Social media users today don’t want to be bothered by traditional advertising. If they see something even remotely resembling a sales pitch, they’ll swipe left in the blink of an eye. Instead, brands are turning to influencers for their marketing needs. After all, what could be better than someone giving a glowing review of your product to an already engaged audience?
As perfect a tactic as it seems, influencer marketing comes with some risks. Whether you’re already recognized as an influencer or you’re just getting started, there are some important things you should be aware of:
Influencer Marketing is Regulated by the FTC
In 2015, the Federal Trade Commission issued a set of guidelines. Specifically meant to clarify online marketers’ disclosure obligations in social media marketing. Particularly, in regard to the use of endorsements and testimonials.
Any statement made by an employee, blogger, influencer, or another person must be their honest opinion. They can’t be used to make a claim that the company couldn’t legally make themselves. In addition, they must disclose if they receive any type of incentive from the company.
The FTC considers content that fails to comply with these requirements to be deceptive advertising. Typically the advertisers or their ad agencies who are held responsible. However individuals endorsers may be held liable as well.
Disclosures and Disclaimers are Super Important
The FTC requires influencers to disclosure brand partnerships in every single post, when applicable. The rules are fairly simple and center around the four Ps:
Prominence: Disclosures should be clearly visible and written in a reasonably sized font
Presentation: Disclosures should be easily understood by consumers
Placement: Disclosures should be posted in areas where consumers would typically view content
Proximity: Disclosures should be listed beside the products or services being promoted
In addition, be careful when providing advice or recommendations as part of your review. Always protect yourself by telling your fans to consult with a professional before acting upon the information you are providing. For example, “Please consult with your doctor before beginning this or any other workout program.”
Still concerned that you may be doing social media wrong as an influencer or online business? Then check out my list of the Top 5 DON’Ts of Social Media and Online Marketing. \Building your online presence can be lucrative in more ways than one. More importantly, being aware of potential legal concerns. For more information on this and other topics like it, subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates straight to your inbox.