FTC Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers & Creators
FTC DISCLOSURES 101 FOR SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS & CREATORS
Today, we will talk about how to properly adhere to FTC disclosure requirements as a social media influencer or creator. You're going to learn:
- What is FTC
- Why it's critical to adequately disclose your partnerships
- The proper way to disclose for different types of posts
What is the FTC?
So, first of all, what is the FTC?
In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission or the FTC, is a government body that enforces civil U.S. antitrust law and promotes consumer protection.
So how does this relate to influencers? Well, it's that last part about consumer protection. They're the ones who make sure that people aren't duped by misleading or false advertising practices.
The FTC mandates that you tell your followers anytime something of value is exchanged that could impact your recommendation of a product or service.
Over the years, I've heard many creators gripe about having to disclose their sponsorships, which really never fails to surprise me, honestly. The reality is, it's the law!
In fact, the FTC has started handing out fines to both brands and influencers who fail to comply, but it also preserves your integrity and your relationship with your audience. This helps your audience to know that you're honest when you provide them recommendations.
When Do You Disclose a Partnership?
As stated previously, influencers and creators should disclose a partnership anytime something of value is exchanged. Remember, that doesn't necessarily mean money.
Let's go through a few scenarios.
- What if the brand gives you a free product in exchange for a review?
- Yes, you need to tell your followers that the item was gifted.
- What about if a brand pays you money for a post?
- Yes, although most people may already get that one.
- What about a free trip somewhere or a hotel stay?
- Absolutely! That's clearly something of value.
- What about other VIP perks? Let's say that you purchase tickets to some event, and then you subsequently got connected with the PR manager who upgraded your tickets to even better ones.
- Well, if the requirement for that upgrade was that you had to post about the event on social media, you're going to have to disclose that the perk was gifted.
I get asked all the time by creators about a partnership that seems like it's kind of a gray area whether they need to disclose or not.
My rule of thumb is just to do it.
There's seriously such little downside. Maybe a few vocal fans get annoyed but in the end, who cares? I mean, you're showing your integrity and being honest, and on the off chance that the FTC gets involved at some point, you're covered!
So now you’re probably wondering about how to exactly disclose a partnership.
How Should You Disclose Partnerships?
There are some pretty simple guidelines.
- Place it where it's impossible to miss.
- Don't bury or mix the disclosure into a group of hashtags or links.
- Use straightforward language like
- "Thanks to Acme for sponsoring this video."
- "Thanks to Acme for sending this free makeup palette."
- And of course, for text-based disclosures, you can just use #ad or #sponsored.
Don't use #sp or #spon or #collab or say that "I'm working with the brand." These are all pretty unclear, and The FTC has actually said that because the average person doesn't really understand what it means.
So let's talk about a few placement examples.
- Pictures- a disclosure in the caption is excellent
- Videos- verbally disclose it at the beginning of the video and multiple times periodically in case someone jumps in the middle of your stream for a live stream AND disclose in the caption
A few other things that the FTC cautions that you don't talk about your experience with a product that you've never tried. I talk more about that in this video.
Also, if you're interested in reading more details about all of this, the FTC actually put together a helpful guide that I've linked HERE about the proper way to disclose on social media.
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