Ethical Considerations for Influencer Marketing

May 14, 2024
Ingram Associate
Ethical Considerations for Influencer Marketing

There are many facets to influencer marketing, and one of them is ethics. Being ethical in how you work with influencers and how sponsored content is disclosed can go a long way toward meeting legal requirements and being honest with your audience. If you focus too much on just getting any kind of content out there, or you look at deceptive practices to hide the fact that you're advertising, you can unintentionally create a lot of negative publicity that you don't want.

Here's what to know about ethics and the role they play in influencer marketing, so you can make the right choices and work with influencers who have the same ethics and values.


The first thing to do is make sure that you're being transparent. For example, you'll want to make sure the influencer you work with is willing to disclose all your sponsored content clearly and consistently using the platforms' designated tools. Typically, those tools are hashtags such as #ad or #sponsored. Not disclosing can be a violation of the platforms' rules and can also anger the audience you were trying to reach.

Another way to be transparent is to insist that you and your influencer develop campaigns that avoid misleading language or blurring the line between organic content and paid promotion. While it can be tempting to try bringing in an audience by not letting them know something is an advertisement, as soon as they discover they were being deceived they aren't going to want your book, or any other books your publishing house is trying to sell.

Ensure clear communication with influencers regarding disclosure requirements, so you don't have to worry that you're not disclosing something properly or the influencer isn't following platform guidelines. People don't like being lied to, and that's how they'll feel if you and your influencer don't clearly differentiate organic posts from sponsored or advertising content.


Like transparency, authenticity is needed to market your book and work with influencers and their audiences successfully. Because of that, you should encourage influencers to express their honest opinions and experiences with the book. If they didn't like something about it, that's fair. They can be honest about that while still addressing all the things they did like, too. That will help their audience see that they're being open and realistic with their thoughts.

You should also absolutely avoid pressuring influencers to provide positive reviews or inauthentic endorsements. If you insist that they only say your book is wonderful and everyone should buy it, their audience is going to be able to tell that the review isn't as honest as it should be. When an influencer reviews your book, you want them to be excited about it but you also want them to come across as relatable and convincing when they suggest that others buy it.

If you foster partnerships with influencers who genuinely align with the book's genre, theme, and target audience, you're much more likely to get good reviews and quality endorsements. These reviews will be accurate, thoughtful, and truthful, making the members of that influencer's audience far more likely to give your book a try if it sounds interesting to them. The goal with authenticity is to blend in with what the influencers already offers and who they are.

Responsible Marketing

It's important to promote realistic expectations about the book's content and avoid exaggerated claims. To help with that, you should ensure that your influencer content complies with all FTC regulations regarding advertising and endorsements. You don't want to end up on the wrong side of legal issues because you weren't monitoring what the influencer was doing.

Additionally, it's vital to be sure that you're being clear about what's in the book, so the audience knows what they're getting. If you work with an influencer who makes a lot of over-the-top claims about your book or what's in it, anyone in their audience who reads it is going to be disappointed. Sensationalizing your book might help you make a few sales at the beginning, but it's going to hurt you in the long run.

Hidden Fees & Inconsistent Disclosures

To make sure you and your influencer are both clear about disclosures and costs, make sure you have a clear contract outlining compensation and expectations for disclosing sponsored content. Just having a verbal agreement or a few messages back and forth isn't enough to fully protect yourself properly. While some large and highly established influencers may have a standard contract they use for these kinds of engagements, many small influencers won't.

That means it's at least partially up to you to make sure a contract is created and everyone is on the same page regarding all the costs that come with marketing your book through an influencer. It's important that you advocate for fair compensation for influencers to incentivize transparency and quality content creation, as doing that helps everyone involved. You can protect yourself from hidden fees and other issues while also ensuring the influencer is paid fairly.

Maintaining Transparency & Upholding Ethics

To help make sure that transparency is maintained and your ethical concerns are addressed, you should regularly monitor the influencer's content. That makes it easier to ensure compliance with disclosure guidelines and feel confident that your marketing campaign is handled in a way you're comfortable with. It also helps you catch any concerns quickly, so you can reach out to the influencer with questions or issues.

Be prepared to address any ethical concerns that may arise during the campaign professionally but directly, and don't wait if you see something you're not comfortable with. Anytime someone is promoting your book, authorship, or publishing house you want to feel comfortable with how they're doing that and the way they're presenting the information to their audience. If you don't feel comfortable, speaking up is the right choice.

When you prioritize open communication and address any potential issues proactively with the influencer, you can build a better and stronger relationship with them over time. This also helps you determine if the influencer is right for your longer-term marketing goals. You get a better sense of how they react to questions, concerns, and the need for adjustments to the campaign they're presenting for you.

Ethics Matter When Marketing With Influencers

Overall, working with an influencer can be a great way to get information about your book out to your target audience. If you're not seeing a lot of traction in other marketing efforts, or you want to reach an audience that follows social media heavily, influencer marketing can be the right choice. It works for all kinds of books when handled correctly, and can give you access to an audience you might not be able to reach otherwise.

Just remember to focus on transparency and authenticity, and make sure to market your book responsibly. By using disclosures and paying close attention to avoiding stereotypes and other generalizations, you have the potential for more success and a better overall experience.

Ethical Considerations for Influencer Marketing
Ingram Associate

Ingram Associate

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