Last week, Gadgets reported on a proposed set of guidelines put forward by local content creator Gail Baldacchino for the local influencer industry. With that in mind, Gadgets spoke to local content makers to see whether they agreed or not with the proposals and with a regulated industry in general.
Eagerly awaited guidelines
The MCCAA (Malta Competition & Consumer Affairs Authority) has been working on a list of guidelines for some time now. Though there’s no indication of a publication date yet, local stakeholders were approached before work commenced.
In the meantime though, what do some of these stakeholders think? Blogger Deborah Saliba told Gadgets about how she’s followed Gail for quite some time and agrees that it’s time for a common set of guidelines.
“I’m eagerly waiting for these new regulations and for clearer guidelines because that way our followers can better know what they’re seeing, whether something is a paid ad or not.” That in turn, she explains, encourages further transparency within the industry.
Cultivating genuine recommendations
Zoë Louise Gatt agrees that some form of common direction is required. Particularly grinding for her is the idea of gifting instead of payment. “Free gifts don’t pay the bills. Neither do they pay for the amount of hours spent on concept creation, shooting, and personal maintenance (as an influencer, the maintenance is a very large part of the job – as is expected).”
The point she makes is that brands should be “weaned off the idea of expecting more from the bare minimum”. Free gifts do not pay bills but do result in more followers and customers for the brands. It’s only natural that proper payment should be sought, and common regulation for the industry could help solve this issue.
The second benefit to this would be that followers are also more aware of what constitutes a paid partnership, the reality of gifting and an overall more genuine set of recommendations to the relative audiences.
It’s been time for a while
As mentioned earlier, these regulations were mentioned quite some time ago, but have not yet come to fruition. What Tamara Webb explained was that even though it’s been time for these regulations for quite some time now, she’s been tagging ads and sponsored content at her own behest in any case.
“All in all, it won’t make much of a difference to me because I try to be as genuine and transparent with my audience as possible already”, Webb revealed, also stating that it’s been time for more regulation, especially with other countries already adopting the practice.
Following a poll on her own page where 70% of the respondents said they’d prefer to know when something was part of an advert or was gifted, then the dye was cast. She also concluded with a nugget of wisdom for any up and coming or aspiring content creators.
“The more authentic you are, the more people will trust you. If you’re a content creator who appreciates the brands you work with and are proud to work with them, then showing something to be an ad or a gift shouldn’t be a problem!”
Learning & moving forward
The consensus pretty much appears to be in favour of a common set of guiding principles. As these content creators have explained, the industry as a whole stands to gain from it. Creators will be treated as professionals doing a job; transparency is increased for followers and shoppers; brands are seen as more credible and willing to support local talent.
Do you agree with these local content creators? Have you read Gail’s proposals? Check them out here and let us know what you think!