The FTC Influencer Guidelines
There has been a tremendous increase in the popularity of social media influencers among brands. And a growing number of brands have become interested in collaborating with social media influencers. This has brought on a host of challenges as well, especially when it comes to maintaining transparency about brand-influencer relationships. So the FTC created guidelines that brands and influencers must follow.
The FTC protects consumers from unfair and deceptive business practices. The new FTC rules for influencers precisely mention that influencers have to clearly reveal brand endorsements to their followers in their posts. These new FTC rules for influencers cannot be overlooked by brands, marketers, or influencers. Also, it is important that brands understand how exactly the new FTC rules for influencers will affect their campaigns.
So, this article discusses the important takeaways of the FTC guidelines for brands and will also help them run successful influencer marketing campaigns in accordance with the new FTC rules for influencers.
Key Takeaways for Brands from the FTC Rules for Influencers
The FTC rules for influencers are vital because they help consumers differentiate between paid advertisements and organic posts. The disclosure guidelines also help followers understand if they are just engaging with their favorite influencer or being marketed to.
Some social media platforms provide tools which can help you design your influencer marketing campaigns in accordance with the FTC rules. These tools on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and other social platforms will help you simplify your efforts to comply with disclosure guidelines.
Under the FTC rules for influencers, Instagram introduced a “Paid Partnership with” tag in March 2017. This tag will help your influencers easily highlight any sponsored content. In addition to this, ask your influencers to use hashtags like #paid, #ad, or #sponsored to further disclose your partnership.
Also, make sure to mention the disclosure at the beginning of the content or before the “More” button. Ensure that your influencers don’t use vague hashtags like #ambassador, #sp, or #spon. For Instagram Stories, you need to ask you influencer to superimpose a disclosure on the image.
Just like Instagram, Facebook has launched a Branded Content Tool and new policies regarding influencer marketing. This also helps your influencers simplify the disclosure process so they can easily comply with the FTC rules for influencers. First, ask your influencers to request access to the Branded Content Tool.
Once they fill out the form, Facebook will allow them to tag branded content. Influencers can tag the content based on the objective of the campaign and the type of content they post.
Your influencers can use hashtags like #paid or #sponsored and tag the brand to disclose sponsorship. If it is video content, they should clearly disclose sponsorship by displaying text over the video or speaking about it in the video. Make sure they don’t use vague phrases like “video was made possible by…“ or “ Thanks to…”
YouTube has introduced a feature that allows creators to add an optional text disclosure statement for video campaigns. This will help you and your YouTube creators to maintain transparency about your relationship in accordance with the FTC rules for influencers.
If your influencer is a YouTube creator, ask them to visit their video manager page in the Creator Studio and then follow the steps below to complete the process.
First, they should select the video on which they need to add a disclosure and click “edit.” Then go to the “Info and Settings” tab and click “Advanced Settings.” Next, search for the “Content declaration” section and tick the box if the video is a paid promotion.
This YouTube process might seem a bit difficult to follow but it is important to avoid any future issues related to FTC disclosure. In addition to this tool, you can also use unambiguous and clear phrases like, “This video is sponsored by…” And add the sponsorship information above the “show more” button.
Make sure that the disclosure is added in both written and verbal form and add it at the beginning of the video.
For endorsements in blog posts, make sure to add a disclosure with precise and clear phrases. You can ask your influencer to use phrases like, “This post is sponsored by…” in a clear and legible font.
In addition to this, to adhere to the FTC rules for influencers, your bloggers should add a disclosure right at the beginning of the post. This will ensure that their readers don’t have to scroll down to understand the nature of the post.
If you’re running a campaign on Twitter, ask your influencers to include #paid or #ad in sponsored tweets. Along with these hashtags, your influencers can also mention and tag your brand, whenever applicable.
FTC Guidelines for Communication
Apart from FTC endorsement guidelines for social platforms, there are FTC guidelines for communication as well. Brands need to follow these communication guidelines as well to avoid getting in trouble with the FTC.
When it comes to hashtags, brands should avoid vague hashtags like #partner, #collab, #sp, or #spon. Clearly, these hashtags don’t reflect the nature of sponsored content. So, you need to ask your influencers to use #sponsored, #paid, or #ad in their post.
Also, make sure that your influencer includes the disclosure hashtags at the very beginning of the content.
Phrases like, “Paid for by…” “This product was given to me by…” and/or “Sponsored by…” are also acceptable to comply with the FTC communication guidelines.
However, ensure that your influencer never uses more ambiguous language like, “This brand rocks!” “Thanks to…” “In partnership with…” and/or “In collaboration with…” Such language will not help you abide by the FTC rules for influencers.