The Blogger Guide To FTC Guidelines
If you are an avid social media user, you've probably heard all about the FTC (that's the Federal Trade Commission, btw) and how scary they can be. With the rise of paid social media partnerships, the FTC has cracked down on how influencers and celebrities disclose said partnerships.
You probably heard all about celebrities receiving notices about FTC guidelines, but even if you aren't a Kardashian, you should be paying attention if you ever do sponsored posts on your feed.
Confused about what you need to do? Here is SIMPLY's handbook to FTC guidelines to help you out—it's not as scary as it sounds, we promise!
What Do I Need To Disclose?
Basic rule: If you’re being compensated or rewarded in some way for what you post, then you need to disclose that fact. Compensation means free product, services, discounts, or straight up cash.
How Do I Disclose?
Here are the three most important things to remember when disclosing:
- Make it clear.
- Make it noticeable.
- Make it honest!
For clarity, the FTC recommends phrases like “This product was given to me by…” or “This post sponsored by…”. These phrases can be said out loud in a video or typed in a caption. For Instagram and Twitter, you can use designated hashtags like #ad or #sponsored. Hashtags like #sp or #collab don’t count!
To be noticeable, keep your disclosures towards the beginning of your caption. Same goes for hashtags: don’t bury at the end or mix them in with other hashtags. Don’t forget to use a font and color that’s easy to read. You never want to look like you're trying to hide things from your followers or deceiving them, so keep those disclosures where readers can easily find them.
Finally, make it honest! Don’t say that you’ve used the product if you haven’t, and don’t claim it works if it doesn’t.
Other People Aren't Disclosing; Why Should I?
Think of it like running a stop sign while driving: sure, maybe no one caught you this time, but running a stop sign is still against the law. Eventually, someone is going to catch you.
If you’re reported to the FTC for a violation, you can be sent a warning or be fined. That may not be a big deal for celebrities, but the fines can be pretty steep!
More importantly, having transparency with your following will bring you more loyalty in the long run. The trust of your followers is everything, so don't hurt that trust by not disclosing paid partnerships.