There’s no question about it – 2015 has been the year of influencers. Brands are increasingly turning to popular YouTubers, Instagrammers and industry experts to help promote ideas, services and products to their communities. The content these influencers create is so valuable, in part because when done right, it blends effortlessly with the editorial content being shared by the influencer. The problem is the content often integrates so well, that the FTC has laid out strict disclosure guidelines that brands and influencers must follow when engaging in a partnership.
Here are two you should be aware of before executing your digital strategy:
Any beneficial relationship between an endorser and a marketer must be disclosed: If there is a connection between an endorser and the marketer that consumers would not expect and it would affect how consumers evaluate the endorsement, that connection should be disclosed. This technically includes if an influencer is compensated to ‘like’ or ‘share’ a post. The concept of compensation is wide-ranging and can mean anything from money, to referral discount incentives to products. One way to indicate a post is sponsored is to include #sp (sponsored), #ad (advertising) or directly indicating the content was sponsored in the post or video copy.
Your ad content must reflect the average experience, not the exception: If the advertiser doesn’t have proof that experience of the endorser represents what the average consumer will experience using the product as described in the ad, then they can’t portray that experience.
When turning to influencers to promote your content, be sure to disclose the sponsorship and that the experience is correctly portrayed. This will ensure you are adhering to the guidelines and are set up for a smooth (and legal) campaign.