Influencer marketing has emerged as an easier way of attracting and engaging with consumers such that influencers have become an essential part of modern marketing. While the benefits of collaborating with bloggers and reviewers can’t be ignored, it also cannot be denied that the practice is not without problems.
According to BEUC (the European Consumer Organisation), European consumer law is currently not “sufficiently and consistently enforced” across EU Member States. In addition, the organisation argues, EU law needs to be updated to provide “harmonised solutions to unfair commercial practices”, to clarify the rules and responsibilities of the different actors operating in influencer marketing, and to ensure that consumers benefit from a fair and safe online environment.
Influencer marketing may be a powerful tool that can help brands in the food industry reach new audiences, increase purchase intent, and boost sales, but BEUC says it needs reform to further regulate influencer marketing and for better enforcement of existing EU legislation in various sectors including food and beverage.
Is it time to regulate influencers? It’s a question that has been buzzing around as the power and influence of online personalities continue to grow. With millions of followers, and the ability to shape public opinion, influencers have become a force to be reckoned with. But as their influence expands, so do concerns about transparency, authenticity, and ethical practices. With their ability to connect with audiences on a personal level, they have become trusted sources of information and recommendations.
This newfound power has also given rise to potential issues. From misleading product claims to instances where influencers have crossed ethical boundaries. As a result, there is a growing call for regulations that would hold these influencers accountable and ensure transparency in their content. But is this the right approach? What form this takes is spelled out in some detail in the BEUC’s paper, From influence to responsibility – Time to regulate influencer marketing.
While regulations would protect consumers from deceptive practices, would it stifle creativity and freedom of expression? Among the recommendations to better regulate influencer marketing are a definition of influencer marketing; tackle hidden advertising and insufficient disclosures of commercial content; and make all actors in the influencer value chain liable. By implementing regulations, the organisation is looking to ensure that influencers maintain authenticity, and promote responsible behaviour.
It is crucial to strike a balance between allowing creativity and safeguarding consumer interests. Regulation can provide transparency, protect consumers, and ensure the integrity and authenticity of influencer marketing. Implementing regulations in such a dynamic and constantly evolving space as social media can be challenging, however. We have to consider the implications and potential consequences of regulation.
In a digital age where social media platforms reign supreme, regulation may be necessary but rather than imposing strict regulations, it may be more effective to focus on establishing guidelines and best practices that promote ethical behaviour and transparency. By doing this, we can ensure that this rapidly evolving tool continues to flourish while maintaining the trust of its audience and the broad interests of the sectors.
- Rodney Jack, editor, Food & Drink Technology.
Keep in touch via email: email@example.com Twitter: @foodanddrinktec or LinkedIn: Food & Drink Technology magazine.