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FTC Influencer Guidelines For Dummies

Never miss a #ad with the complete guide to FTC regulations on social media, and ensure your influencer campaigns are in full compliance.

Lena Young
December 10, 2019

We’ve all seen an #ad in an Instagram post. This is the easiest way to disclose a sponsored collaboration while adhering to FTC (Federal Trade Commission) regulations. But, there is way more to being FTC complacent.

The FTC works to prevent fraudulent advertising on social media. And, as a majority of social media advertising is done through influencers…I’m pretty sure you get the point. Back in 2017, the FTC got on Jersey Shore alum Snooki for not properly disclosing sponsorships, and ever since she has been a #ad champ.

As the influencer industry expands so too does the scope of the FTC’s social media regulations. So, if you’re in the field of influencer marketing you’ve got to get down with the FTC. And, it’s not just a one-time thing, you’ve got to stay on top of your FTC game. 

The FTC began cracking down in influencers in 2017, and recently released a new set of guidelines outlining influencer marketing disclosure. While the new regulations are easier to follow than before, it can still be daunting. So, here’s a simple FTC rule book every influencer marketer should have.

What Should Influencers Disclose?

The main goal of FTC regulations is ensuring that viewers are making unbiased decisions. The primary factors concerning the FTC are compensation, employment, and personal or family relationships with a brand. 

  1. If a brand compensates an influencer in any way, not just financially, to mention a product
  2. If an influencer received free products 
  3. If an influencer receives “perks” such as discounts, gift cards, experiences or more 
  4. If there is any personal relationship it should be clearly stated and not assumed 

Do Foreign Influencers Need To Be FTC Complacent?

While the FTC is a US legal body, its authority can apply to posts made from outside the US if it will impact US consumers. 

So, if you’re a brand partnering with a foreign influencer it’s important to research their audience demographics. If a majority of their followers are US based, make sure they are adhering to FTC guidelines. 

How To Properly Disclose an Influencer Sponsorship

One of the main concerns of the FTC is that viewers can easily see that a post is an ad. This means clear languaging and obvious payment of an ad mention. Here is a breakdown of how influencers should clearly disclose an advertisement:

  1. The endorsement should be in the post description of the product. Not in a post comment. 
  2. Influencer should avoid putting disclosure at the end of of a post that requires a “Read More” action
  3. Disclosures should not be placed in a string of hashtags i.e.; #life #vacation #pool #spain #ad #weekend #blessed #sun 
  4. When posting an image on Instagram stories or Snapchat, the disclosure should be clearly placed on top of the image 
  5. When posting a video, the disclosure should be mentioned in the video not just in the video description 
  6. When posting a live stream, the disclosure should be stated multiple times for new viewers who join

Where does the #ad go? 

Plot twist! It’s not required to post #ad, though it is the most common form of disclosure. There are many ways influencers can disclose sponsored collaborations. Terms like advertisements or sponsored are fine without a hashtag, so is thanking brands for a free product in the post description.

However, terms like “spon” “adver” and other abbreviations should not be used. And, obviously, if an influencer is posting in English the disclosure should be in English as well.  

If you’d like more information, the FTC provided a new guide for its regulations here.

Now that you’re an FTC expert it’s time to start your next campaign. Schedule a demo and learn how Klear can help you during every stage of your influencer collaboration.