Transparency can help creators build loyal audiences and trusting relationships with brands. We hear from the Vamp creators who have teamed up with AiMCO to champion its importance.
“I was one of the many creators that did a serious happy dance when the AiMCO guidelines were created!” says Vamp creator Nadine Muller (@nadinemuller). “I thought to myself, ‘Finally, an established process with clear, set guidelines.’”
The Australian Influencer Marketing Council’s (AiMCO) Codes of Practise were designed to promote a strong future for influencer marketing in Australia, and a key area of focus was clear and consistent ad disclosure. This was a subject that had previously been murky, with some influencers called out for poor practise, but little official guidance.
Nadine wasn’t the only one to welcome the guidelines. Transparency nurtures trust, a key ingredient in influencer marketing, so as a founding member of AiMCO, Vamp helped develop the code. We also nominated three of our creators to become their Ambassadors. We spoke with Nadine Muller (@nadinemuller), Tim Northy (@tk_north) and Vincy Cheng (@incyvincyspider) to discuss the start of this exciting role and ask them what authenticity, transparency and disclosure means to them.
How important is it for you to be an authentic content creator?
Tim: “Super important! Your level of authenticity reflects you and your overall brand. People choose to follow you because they like what you do and want to connect with that. If they feel you’re not being genuine or authentic, they will lose that connection pretty quickly, affecting your reputation.”
Nadine: “Authenticity allows me to set myself apart from the crowd, helps me grow and build a relationship with a loyal audience, produce high-quality, high-performing content and develop a positive reputation with brands. My audience really values my openness, transparency and honesty. Our social feeds are always trying to sell us something, so when users come across creators who genuinely recommend products or services – and take their responsibility seriously – they find it refreshing!”
Vincy: “It’s almost impossible to win on social media without being genuine. Staying true to myself is my top priority and being authentic helps you build your reputation and integrity. When you’re staying true to yourself and creating authentic content, you can forge a deeper connection with your audience, and encourage them to interact with and support your content in a genuine way. Your relationships with them become stronger, which increases engagement and loyalty.”
How do you remain authentic, while taking on brand collaborations?
Tim: “I only take on collaborations that reflect my personal brand, reflect what I do and what I’m passionate about. I seek opportunities that challenge and help me to grow and collaborations I know would fit my audience, or can benefit them in some way.”
Vincy: “To me, authenticity means that you show your true self and stay true to your values through the content you create. Be open and honest with your community, and the brands you collaborate with. This means being selective with the brands you work with so the sponsorship is a natural fit. Only collaborate with brands that you truly love, appreciate and support so you can clearly express their brand messages.”
Nadine: “The term is thrown around a lot, but a creators’ authenticity (alongside their integrity and reputation) can make or break them! With the influence we have over our audiences comes a big responsibility to ensure that transparency, honesty and openness remains at the forefront of what we do. I’m super selective about the brands I collaborate with and make sure my partnerships are aligned with my values. It’s important that the brands and businesses I promote are woven into my everyday life. I also keep in mind how often I post sponsored content. There’s nothing worse than seeing a feed constantly full of ads. Raw, day-to-day life posts take your community on a journey, which inadvertently builds up their trust and loyalty.”
Ad disclosure goes hand in hand with authenticity. Why do you think disclosing your paid collaborations and remaining transparent is so important?
Nadine: “Influencer marketing only continues to reach greater heights. As it becomes the norm, it’s vital that creators operate in a professional manner and disclose all paid partnerships, to allow for honest and genuine brand collaborations.”
Vincy: “Influencers may worry that sponsored content is less well-received by their followers than non-sponsored content. But by maintaining transparency and disclosing your paid collaborations, you’re ultimately building trust and strengthening your relationships with your audience. Your honesty and openness with your audience will help you and your community grow together.”
Tim: “Transparency is so important. If someone follows you, they put a certain level of trust in you and to uphold that trust, it’s important for them to be aware when your posts are paid collaborations and when they’re not.”
How do you disclose paid collaborations, so that you remain transparent with your audience?
Vincy: “I either use #sponsored or #ad in the caption, or I tag the brand I’m working with as a “Paid Partner” using Instagram’s Branded Content tool. The Paid Partnership tag allows you to tag the brand within the post so that first and foremost, there is full transparency with your audience. It also grants the brand access to your post’s performance data. This helps you remain transparent with the brand you’re working with, which I think is just as important.”
Nadine: “I keep up-to-date with AiMCO’s recommendations and adhere to their disclosure policies in every paid collaboration I’m part of. This includes the use of Paid Partnership tags and relevant hashtags.
Tim: “I always add the necessary hashtags and use ad disclosure tools on Instagram and YouTube. It can be confusing at times, in an ever-changing environment and with different types of collaborations. Working with brands who know what they’re doing, and being able to check in with them if you are unsure, is super important. If you feel they are directing you in the wrong way, don’t be afraid to speak up as it’s your loyal and trusting audience you’re sharing this content with.”
How will you be working with AiMCO to ensure influencer marketing has a transparent future in Australia?
Tim: “I hope to use my own experiences from working with a broad range of brands and agencies to provide feedback and guidance, from the viewpoint of someone having to regularly follow these practices. Both to maintain transparency, and assist other creators like myself and their audiences to navigate this space.”
Nadine: “I look forward to advocating for transparency as influencer best practise by role modelling and taking accountability. I also want to be encouraging and educating others to do the same. I hope to support AiMCO and their codes of practise as they continue to evolve, and I look forward to taking part in discussions and promoting industry awareness and education through my content.
Vincy: I’ll continue to embrace best practices in my work to encourage other creators in the community to do the same. I want to spread the importance of maintaining transparency, honesty and authenticity. To drive awareness around this, I will assist AiMCO through educating and communicating with other creators in the community, providing them guidance and keeping them up-to-date with the latest codes of practice. I’ll also be sharing AiMCO news that my audience will benefit from.
Learn more about AiMCO’s Ambassadors here.