This guest blog post is provided by the Competition Bureau, an independent law enforcement agency that ensures Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace. Headed by the Commissioner of Competition, the Bureau is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (except as it relates to food), the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.

Influencer marketing is becoming more and more popular. Maybe you're even considering it for your business. If so, be sure to read this post and stay on the right side of the law.

Influencers are online personalities. They use social media, blogs or photo-sharing apps to share their expertise and opinion about products or brands with their followers. For example, athletes may mention dietary choices or exercise products in their social media feeds, and fashion or lifestyle commentators often post video content featuring clothing, cosmetic products or shopping destinations.

Online influencers have the ability to influence the behaviour of followers who value their expertise, opinions or unique points of view. That's something any business would want to tap in to!

Many businesses will pay or otherwise compensate influencers to share content that features their products or brand. This compensation may be in the form of monetary payment, free product, discounts or other benefits.

It is important to keep in mind that the Competition Act applies to your business and to the influencers who you engage. As such, you may be liable for representations made through influencers.

When dealing with influencers, make sure they:

  • Clearly disclose that they were paid or otherwise compensated to feature your product or brand.
  • Disclose payment or compensation in each post.
  • Don't make false or misleading representations.
  • Don't make performance claims on your behalf, unless they are based on adequate and proper testing.

By following these tips, both your business and the influencers you engage can carry out influencer marketing the right way.

Find more information on influencer marketing in the Competition Bureau's Deceptive Marketing Practices Digest — Volume 4.