A recent survey revealed 84 percent of marketers plan on executing at least one influencer marketing campaign during the next 12 months. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) buckled down on social media endorsements and influencer regulations that were not properly disclosed, stating that “influencers should clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products through social media.”
No need to dig through the FTC’s endorsement guides—we did the digging for you. Whether you’re a marketer or influencer, here’s what you need to know about influencer regulations on social media before you click “post”:
“If I got a product for free, do I need to disclose it?”
Short answer: No. Long answer: If a brand or store gives you free product because there giving out free samples, you don’t need to disclose that product was given to you for free, nor do you have to disclose whether or not you paid for a product yourself. The only products you need to disclose are those that were given to you alongside an additional payment to promote the product.
“If I was given money to promote a product, what do I need to include in my post?”
You don’t see #spon or #ad for no reason, the FTC requires that you disclose endorsed products with proper language, even if a product is a few dollars. “Under the law, an act or practice is deceptive if it misleads “a significant minority” of consumers. Even if some readers are aware of these deals, many readers aren’t. That’s why disclosure is important,” states the FTC guides. Simply including a campaign hashtag doesn’t cut it, you must include something along the lines of “sponsored,” “spon,” “ad,” etc.—it needs to be clear.
“What if I’m paid to endorse a product but I don’t like it?”
If you don’t like a product that you’re paid to promote, you can’t say that you like it because it’s an endorsement. You must give your honest opinion and the accurate experience—no lying allowed. You also cannot talk about your experience with a product or brand if you haven’t, in fact, tried it.
Overall, always disclose your promotions. Not only to abide by the FTC’s guidelines and influencer regulations, but also for your followers. Remember, if you’re an influencer, or a marketer working with influencers, you want influencers to be honest with their followers to further build and nurture trust with their readers.