🚨 FTC Regulations that Affect Social Media Managers

Now that the recent (7/26/23) Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Guide Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials In Advertising has been published for a month, it’s important to look at how it may impact the work social media managers do for their clients.

The biggest message is full disclosure is important! No longer will tiny type or a few words cover you! We created a summary for you here :point_down:

If you want to read it yourself, go here FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking

Key Things to Know

:mag: Clear Relationship Disclosures: Make sure every influencer or brand partnership is clearly disclosed. Always disclose any form of relationship with a brand, whether it’s sponsorship, affiliation, or a free product.

👁‍🗨 Visible Placement: Position your disclosure where it’s most likely to be seen. Near the beginning of a blog post or video is best.

:hash: Hashtag Usage: Utilize #sponsored, #ad, or #partner to clarify the nature of the post.

:left_speech_bubble: Language Alignment: Match disclosure language with the language of the content itself.

:clapper: Multi-Disclosure in Long Content: If content exceeds a few minutes, pepper disclosures throughout.

:moneybag: Affiliate Clarity: Clarify affiliate relationships both verbally and in captions or text.

:x: No Vague Terms: Swap out ambiguous hashtags like #comped or #hosted for more explicit wording.

:movie_camera: Visual & Verbal: Use both visual and verbal disclosures in video content.

:bird: Tweet Wisely: Even on Twitter’s 280-char limit, make sure disclosures are crisp and clear.

:warning: No Hidden Disclosures: Keep disclosures upfront, not hidden in dropdown menus or behind links.

:trophy: Contest Tags: Clearly indicate if a post is part of a contest or sweepstakes.

:timer_clock: Periodic Reminders: For lengthy live streams, remind viewers intermittently about your brand relationship.

:scroll: Platform Rules: Always adhere to the terms and policies of each social platform.

:earth_africa: Global Compliance: Know international disclosure laws if you have a global audience.

If you run social media contests

taken directly from FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking

My company runs contests and sweepstakes on social media. To enter, participants have to send a Tweet or make a pin with the hashtag #XYZ_Rocks. (“XYZ” is the name of my product.) Isn’t that enough to notify readers that the posts were incentivized?

No. Many readers would likely not understand a hashtag like that to mean those posts were made as part of a contest or that the posters had received something of value (in this case, a chance to win the contest prize). Making the word “contest” or “sweepstakes” part of the hashtag (e,g., #XZY_Contest or #XYZ_Sweepstakes) should be enough. However, the word “sweeps” probably isn’t because it’s likely that many people wouldn’t understand what that means. You should also instruct participants where to make the disclosure so that it’s clear and conspicuous (e.g., at the beginning of the post).

Is #sweepstakes by itself a good enough disclosure?

No. Let’s say that JKL-Cola is having a sweepstakes and, to enter, a consumer has to make a Facebook post identifying their happiest place to drink JKL-Cola and submit a screenshot of the post. If a consumer posts, “My happiest place to drink JKL-Cola is in my jacuzzi. #sweepstakes,” their social media friends or followers might not understand that the post was incentivized by a sweepstakes. It would be clearer if the consumer said, “My happiest place to drink JKL-Cola is in my jacuzzi. #JKLCola_Sweepstakes.”

Just announced…TikTok creators can now disclose paid partnerships on text posts :tada: