All of our feeds are filled with influencer post but the thing is a lot of them are out of compliance. Even going back and looking at some of my own post made me realize I have some that are incorrect. I don’t think a lot of people understand is there are LEGAL guidelines to these things. Even with a small shop, you are required to follow certain guidelines according to the FTC and if not you could receive a warning or a fine.
What is FTC?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government. Its job is to protect consumers from deceptive or fraudulent business practices and fair competition. They also collect complaints, do investigations, sue violators of the law, and create new regulations. In last year or two, they have been pushing down on influencers for not correctly promoting brands on social media per the FTC guidelines. Here are the guidelines. It is a lot, right? Well, that’s why I thought I would hit the main points for Instagram sponsorships.
“The Guides, at their core, reflect the basic truth-in-advertising principle that endorsements must be honest and not misleading. An endorsement must reflect the honest opinion of the endorser and can’t be used to make a claim that the product’s marketer couldn’t legally make.”– FTC Guidelines Website
What Type of Collabs Require Influencer Disclosures?
- Free or Discounted Products or Services: If a brand says they will give you a discount to post a photo of their clothes or sends you an item or gives you a service for free.
- Money Payments or Gift Cards: If a brand gives you any form of money (paypal, store credit, gift card, cash, check, etc).
- Employee or Business Relationship: If you work for or have any business relationship with the company you must let your followers know this.
- Friendships: Yes, Even if you are showing off a necklace designed by your BFF you must still let your follows know.
- Family Relationships: Your sister starts a line of clothing you must let people know of the relationship.
- Giveaways or Sweepstakes: If a brand ask for you to run a giveaway for them you must let your follows know of this relationship.
What Happens If You Don’t Follow?
This is something that is a hot topic and being actively worked on by the FTC. Right now you will be sent a warning and will be asked to add #AD to the front of your post. Though they have been cracking down on this issue as influencer marketing skyrockets. The best thing to do is to follow the guidelines because when the new rules and regulations drop it will be better to be in compliance than to get caught out of compliance.