in the fashion industry as a social media marketing assistant.
Daniel is passionate about Intellectual Property and Corporate Law. He aims to use both his legal and business backgrounds to develop creative solutions to clients’ complex legal and business issues. He is inspired by Carbon’s commitment to innovation and forward-thinking to meet clients’ needs, as well as its devotion to making a positive impact in its community.