The US government wants to give social media influencers some tips on how to stay out of trouble when it comes to endorsements. The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday released a guide on when influencers need to post a disclosure and how to most effectively do so.
Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers breaks down the rules on disclosures, such as informing influencers that they must make it obvious when they have a relationship with a brand if they're endorsing a product or service on social media.
The FTC also published a video with reminders such as disclosing relationships when promoting a brand that pays them or gives them free stuff or discounts.
"The guide outlines the various ways that an influencer's relationship with a brand would make disclosures necessary, and it reminds influencers that they cannot assume that followers are aware of their connections to brands," an FTC release says.
The guide also suggests what wording influencers might use when disclosing a relationship and where in their posts disclosures should be.
The FTC has sent reminders to influencers before about the need to clearly disclose any brand relationships when promoting products on social media. In 2017, the agency sent more than 90 letters to influencers after groups including Public Citizen filed petitions on influencer advertising on Instagram, and after FTC staff reviewed Instagram posts.
The new brochure summarizes the FTC's Endorsement Guides, which state that if there's a "connection that might affect the weight or credibility that consumers give the endorsement," it should be clearly stated, "unless it is already clear from the context of the communication." The Endorsement Guides apply to marketers and endorsers, the FTC states.