Dupe influencers on social media are a growing problem. They promote fake goods on the sly, and some even encourage their followers to gravitate to fakes because of their “affordability.” Let’s look at how prevalent the practice is, and the steps you can take to protect your brand on social media.
A growing influence
A new study from the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) shows that social media influencers sway as much as 10% of consumers to buy counterfeit goods. In most instances (7%), the consumer was aware that the products were fake. The remaining 3% were deceived into thinking that the products were real. The study’s findings show that robust social media monitoring is crucial to maintaining the integrity of brands.
Both foreign and domestic agencies have promised to do more to monitor this kind of activity. But still, much of the policing falls on the trademark, copyright, patent, and brand owner. Take these 6 steps to protect your brand:
- Use online monitoring tools to constantly search for posts using your brand name. Pay particular attention to ones that also use keywords like cheap or discount.
- If you find an instance of a counterfeit endorsement, first reach out to the influencer. They may not be aware that the product is fake. Direct outreach can also help avoid PR headaches.
- If they are unwilling to cooperate, report the infringement via the social media platform’s reporting tools. Facebook and Instagram have Counterfeit Report Forms to report content that promotes counterfeit goods. Facebook has claimed posts can be removed within a day, if not a few hours.
- Reach out to e-commerce platforms that buy and sell the promoted items. Amazon has filed lawsuits against influencers for advertising, promoting, and facilitating the sale of counterfeit luxury goods in the past. Be prepared to escalate the issue if necessary.
- Be selective about the social media influencers you choose to work with. Partner with a small number of trusted influencers to retain control over the use of your brand.
- Educate your customers about your official selling channels and endorsed partners. Also, help them understand how to spot suspicious endorsements and fake products.
The bottom line
I know you want your name to inspire trust and value, so don’t let it and your reputation be stolen, poached, or spoofed. There are ways to protect your work on your own. But when we work together, you are partnering with someone who has been practicing Intellectual Property Law exclusively since 1996. This means I am actively helping you identify, register, and police your inventions, brands, and creations. Contact me today for results you can count on. I look forward to hearing from you.