Influencer marketing guide: 'PR has been too slow to lead on influencers'

The PR industry has been "too slow to offer leadership on influencer marketing" to practitioners and influencers, according to a new guide for PR professionals.

This Olivia Buckland post, cited in the guide, fell foul of authorities for not initially including #ad

The #FuturePRoof guide to influencer marketing, written by influencer marketing consultant Scott Guthrie and Metia UK managing director Stephen Waddington, addresses the need for influencer marketing governance in public relations.

It aims to give PR a voice in that governance, which it describes as a "challenging area of practice that sits between marketing and public relations and earned and paid media".

The guide takes a look at the market, including media law and guidance from advertising, marketing and PR. It provides guidance for campaigns where no money is exchanged, gifts in kind such as accommodation or travel – a grey area that is sometimes not disclosed – and financial payment. It also covers contentious areas like influencer fraud and vigilantes.

More than 16,000 complaints were made about 14,000 online ads and social-media posts last year, according to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) Annual Report 2018.

A recent study by HypeAuditor found that a majority of UK Instagram users are involved in some form of fakery.

Another study, by Trustinsights, which analysed 1,430,995 Instagram posts from 3,637 brands over six months, found the average engagement rates with brand posts dropped from 1.1 per cent in January to 0.9 per cent in July.

"The public relations industry has been slow to offer leadership on influencer marketing to practitioners and influencers," said Guthrie. "We've been here before with search engine optimisation (SEO), social media, and content marketing. It's important that PR doesn't miss out again."

#FuturePRoof founder and editor Sarah Waddington added: "The #FuturePRoof guide highlights best practice for brands, agencies and influencers. Everyone involved in a campaign has a responsibility to adhere to relevant advertising and media law."

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