29 Jun Don’t be Afraid to Disclose: Updates on FTC Requirements for Influencer Marketing
Rather than relying on television commercials and glossy print ads in magazines, more and more people are turning to their favorite social media celebrities for inspiration and guidance on the next product to purchase. It’s only natural for people to trust individuals they admire and look up to. As digital influencers build loyal followers that hang on every word of advice they provide, brands want to incorporate their content in an authentic manner. Many companies incorrectly fear that disclosing paid relationships with these tastemakers will be a turnoff to their followers. However, avoiding the disclosure guidelines put in place by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an unnecessary risk when it comes to working with influencers.
Breaking Down the FTC Guidelines
Influencer Marketing has become a big enough industry that it is now a necessity to provide proper disclosure. The Guidelines put forth by the FTC “reflect the basic truth-in-advertising principle that endorsements must be honest and not misleading.” Any connection between an endorser and a marketer that a consumer would not expect must be disclosed. Below are some key points to follow to avoid violating the FTC Guidelines in your next influencer marketing campaign:
- Require influencers to use the proper hashtags in their content (examples: #sponsored or #ad). Note that abbreviations such as #spon will not be sufficient.
- Ensure that influencers provide disclosure if they are compensated as well if they receive a complimentary product in exchange for promotion on social media.
- Confirm that the influencers will post disclosures that are easy to read and close to the claims they are related to (i.e make sure they are made within the same post.)
- Note that “branded content tools from Facebook and Instagram are helpful in providing additional clarity and access to metrics, but marketers should proceed with caution since the FTC doesn’t consider these tools adequate for disclosure.”
Why You Don’t Need to Fear Disclosure
With the growing popularity of Influencer Marketing, more and more consumers are familiar with how these social media stars earn income from sponsored collaborations. While it was once frowned upon, it is the new normal. “Although there is some evidence that disclosure will lead to lower engagement with branded posts, surveys also show that consumers generally appreciate transparency and honesty from marketers and influencers.”
In addition to building trust from potential new customers, open collaborations can also help build credibility for your brand. Seeing that a prestigious digital influencer is partnering with a company can help elevate that brand in the eyes of their followers. When choosing your influencers, carefully selecting people that naturally fit with your business will help to keep the content authentic for followers even when providing proper disclosure. There is no longer a need to risk fines from the FTC!
Need help ensuring that your influencer marketing campaigns comply with the FTC Guidelines? We would love to chat! Please contact us at:firstname.lastname@example.org.