The FTC is the Federal Trade Commission and are tasked with the duty of protecting consumers. This is great for us as consumers, but with the rise of influencer marketing, there are definitely blind spots and areas of the law that can be confusing. Read on to learn how you as an influencer and/or a brand can easily comply with FTC requirements.
The FTC requires that if there is a material relationship between a business and an influencer that needs to be disclosed clearly and obviously. Yes, this includes gifted and free items as well. The idea is that we as consumers trust influencers and give more weight to what they are recommending. However, the FTC wants it to be clear to us as cpnsumers that the influencer may be biased in some way toward the product/service they are recommending because they were gifted or paid to promote the product or service. This is a good thing for us as consumers, but as influencers and brands it might be a bit confusing. So here are some simple ways you can protect yourself and your brand and easily follow FTC requirements:
On every post you make that you have a material relationship with a brand state such relationship. You must clearly do this by saying so if you are on video or writing it clearly in a blog post or social media post.
You can use hashtags to show that this is promoted material. Some common hashtags are #sponsored #ad #advertisement.
If you are posting on stories you must include a hashtag or some sort of disclosure on every individual story. This is a requirement because stories expire and people may miss the initial story or disclosure.
Just using the built in disclosure tools (like instagram and facebook’s branded content tool, or YouTube’s paid promotion notification) was said to not be enough by the FTC. You must clearly disclose your relationship as stated in 1 and 2 above.
Affiliate disclosures are treated as a material relationship. This means you must disclose that it is not only an affiliate link, but you must tell the consumer that if they click the link and make a purchase you will get some portion of the sale.
If you are a partner or ambassador, the FTC has said that merely using #Xpartner is not enough. You need to disclose and make it clear that you were paid or giving something for free in exchange for the post.
Video posts must include a verbal disclosure and one in text as well.
Use must disclose freebies!
Although that seems like a lot of rules, the answer is easy. Always be transparent and disclose your relationship with the brand. If you want a more in depth explaination, head here for some tips and FAQ’s from the FTC.
If you are an influencer or brand and want some legal advice and help on the topic, feel free to schedule a free 15 minute call with me to see how I can help you!