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Influencer Marketing

ASCI warns LinkedIn Influencers to ensure ad disclosure

Manisha Kapoor, CEO of ASCI wrote on LinkedIn and issued a stern warning to the influencers who don’t adhere to guidelines while writing promotional write-ups on the platform.

A lot of times on LinkedIn, industry experts write long write-ups to praise the ad campaigns. Sometimes, it's promotional, sometimes it’s not. ASCI (Advertising Standard Council of India) has put this under the radar and issued a stern warning to the influencers who don’t adhere to guidelines while writing on the professional platform.

Manisha Kapoor, CEO, ASCI on her LinkedIn wrote that after health influencers and finfluencers, LinkedIn influencers are in the latest in the line of fire. The move came in when ASCI was tagged in a post, where an agency co-founder was praising the ad of a leading e-commerce company. These kinds of posts are common on the platform.

Kapoor added that a user who tagged ASCI was suspicious about the post, and that this could be promotional. It became more doubtful when other individuals on the platform were talking about the ad campaign in a similar manner.

It was rightly pointed out that the post was promotional. Kapoor said that the co-founder of an agency should have been aware of this, and should have been aware of influencer disclosure norms outlined by ASCI. 

Subsequently, the user who posted added the hashtag ‘#ad’ to the post. 

Kapoor mentioned a couple of issues in his post. The first issue was that both the ASCI code and law demand that disclosure should be prominent and upfront. In this case, the word ‘ad’ was placed at the end of the post.

The second issue she pointed out was that the consumer should know something is an ad before engaging with it. It’s the responsibility of the influencer to declare a post organic or promotional. It can be done by using the platform’s disclosure tools or with an upfront declaration. 

She mentioned one more incident, where a user identified on a platform as ‘marketing professional with a digital mindset’ was praising a liquor platform on the platform. In this case, similarly the disclosure ‘ad’ was placed at the end of the post. Besides this, she pointed out that the user and advertiser seem unaware that promoting a liquor brand can put someone into legal trouble.

Kapoor stated pointers to keep in mind when writing promotional posts on LinkedIn.

1. Do not promote stuff that has restrictions on advertising!

2. Add the hashtag ad or partnership or other appropriate labels upfront at the beginning of the post, not buried at the end.

3. Educate on the laws and regulations that govern the profession.

Kapoor in the end stated, ‘Why would you want to risk your reputation and be called out on LinkedIn!. After all, Jab ad kiya to darna kya.. Ad kiya koi chori nahin ki, Chup chup disclosure se chupna kya?’

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