As influencer culture continues to rapidly mature, the need for industry regulation grows more intensely.
The UK Government’s Committee for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) recently ran an inquiry into the state of influencer culture* throughout the country.
A cross-party initiative that exists to scrutinise the work of the Department of DCMS, the Committee is responsible for examining government policy and administration on behalf of the UK public. The initiative is aimed to bring attention to the legislative reforms and governing changes required, in order to make influencer marketing a more regulated industry.
The inquiry that was carried out highlighted five core themes that were seen as gaps within the UK influencer marketing industry:
- It’s not always glamorous behind the camera – the hours are long and the online abuse and trolling can be extreme.
- There needs to be more transparency around influencer pay and employment – especially to eliminate the pay gaps between different demographic groups.
- Advertising regulation needs to catch up with the changing digital landscape.
- Influencer advertising should be made clearer to children.
- Child influencers should be registered as ‘working children’ and protected accordingly.
You can read more into these five findings in the DCMS Committee’s report: ‘Influencer culture: Lights, camera, inaction?’
This report has since been sent to the UK government, along with recommendations on how these issues should be dealt with. Discover the Committee’s top five recommendations for the UK Government.
*The Department of Culture and Media defines influencer culture as, ‘The social phenomenon of individual internet users developing an online community over which they exert commercial and non-commercial influence.’
How Vamp works to create a safe, equitable and regulated platform for content creators
As one of the leading industry voices, we believe Vamp has a duty of care to the brands, agencies, and creators we work with, and to the consumers that engage with their content. In collaboration with governing bodies, regulators and our industry partners, we see a responsibility to take an active lead in helping establish the standards we want to see adopted across the industry.
For example, Vamp’s co-founder, Ben McGrath is a founding member of the Australian Influencer Marketing Council (AIMCO). AIMCO is the “foremost Australian industry body that brings together the expertise of a diverse collective of industry professionals, marketers, and content creators who are committed to elevating influencer marketing best practice, campaign measurement, and industry knowledge.” Being an advocate for the creator community with a seat at the table means we can help pave the way to establish the code of conduct we want to see adopted across the industry in Australia and beyond.
We are ‘pro-content creator’. We always have been and always will be. Vamp’s philosophy and how we operate heavily align with the Committee’s findings and recommendations. We’re committed to providing an experience that allows content creators—both in the UK and across the globe—to safely and professionally build a career in influencer marketing.
Here’s how the Vamp platform operates to ensure fair and equitable rates, inclusivity, and the codified behaviours we mandate as part of our efforts to bring transparency to content that runs through the Vamp platform.
Paying our creators a fair and honest fee for their work is one of our biggest priorities. All of our brand opportunities are paid (unless stated otherwise) and we offer two rate options to give creators more freedom and control; we can set a creator’s rate for them using data and insights from within the Vamp platform, or they can set custom rates themselves.
When Vamp sets a creator’s rate, we use a combination of data to ensure we’re setting a fee that’s fair and competitive. This option takes the guesswork out for creators who are not yet confident in setting their own rate. For each brief that’s submitted to the platform, we assess the work being asked for by the brand, how long we estimate the content will take to produce, the creator’s historical performance metrics, and take into consideration their follower stats. A creator’s demographic does not have any impact or effect on their rates.
As a creator, when you set your own rate in the Vamp app, you have the final say. This gives you more freedom and control over your pay. Vamp’s only input is a message that lets you know whether you’re pricing yourself competitively or not. If you’re setting a price much higher than other creators also invited to take part in the campaign, we’ll let you know so you have the opportunity to make adjustments. Once selected, your rate is also non-negotiable. Meaning, neither us nor the brand can renegotiate your rates after they’ve been accepted. Learn more about how to set your own rate in the Vamp app.
Finally, unlike other influencer marketing platforms, we don’t require creators to produce their content prior to being selected for a campaign. We’ll never ask you to invest uncompensated time to create content upfront, as we don’t believe in making you work for free.
Ad disclosure and transparency
With the power creators hold to influence consumer decisions, comes a responsibility to remain open and honest. This means being transparent about the use of sponsored content and disclosing ads to consumer audiences.
This transparency is needed to validate influencer marketing as a form of acceptable advertising, and is why we take ad disclosure seriously. For example, we require all our creators to disclose paid partnerships that run through the Vamp platform, by mandating the usage of the ‘ad’ hashtag, as well as adding the social platform’s specific ‘paid partnership’ and ‘branded content’ tags to their posts.
To ensure these measures are put in place by our creators, we include all of this information upfront—both in the terms and conditions for using the Vamp platform, and again as a reminder within each individual campaign brief. Throughout the entirety of a campaign, creators can refer back to the brief (which has been written by the brand and approved by Vamp) to ensure they’re doing everything correctly. And to add an extra level of safety, a creator’s content won’t be approved to go live until these elements have been added to their posts.
Our creators also go through a strict vetting process before they’re accepted to join our community and can participate in briefs. This vetting process allows us to check the authenticity of each creator by evaluating whether they’ve disclosed historical brand collaborations and paid partnerships, and if they’re transparent with their audience about who they’re working with and why. Once accepted into the Vamp community, we onboard creators using various how-to content that serves to remind them how they can maintain authenticity with their audience, including the importance of ad-specific content disclosures.
Read our guide: How to be an authentic content creator for more tips.
Vamp has cultivated a diverse community of creators. We understand the importance of inclusive representation in social media and within the influencer marketing industry for both creators and consumers alike. Part of the responsibility we share is to educate and inform the market on why inclusion matters, so that creators from minority communities are given equal opportunity and access to brand partnerships. And brands are responding positively.
We’re increasingly seeing brands come to us with specific requests aimed at incorporating diversity and inclusion practices into their creator marketing strategies. Specifically, we’re seeing more demand for creator representation from among minority groups. For example, Tangle Teezer supported Pride month with their #PowerToBeMe campaign, using Vamp creators in the UK and EU to support the initiative by discussing their identity journey focusing on hair.
Brands wanting to challenge de-facto norms and standards are turning to Vamp, and in general, we’ve seen a huge shift in beauty brands using creators from within Vamp’s community (i.e. creators with acne, male creators promoting makeup, or creators with skin deformities, etc.) who wouldn’t have previously been considered for a campaign
We’ve also seen an increase in requests from fashion brands that contact Vamp with specific creator inclusion criteria to ensure they’re showing different body types, age demographics, religions, races and sexual identities.
As a global creator platform, giving brands a highly diverse mix of creators to collaborate with has allowed us to run campaigns in over 65 different countries. To be able to cater to the geographic audience needs of brands, we must have local creator talent within the Vamp community to achieve the required reach. We do not judge a creator’s application for joining our platform based on their demographic. Rather, we look at how effective they’d be at delivering on our client’s objectives. This means we take into consideration their account’s reach and engagement, content quality and aesthetic, and their consistency and authenticity. Discover our criteria for joining the Vamp platform.
As Vamp, we’re on a mission to be a force for good. No single consumer we target with our client’s campaigns is the same, which is why no single creator of ours can be the same. We welcome and celebrate all different types of content creators, no matter their race, sexuality, gender identity, religion, age, or ability.
We want to bring together all participants within the creator ecosystem to operate within an industry that is equitable and transparent in its dealings. In addition to building an end-to-end creator marketing platform our customers love, we’ve worked hard at applying a set of self-imposed governing principles, because we believe these standards are necessary to achieving a safe, fair, and compliant business environment.
Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about how Vamp champions fair pay, inclusivity and transparency within the influencer marketing industry