Specialists start to tidy up the blogger and influencer sphere

Marija Vorkule
A. W. Olsen & Partners project manager

Last week on November 1 the first workshop in Latvia for bloggers and influencers was held in the mall Sky & More. Unlike the previous workshops this was dedicated to legal issues such as registration, billing, paying taxes rather than how to promote your Instagram profile. Other issues that were discussed were reputational risks, ethics in the work of influencers and the algorithms by which brands and agencies choose to collaborate.

The experts were: Maija Aramaneva – a professional full-time blogger with more than three year professional experience as well as many international brand ambassador; Marija Vorkule – communication agencies A.W. Olsen & Partners communication project manager in the Baltics as well as Digital communication awards 2018 laureate for researching and analyzing the influence market in Latvia and developing a formula for selecting influencers for the needs of a particular brand; Viktorija Kristholde-Lūse – tax specialist from law firm Vilgerts.

Event organizers Maija and Marija point out that interest in the legal aspects of blogging is very high.”There are a lot of conferences on the promotion of ones Instagram profile, however, when a blogger begins to receive collaboration offers many questions arise: how to register – as a limited liability company or as a person pursuing an economic activity or as a patent payer – what taxes should be paid in each case, how to do bookkeeping, whether you can write off expenses and if so – which ones – how to issue invoices, to what should you pay attention to when entering into contracts, and why companies are reluctant to enter into royalty agreements,” comments Maija Armaneva. “That is why we decided to organize the first workshop in Latvia, where these topics could be discussed with a tax specialist. In turn, I talked about my experiences about the things that you should pay attention to when closing a contract, including fines for failure to comply with contract terms.”

“The blogger sphere is still very new in Latvia and therefore not well arranged,” adds communication agencies A. W. Olsen & Partners project manager Marija Vorkule. “When it comes to legal issues, it often appears at the last minute that a person cannot sign an invoice and must sign a royalty agreement that can sometimes be fatal to the budget. There have been cases when invoices are issued by a blogger who is not registered with the State Revenue Service. Basically, such an invoice is something a student has written on a napkin. Often, an invoice is issued for the amount of X, but below that they have added “+ VAT 15%”, however, this is completely incorrect. There are a lot of examples of this. It is unclear how and who has to pay taxes when a gift has been received and a remuneration in the form of a barter, or if it is possible to write off expenses for a trip abroad and clothing purchased for a photo shoot. We discussed all these issues at the workshop and talked about the ethical aspect of these issues, for example, whether or not to use the stammer “sponsored post” or “advertisement” when publishing a post that has been paid for.”

The participants were also very interested in the algorithm of how and why brands choose influencers for collaborations. The organizers presented a checklist, to which the industry experts definitely pay attention to when choosing their collaboration partners, as well as talked about how micro influencers with a small number of followers attract the attention of advertisements and communication professionals.

The organizers add that such workshops will be held on a regular basis.

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