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Deep Dive: FTC Guidelines & How to Properly Disclose Sponsored Content

Read more on all the do’s and don’t’s.

Table of Contents

It can be hard to keep up with the FTC guidelines on partnerships and properly disclose them. It’s so important to understand the FTC’s rules. Read more on all the do’s and don’t’s. 

For starters, what is the FTC? The FTC is the Federal Trade Commission and as a consumer protection agency, they are tasked with the prevention of any deceptive or fraudulent advertising. This includes educating marketers about their responsibilities under the truth-in-advertising laws. 

It’s a breach of the FTC’s rules to publish sponsored content on your personal account without clear and conspicuous disclosure. To check out all of the rules check out the FTC’s guide, “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers.” 

When do these rules apply? Anytime you have any financial, employment, personal, or family relationship with a brand. This includes receiving a gift or being paid. It’s all about transparency. You need to make sure your followers know you are being paid or have been gifted something to promote a brand versus when you promote something just because you like it. 

It’s important to disclose sponsored content whether you are a brand or an influencer. As a brand, it’s your responsibility to make sure that you are FTC compliant. And as an influencer, even if you haven’t received instructions on how to properly disclose sponsored content, make sure you follow the FTC’s latest guidelines. 

Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Make Sure Disclosure Placement is Obvious: Make sure the disclosure is obvious to any person that engages with your content. Do not bury it among hashtags or deep in the caption. And make sure the disclosure is on your story, video, and live stream content as well. 

  2. Use Clear and Simple Language: You can use terms like “advertisement”, “ad”, “sponsored”, and even phrases like “Thanks to (brand) for the free product.” Just make sure that it is clearly visible to anyone that engages with your content. 

  3. Use the Same Language: Make sure that the disclosure itself is in the same language as the endorsement. 

  4. Share Honest Endorsements Only: Make sure you give a fair and honest endorsement. Do not talk about an experience with a product you haven’t tried or any positive review when your experience is the opposite of that. Also, never makeup claims about a product that would require scientific proof, like a medical claim. 

What about product gifting? Do you have to disclose that? Yes, according to the FTC, if a business gives you a free product with the expectation that you’ll promote or discuss you have to disclose it. It only matters when endorsements are made on behalf of a sponsoring advertiser. 

It’s a lot of information. Make sure to read up on the FTC’s guide, which you can find here. To make sure you are in compliance with the FTC.

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