How To Use Influencer Marketing In Highly Regulated Industries

BabbleBoxx influencers adhere to regulations when showcasing alcohol brands.

With the influencer marketing industry fast approaching the $15 billion mark by 2022 (according to Business Insider Intelligence estimates based on Mediakix data), it’s safe to say that a large range of brands across several industries recognize that working with influencers is a powerful marketing and sales tool that shows no signs of abating.

But what about brands in highly regulated industries? Is it possible for the healthcare, alcohol, cannabis, insurance, finance and gambling sectors to utilize and benefit from campaigns using social media influencers? The answer is definitely yes.

During the past two years, BabbleBoxx has worked with many highly regulated industries developing and executing creative campaigns  to help promote brands through social media in our select verticals.

Oftentimes, it’s about helping brands craft their unique messaging where  sending actual products to influencers is not feasible for example in the insurance industry. And sometimes it’s helping companies navigate complicated marketing rules particular to their industry. Below we’re sharing some insights we’ve learned by working with a variety of brands that are highly regulated by individual states across the country as well as by the U.S. government.

Alcohol/Cannabis:

When promoting alcohol or CBD products, you must not only make sure the influencer is over 21, but a portion of their audience must be over 21 as well. Although it’s easy to check the age breakdowns with an influencer’s analytics, audience percentages can differ widely from brand to brand and state to state. When working with parenting bloggers, make sure that the influencers do not include any children in their photos, even accidently, like showcasing an alcoholic drink at a family picnic. A shipping license is required to ship alcohol, even for small sample bottles, but a brand may avoid shipping entirely by pre-paying the influencers and having them purchase a bottle of the brand themselves, or by providing coupons for them. Brands also might want to use a third party delivery service like Drizly (https://drizly.com) for alcohol shipments. Additionally, note that neither Facebook or Instagram will allow boosting of posts for CBD or alcohol.

While developing inspiring content for alcohol and cannabis products can be easy, wading through the restrictions can be difficult. BabbleBoxx worked with a vodka brand by launching a campaign based around outdoor barbeque and grilling tips, with influencers creating fun, custom made cocktails. And for a cordials client, we designed, produced and delivered a clever surprise – a bespoke box that was a branded as an “at home” bartender kit.

A creative campaign we did for a lottery client using lottery tickets as a DIY craft project.

Gambling:

When working with influencers in the gambling sector, the regulations vary state by state as well. Influencers and their audiences must be located in the same state that the promotion is taking place. Influencers need also be over 21 again, and the audience percentages must be checked as well. However, lottery tickets must be shipped directly to the influencers without using a third party. Background checks may need to be performed on influencers by a third party screening company. A creative campaign we did for a lottery client involved using lottery tickets as a DIY craft project, whereby the influencers created holiday tree ornaments and wreaths. They also incorporated the lottery tickets as a great holiday gift giving idea by including them in gift guides.

Healthcare/Pharmaceutical:

 For healthcare and pharmaceutical products, oftentimes an influencer cannot try the actual product. However, campaigns can still be executed by taking a poll of influencers to see if perhaps they are caring for someone who is suffering from a particular ailment, even if they don’t suffer from it themselves. Also, the approach in healthcare and Pharma is somewhat different. It might demand that brands think about content from a new angle. Perhaps it’s about sharing a cause, a piece of news, statistics, or case studies. Maybe it’s interviewing someone about the ailment or providing education rather than Instagramming a specific product. (It’s important that any disclaimers are clearly communicated as well.) For a healthcare client, we partnered with a charity to raise awareness about heart health. Influencers addressed issues during heart health month in February, and spoke about how they helped their parents or other family members become aware of ways to improve their heart health. Additionally, for a pharmaceutical campaign, we created a virtual doctor’s office visit with a physician doing a Skype interview where the influencers learned about skincare and preventative skin cancer tips.

BabbleBoxx influencers promoted life insurance for new parents with #insureyourlove onesies.

Insurance/Finance:

 In the insurance and finance industries, because they are service oriented, they also require a different slant on content when working with influencers. For insurance, perhaps it’s providing advice like safety tips for Halloween or how to avoid fire disasters during the Holidays. For finance, it might be speaking to a money expert on creative money saving techniques. For an insurance company, we created a campaign centered around the importance of life insurance for new parents with the  #insureyourlove hashtag. We sent out “onesies” for influencers with babies and they shared  infant photos.  For a bank, we promoted National Teach Children to Save Day by having influencers take their children to a bank and set up an account. The children also received a branded piggy bank. Some brands require a post wrap-up “sentiment analysis,” where they ask for any negative comments so they can reach out confidentially at a later date.

 For any campaign, it is of course mandatory to make sure the content is thoroughly vetted by the brand as well as their legal department. Each state has a variety of restrictions for highly regulated products, but marketing campaigns should not overlook the capacity to tap into the powerful resource of influencer marketing in any industry.

 

 

 

 

Photo Credits: Marco Arrieta, The Farm Girl Gabs, Mae Amor