Qianna Smith Bruneteau and a group of 12 influencers convened the American Influencer Council (AIC), a nonprofit, invite-only trade association meant to “advance digital marketing education as well as the art and authenticity of co-branded content as shared through social media platforms for the ultimate benefit of society.” The council was announced on the 10th anniversary of Social Media Day, June 30.
The group’s formation comes at a time when marketers are increasingly utilizing micro-influencers, with some predicting the end for mega-influencers and celebrities is near.
The influencer marketing industry is set to reach $9.7 billion this year and $15 billion by 2023. In addition to creating content for brands, many influencers launch their own product lines and digital ventures. Yet professional influencers have been typecast as just social content creators instead of small business owners.
“Clickbait headlines claiming the age of influencers is over undermine the contributions of creators to the U.S. GDP. The AIC and our Founding Members are right on time to usher in a new era of legitimacy for career influencers, who are American small business owners and media innovators,” said Smith Bruneteau in a press release.
Through a five-pronged approach comprising legislative action, mentorship of future influencers and the advancement of digital marketing education, AIC aims to give influencers the recognition they deserve.
In terms of consumer transparency, AIC wishes to lay the foundation for a global code of ethics within the influencer marketing industry. The AIC recently publicly commented to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) proposed rule concerning endorsement guidelines, calling on the FTC to encourage a partnership among the “Big 6” social media platforms that produces visual and language standardizations for sponsored content.
AIC also plans to develop market-relevant operating standards to help prevent influencer fraud and encourage research on the influencers’ contributions to the economy.
To support the next generation of influencers, AIC will advance digital marketing education at the university level and offer mentorships.
Lastly, AIC says it will create an innovation lab and host events to promote the influencer trade.
To become an AIC member, an influencer must be a leader within the social media and digital content space and be nominated by two current AIC members. The group will accept up to 15 new members in 2020.
AIC founder Smith Bruneteau was the 10th annual Shorty Award winner for “Best Celebrity/Influencer Campaign on Snapchat,” and third annual Social Good Shorty Award winner for “Best Use of Live-Streaming Video.”
Founding members of the AIC include board chairwoman Chriselle Lim, board co-vice president Brittany Xavier, Rocky Barnes and Danielle Bernstein, among others.