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Jade Seah’s advice to influencers: ‘The money is tempting, but use your common sense’

One of Singapore’s most prominent social media personalities has called on her peers to be more discerning when working with brands as influencer marketing becomes subjected to greater scrutiny.

Jade Seah, who runs the lifestyle-focused digital media company DELLAA, said while it was tempting take money offered by marketers, up-and-coming influencers should focus on working with brands they like to prevent questions over their authenticity arising.

Speaking during the recent Mumbrella360 Asia conference, Seah also pointed out how brands themselves have become more discriminating when it came to influencers with huge numbers of followers promoting multiple products in the same sector.

“Brands are getting smarter,” she said. “It used to be: ‘What are your numbers like? You have this amount so you are gold’. Now though, brands see you have this amount, but they also see you endorse 100 skincare products – and you only have one face. There’s no way you would be using all of them. It’s good because in terms of the longevity of the ecosystem, it makes for a longer runway.

“In Singapore, and for myself, there is a lot of self-regulation. For example, I don’t drink coffee and a lot of coffee brands have asked if I can work with them… and I would turn it down because I just don’t. Slimming brands have approached me… I don’t believe in that lifestyle so I would turn it down.

“If it’s a skincare brand that I already use, then it’s a happy working relationship. That’s an authentic way of working with the brand. I’m very particular about putting sponsored posts or #sp[onsored], but when it comes to what brand, it’s about common sense and being true to yourself. I don’t want someone who is obese going out and buying a slimming product because I said ‘it works; it’s how I stay slim’. Work with the brands you like.

“The money is sometimes tempting; it really is. And some of these brands have a lot of money. But then in this day and age, when the lines are blurring and everything is online, you’re going to get found out.”

Speaking about the the legality of posting sponsored content on social media without disclosure, Mitchel Chua, a senior associate Gateway Law described Singapore as a ‘loosely regulated’ market.

Referring to the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore, the accountability body for the country’s advertising landscape, Chua said: “[It has] some teeth; if you’re making unfair representations to the public about certain products, then it falls under the consumer goods acts. But generally speaking it’s not legally binding.

“It adds credibility [to the influencers] to endorse a product ethically and do things above board. There’s more reason to believe the conviction of the product and it adds to their moral standards. As time goes on there will be less reliance on the guidelines and more of self-regulation.”

Singapore is a ‘loosely regulated’ market for sponsored influencer content

Meanwhile, Aaron Brooks, the co-founder of Singapore-based influencer agency Visual Amplifiers, argued that the ASAS guidelines would eventually become redundant.

“You have Instagram calling out paid partnerships,” he said. “More transparency of the social platforms will add to influencers and these guidelines will not be used.”

He added: “Is the [influencer] bubble is going to burst?  That’s what they said about social about 10 years ago and obviously there is a lot of money coming into the sector. It will get more sophisticated over time. Traditional mediums are dying and this is where audiences are moving into.”

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