In wake of recent headlines around the problems of fraud and fake followers in the influencer marketing industry, L’Oreal’s Active Cosmetics Division has taken measures to ensure transparency as the brand invests 90% of its influencer marketing budget on Instagram.However, to ensure that the brand stays in safe hands, L’Oreal is performing “background checks” on the micro-influencers it’s working with as part of a new three-step influencer vetting process.
Working with micro-influencers
L’Oreal’s Active Cosmetics Division, which houses skincare brands such as Vichy, La Roche-Posay and Skinceuticals, is making an investment in working with micro-influencers as opposed to well-established accounts on Instagram, particularly those who’ve built a niche following around the interest of skincare. However, while micro-influencers provide authentic engagement, there are drawbacks, which is where the three-step vetting process comes in – to mitigate against any risk involved with the brand and influencer when running a set campaign.
According to L’Oreal, the process works in three stages: weeding out the fakes, follow the guide and background checks.Step one involves a thorough scan of the Instagram platform for any influencers mentioning the Active Cosmetics brand and those talking about skincare and products that might help.According to the division’s international digital performance director Cedric Dordain, the first step is looking for people who’s accounts might have a sudden surge in followers, especially if they have a high count from people in foreign countries. The process will result in a cull of 80% of the accounts L’Oreal has identified as influencers potentially worth working with.The next step involves analysing the remaining 20% of accounts where the process becomes manual. This involves a rulebook that is used as a guide to selecting the right influencers based on a number of criteria – including which brands they’ve worked with, the kind of content they’ve posted and the style format.Dordain added that the remaining pool of influencers after the analysis will be used for a sampling campaign where the influencer in effect receives a free product in the hope that they feature it on their channel.The final step sees L’Oreal investing in a third party company to conduct a “background check” before any contracts are signed with influencers.“We want more detail about the background of the influencers. From what they’ve posted in the past – not just on Instagram but on any social platform and any website or blog or forum,” said Dordain.“We need to spend more time looking into individuals to make sure that we won’t have any [brand safety issues], like nude pictures.”L’Oreal’s vetting process and approach in tackling influencer marketing transparency comes as part of a wider crackdown on influencer disclosure, which has seen the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) reviewing a number of cases that were at breach of guidelines – including flagging Made in Chelsea star Louise Thompson for failing to disclose her Instagram Story promoting a beauty brand was a paid-for advert.