Influencer Marketing and FTC Regulations: What You Need to Know
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regularly updates its guidelines for endorsements. Every time it does, waves of panic spread across social media, as everyone scrambles to make sure they’re following the new rules.
Of course, everyone wants to play fair — because skirting or just plain ignoring FTC guidelines can get your brand in trouble (hefty fines and Internet backlash can cost people’s jobs and brands’ reputations). But playing it safe can go too far, too. How can you tell if you’re doing it right?
Don’t lose sight of the big picture: The FTC’s purpose is to protect consumers from being deceived. So, bottom line: Don’t be deceptive! Use disclosures any time you or your influencers are encouraging people to read sponsored content that they otherwise wouldn’t know was sponsored.
That said, you don’t have to go overboard. If your influencer is tweeting “Join me and [Brand Name] for a Twitter chat today using hashtag #BrandHashtag” you don’t need to add #ad to the Tweet. The brand sponsorship is clearly indicated.
A sponsored Instagram caption that reads, “Trying these new leggings today that [Brand Name] sent me. What do you think? #ootd” does not also need #ad. The relationship between the brand and the influencer is spelled out.
The FTC isn’t “out to get” influencers. It simply wants to curb aggressively bad behavior. As long as influencers disclose content that is affected by their relationship with a brand, everyone wins.