Authenticity and how influencer partnerships work best

A view from Pier MD Amy on how to nail working with influencers from a lesson overseas on how not to.

There’s a storm brewing overseas and no, it’s not the first hurricane of the season. This one is over lashes.

Power beauty influencer Mikayla Nogueira has been accused of wearing false eyelashes in a paid partnership post for a L’Oreal mascara. TikTok is ablaze with the controversy, with everyone weighing in on the alleged scandal. Did she wear fake lashes and falsely claim she didn’t? At the time of writing there’s been no further word from Mikayla, but millions of views, comments and posts continue to pour in.

But why are you posting about this, I hear you ask? Well, yes you would be right, it’s not our usual topic. We don’t do beauty and typically don’t work with US creators. However, it is a fascinating case study on how to do, or not to do, influencer marketing.

In the UK we are subject to stringent rules for influencers, aligned with advertising guidelines, that help consumers understand when they’re consuming paid content. The guidelines – which can be read here – are that however you want to do it, you must make it explicitly clear the piece was paid. This is typically achieved with adding AD or using ‘paid partnership’ features. If you don’t, both you (the brand) and the influencer could be subject to serious fines.

These rules also apply to gifted items.

I think these rules and clarity, both as a consumer and as the facilitator of these types of partnership, are critical. Social media thrives on authenticity and helps creators build trust with their audiences. Most influencers we know won’t work with our brands unless they have genuine interest in them, but it is still important that the consumer understands they’ve been paid to make the content.

Since being on TikTok, I’ve consumed more global content than ever before. I’ve frequently consumed content blindly without realised it was a paid partnership, usually from the states, and I find it deeply annoying when I realise.

Whether Mikayla did or didn’t falsely embellish the product’s effectiveness is now almost irrelevant. It’s spurred a much-needed debate for more regulation needed in US influencer marketing so consumers there can trust their favourite influencers, and brands too.

If you’re looking to engage influencers, Pier we are. From micro to macro creators, we can line up your brand with its perfect influencer partnership.

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