Bookkeepers' Best Practice for Paid Partnerships

ICB bookkeepers are increasingly seen as savvy advocates and valuable spokespeople for brands

Influencer marketing has become a popular way for brands to reach their target audience through social media. It involves collaborating with individuals who have a large following and influence on social media platforms such as Linkedin, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, to promote a brand's products or services. However, with the rise of influencer marketing comes the need for advertising regulations to ensure that consumers are aware of the paid partnerships between influencers and brands.

As an ICB bookkeeper, you may not consider yourself an influencer, but with ICB being the most vibrant community in the accounting profession, ICB bookkeepers are increasingly seen as savvy advocates and valuable spokespeople. You may find yourself being offered commission or gifts in exchange for posting on your social media channels. You may genuinely believe in the product, service or its functionality, however, you must always make it clear if you have received anything in exchange for your post.

In the UK, influencer marketing is subject to advertising regulations to ensure transparency and protect consumers from misleading advertising. The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) are responsible for regulating advertising in the UK, including influencer marketing.

The CAP Code applies to all advertising, including influencer marketing, and requires that advertising to be legal, decent, honest, and truthful. Influencers must ensure that their content complies with the Code and does not mislead consumers. Any paid partnership or sponsored content must be clearly labelled as such, so that consumers are aware of the commercial relationship between the influencer and the brand.

The ASA has provided guidance on how influencers can comply with the Code when creating sponsored content. Influencers must use clear and prominent disclosures, such as #ad, #sponsored or #paidpartnership, in the post, title or caption, to indicate that the content is a 'paid' partnership. The disclosure should be visible to the consumer, so they are not misled.

The ASA has also provided guidance on how influencers can ensure that their content is not misleading. Influencers must ensure that any claims made about a product or service are accurate and can be substantiated. They must also disclose any material connections to the brand, such as if they have received free products or have a personal relationship with the brand.

If an influencer fails to comply with the advertising regulations, they may face sanctions from the ASA, including having their content removed or being banned from advertising in the future. Brands who work with non-compliant influencers may also be held responsible for any breaches of the Code.

ICB Bookkeepers are some of the best influencers out there, and more often than not, you will be posting about a product or service because you genuinely believe in it and want to spread the word to your peers. Just bear in mind, the next time you receive a gift or referral fee in exchange for your post, you must ensure that you clearly label the post as an ad or sponsored post.