Beauty brands were some of the first companies to leverage the power of “influencers” to create buzz and business on Instagram, YouTube, and other social media channels, and there’s no question that it’s paying off for them. “Influencer marketing” – where people with large followings on social media are paid by companies to promote or recommend products -- yields an average earned media value of more than $5 for every dollar spent, and top influencers can generate significantly higher levels of engagement and awareness than even the best known brands can by themselves.
But for all the upside, Beauty’s embrace of influencer marketing carries risks. If a brand fails to make its relationship with an influencer fully transparent to the consumer, for example, or an influencer makes a claim about a cosmetics product that can’t be substantiated, the brand could be fined or face litigation. And indications are that influencer marketing has a compliance problem: One study of more than 2,000 beauty posts by influencers in the fourth quarter of 2018 found that only 11% were fully compliant.
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