There was a good piece in MediaPost’s Marketing Insider, available here, on business considerations for working with B2B influencers. We thought we might add our legal tips to Justin Levy’s five tips list. That way we get to 10, and, well, anything short of a top 10 countdown just seems like it’s missing something.
Tip #6: All the same rules apply to B2B disclosures as to B2C disclosures. The target audience may be different, but the same rules apply. And the FTC is looking at influencer posts of all kinds. Make sure that when your influencers post on their social channels, they use #ad, #sponsored, #BrandPartner, #BrandAmbassador or a similar disclosure, making clear there is a connection between the influencer and the company at the top of the post. If their medium is a podcast or video blog, the disclosure can be in more natural prose, like “I am excited to have a partnership with BRAND.” Remember to discuss making these disclosures during live public speaking events as well — especially if they will be livestreamed on social media for the public to follow along.
Tip #7: Ensure authenticity. As with B2C influencers, B2B influencers are authentic when their performance results are indicative of their actual experience with the product or service. Make sure that their experience is clearly described as subjective or, if objective, that the experience is something a typical business could expect to achieve.
Tip #8: Morals on the job are important too. Even if contracting with professionals who speak to a business audience, you may still want an out if they do something off brand. Take a look at your standard morals clause and make sure it makes sense in the professional context. You may want to add language to protect you if their reputation — professional or otherwise — takes a nosedive.
Tip #9: Have your audit and monitoring plan in place. Who will preapprove posts? Who will review the content when it goes live to make sure it is compliant? Is this the brand’s responsibility, the ad agency’s responsibility or their shared responsibility? Assigning roles up front — ideally with a contract — is key, particularly if the program uses many micro-influencers rather than a handful of higher-priced talent.
Tip #10: Go exclusive, with care. An exclusive arrangement may be even more important with a B2B influencer, and the length of the engagement may be longer, than with a typical B2C influencer. If negotiating for a longer-term exclusive agreement, make sure both sides understand the parameters of the engagement; greater specificity will better set expectations. In addition, ensure your influencers understand their obligations with respect to confidential information and trade secrets.