If you’re a brand that’s advertising anything online, it is advisable to know how to adhere to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines. If you’re a brand that’s actively advertising on social media, there are a lot more nuanced rules you have to be alert to.
The existing preferred approach to advertising on social media is through influencers, popular content creators who’ve amassed large followings predicated on the merit of their content. The FTC has implemented consumer protection laws to make sure that items and services for sale are accurately being portrayed by brands, which reaches their portrayal by influencers.
As brands continue steadily to partner with social media influencers through paid advertisements, they have to be more than simply alert to the FTC guidelines, but compliant. The FTC has recently taken action against companies who’ve not followed suit.
Earlier this June, the FTC updated their guidelines for brands for the very first time since 2010. While their underlying message hasn’t changed, they have added updated guidelines for social media conditions that did not exist this year 2010.
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Influencers are trusted by their audience as experts on certain topics or content categories. Therefore, they’re trusted authorities of their respective fields, so its very important to them to respect the trust they’ve earned from their audience and draw a distinction between an individual recommendation and a sponsored recommendation. Influencers who are posting must clearly and conspicuously state their relationship with the brand. The golden rule for influencers is: When in doubt, disclose.
Contest and sweepstakes are no exception to the FTC. When an influencer is promoting a contest on the social media account, a clear disclosure must go with it. In this instance, the duty falls on the contest’s sponsor, so if your brand is promoting a contest through influencers, be sure that they know about this important responsibility.
On Twitter, the FTC will not take the 140 character limit as a justification for non-disclosure. They advise that influencers use #ad, because it takes only three characters to maintain compliance — and tweet property is precious.
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Successful social media advertising has to be able to fall based on the influencer’s existing voice. Consumers turn to their favorite influencers because of their recommendations, whether or not or not they are engaged in sponsored posts, so it’s not only the FTC that influencers need to worry about when disclosing sponsored content.
Individuals are quick to guage when advertising on social attempts to be surreptitious. Hence, it is important for influencers to check out guidelines not only due to legal requirements, but also because they are able to serve as helpful guardrails for influencers to keep transparency because of their followers.
To keep your brand safe, be sure that the influencers you partner with know the FTC’s guidelines. They are not only suggestions, they’re requirements, no brand wants to be produced a good example of by the FTC.
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