Suppose you are a social media influencer who promotes products on your social media outlets or online blogs or is an e-commerce business that hires social media influencers to advertise your brand. Then you should be aware of the new rules put in place by the Federal Trade Commission to protect consumers from undisclosed online advertising conflicts. With online users and social media titans becoming a new trend to market business products on their platform, the FTC has implemented a new publication for online influencers that outlines the FTC’s basic rules and guidelines for using big-time social media presence when advertising online. For example, in the FTC’s “Disclosure 101,” they provide a selection of tips for how to make a good disclosure and when to make them. Described below are a few main informational tips you should know before advertising on your social media platform.
Make Material Connection Obvious
Truth and honesty is the best commodity for any influencer marketing. When posting about a product for value or in exchange for profits, it is crucial to make what you are posting knowing that you are about to profit from that particular post. This is easier said than done because it would be easy to just run a command to your followers without disclosing such information and making the connection with the product, you, and the company or (Brand), but it comes off as deceptive. This is precisely what the FTC is looking for when distributing fines. With that being said, nowadays, social media users can usually tell when a post is being advertised solely based upon that influencer’s following base. Anything more than 10,000 followers posting with a brand is most likely being paid. This is why it is wise to let your following know that you are about to post a paid ad rather than having them feel as if you may be deceiving them. According to the FTC, a “material connection” also includes a personal, family, or employment relationship. Meaning, if you make a post describing how much you love the cheese from “Johns Deli” (the company your brother owns) – it may be considered deceptive marketing if you did not also disclose that your brother owns that business in your post.
Familiarize Yourself With Endorsement Guidelines
Agreeing to post for compensation while you are an influencer in exchange for profit is ok as long as you take responsibility for your business by complying with all FTC rules rather than relying on the company that is paying you to watch your every move. You need to hold yourself and your business accountable for any future mishaps because, in the end, the FTC may look past the company since it’s your platform that is being utilized, which means you will be receiving the fines if any are handed out.
Never Assume Disclose Disclose Disclose
Here are a few bullet points to be aware of when disclosing what you are advertising on your social media platforms:
One exception to the rule of disclosure is if you post about a brand that you like but don’t have a relationship with. Then there is no need to tell your followers that you have no connection with that brand if you deem it necessary. With that being said, you also should not speak to your followers; you have a brand relationship if you actually do not.
Never Fabricate Claims About A Product
It is essential to share your opinions with your followers about products but backing that opinion up with truth and honesty. It is not ok to tell your viewership that a product is fantastic if it’s terrible just because you have a paid relationship with that company. That’s referred to as deceptive marketing, and you should be expecting a fine for such behavior. It’s also frowned upon to talk about an experience with a product that you’ve never tried yourself; that is lying. The FTC demands that you be honest to your followers about the products you promote, especially if you want to keep your fans and viewership.
Here at Enara Law PLLC, we believe you are following the FTC guidelines, but sometimes that’s not enough. Ecommerce retailers and online businesses need to make sure that they enforce the FTC influencer guidelines within their industry and with their partners. Best practices dictate having a written agreement between the company and the influencer to make sure compliance is spelled out clearly. Having contracts and agreements in place only sheds that much more protection for you and your brand.
If you are a social influencer or an online marketer dealing with FTC investigations or compliance issues, Contact The Social Media Law Attorneys At Enara Law. We know what success looks like.