One of the hottest businesses out there is social media influencers. According to Forbes Magazine, micro influencers range from 5k to 100k followers; mid from 100k to 1 M; and macro influencers have 1M Plus. Influencers make money by creating content and making brand deals. No matter your niche, here are 5 legal tips for you.
1. Include Affiliate Marketing Disclosures in your Posts.
One of the biggest revenue streams for influencers is affiliate marketing. Whether you are using your social influence to promote brands, products, services or even travel destinations for money or trade, you need to pay attention to applicable regulation.
The Federal Trade Commission requires you to disclose brand partnerships and collaborations in every single post, when applicable. The rule of thumb is as follows: if you are getting something of value or you have a personal relationship to the subject matter of the post, you have to disclose.
2. Be Cautious and include Disclaimers in your Posts as well.
Often times, influencers give out advice, recommendations, and reviews about certain products or services. Part of the job is to motivate people into doing certain stuff or buying particular products; that’s the name of the business, right?
As such, you have to be very careful about what you say to your fan base and not make false statements, whether it is about other people or companies. In addition, protect yourself and let your fans know that they should consult with a professional before acting upon the information you are providing.
3. Select a Business Entity.
If you are making some money as an influencer, you should select a business entity. The benefits might include lower tax rates, limited liability, and commercial certainty, among other things. Learn more about business entities here.
4. Protect your Intellectual Property and respect other people’s IP too.
Influencers depend heavily on their IP, therefore protecting yours must be on the top of your list. As I’ve written elsewhere, written contracts and IP registration can go a long way to save your whole business. Learn more about IP here.
Make sure to protect your brand as a trademark; be sure to own or have permission to use your marketing material (technically, your photographer could own the copyright of your photos); and monetize your right of publicity.
Additionally, avoid infringing other people’s IP. You expose yourself to infringement when using copyrighted music, photos, videos, and any other creative work.
5. Apply for Tax Incentives and Report Your Income.
As an influencer, you might want to apply for tax incentives, that way you could pay lower taxes or none at all. You should also be aware of your taxation responsibility at both the local and federal level. Learn more about tax incentives here.
In this blog post, we listed 5 legal tips for when starting a YouTube page. Feel free to comment below whether you or someone you know, started or are about to start a YouTube channel.
- What is a Social Media Influencer? Forbes
- Social Media Legal Issues Influencers Need to Keep on their Radar, Sidewalker Daily