Whether you are an advertiser that uses influencers in your marketing or an influencer who works with brands a new publication issued by the FTC is one you should read. It is called Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers.

The publication is written for non-lawyers and summarizes the basics, namely explaining that if you endorse a product or service through social media, your endorsement message should make it obvious when you have a relationship – a “material connection” – with the brand. It addresses:

  • How does the disclosure requirement apply in pictures, videos, and live streams?
  • What about tags, likes, and pins?
  • What kind of wording effectively discloses a material connection?
  • What about influencers who post from outside the United States?
  • What if a person doesn’t have a relationship with a brand, but is just telling others about a product they bought and happen to like?
  • Is it OK to assume a platform’s disclosure tool is good enough? (Spoiler alert: No, that’s not OK.)

If you work regularly with influencers, you can get free copies from the FTC bulk order site to share with your team, or use to supplement your contracts with influencers and training efforts.

Takeaway:  I recommend you get the booklet, read it and distribute it – but remember, if you are an advertiser or an agency working on an advertiser’s behalf, you are also required to monitor your influencers so merely distributing these disclosure guidelines is not sufficient in and of itself.