The growth in the number of social media influencers and freelance content creators has led to an increase in unique types of legal concerns and disputes for these entrepreneurs. Most articles regard what a business should consider when hiring an influencer but few discuss how an influencer should conduct its business beyond finding followers or getting sponsors. Even if an influencer or content creator has not established a business entity, if they are making money from sponsored posts and/or marketing through social media, they have a business that affects consumers, assets that need to be protected, and government regulations to comply with. For example, in 2017 the Federal Trade Commission started to send warning letters reminding influencers and companies who hire influencers to promote their brands that they need to “clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products through social media.”
Once an influencer or content creator is conducting business through social media, they need to take legal considerations into account just like any other business. These considerations include, but are not limited to:
-Choosing a business entity to run business from in order to limit liability and manage income
-Protecting intellectual property in the USA and abroad
-Registering copyrights, patents and trademarks
-Ensuring full payment is made by clients
-Legal recourse in the case of contract breach or intellectual property is misappropriation
-Managing personal and business taxation
-Navigating consumer protection laws and use disclaimers for advertising, and
-The differences in regulations for international business.
In the time of influencers being sued for advocating the Fyre Festival and Instagram entrepreneurs not following standard business practices, businesses who hire influencers and content creators want to make sure they are contracting with an individual or entity that is legitimate and will give them the best return on investment. An influencer who treats their business like a legitimate business will be ahead of the game both in their own protections and organization and in contracting with businesses to maximize success and income.
At our firm, we can assist influencers and content creators with many of these considerations and more. To learn more about how to establish your business or conduct your social media advertisements, contact our firm.