Influencer marketing has a massive industry, and most marketers include it in their marketing strategy. Knowingly, influencer marketing has grown to be quite effective.
With the increasing popularity of various social media platforms, various social media celebrities and influencers filter, post, and hashtag their way to immense popularity and fortune.
Influencers’ fame and influential power have attracted various brands and businesses to work with them. Additionally, the collaboration helps the brands to attain higher reach and communicate with their customers.
In fact, Instagram influencer marketing alone is currently a massive industry of 1.3+ billion potential viewers.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has enforced some federal consumer protection laws to prevent deception, fraud, and unfair business practices.
In the month of April 2017, the FTC sent notice to more than 90 celebrities, influencers, and brands on Instagram mentioning its rules and regulations.
Honestly speaking, celebrities and influencers have been known for neglecting proper disclosures on sponsored content.
One study conducted some time back revealed that only 7% of the top 50 celebrities and influencers on the platform are in compliance with the FTC influencer guidelines — and 93% are not!
Similar to every other advertising industry, influencer marketing and celebrity social media endorsements are also monitored by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).
Talking about social media marketing, the government agency provides protection against any unfair business practices when it comes to paid content.
Earlier, the FTC had filed a few complaints against big brands like Lord & Taylor for neglecting proper disclosures on paid content on social media channels.
In the write-up, I’ll be talking about the FTC influencer guidelines for Instagram and why FTC offenses in celebrity social media endorsements matter.
So, you best read to know more, it’s something you do not want to miss.
The FTC Influencer Guidelines
The rules of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are not new. However, in the year 2020, the agency had reviewed its Endorsement Guides to see whether it’s working fine or not.
In one of his interviews, the commissioner of FTC, Rohit Chopra, said that when any influencer posts about their interests to earn extra money on the platform, that’s not a significant cause of concern.
He added that it’s illegal when any brand pays an influencer to advertise its product in a seemingly authentic endorsement or review.
Given below are the FTC influencer guidelines that any influencer needw to keep in mind while collaborating with brands:
1. Disclose Everything
FTC, in its guidelines, strictly mentions that each influencer should disclose every information regarding brand endorsement to their audiences.
If by any chance, the FTC finds that any influencer is accused of hiding necessary information from consumers, this government agency is likely to charge the influencer for the same.
2. Ensure that The Disclosure Is Clear
As per the FTC influencer guidelines, each influencer needs to disclose everything clearly within each post, story, or video that is shared.
Therefore, if any influencer uses confusing or ambiguous language on their sponsored post, then it’s like playing with fire.
Remember that you (influencers) are the person who is responsible for making sure that every post is in conformity with the FTC influencer guidelines.
3. Endorse the Thighs that Actually Have Worked for You
The Federal Trade Commission suggests influencers endorse only those things that have actually worked for themselves.
That means if anyone endorsed a beauty product, they must have used the same product at some point.
And that’s one reason why many brands give influencers free or reduced-priced products or services.
Along with creating goodwill among the influencers, this practice helps ensure compliance with the FTC influencer guidelines.
1. Forget to Mention the Business Relationship
According to the FTC, an influencer should never forget to mention business relationships, and that’s something the agency takes pretty seriously.
As a matter of fact, failure to disclose business relationships is one of the most common reasons why influencers get fined by a strict government agency.
Besides that, the brands also get penalized if an influencer fails to disclose their business relationships.
In other terms, anyone who gets any form of benefits from a business relationship is liable when that relationship is not properly disclosed.
2. Obscure Any Disclosure
The Federal Trade Commission has made it very clear in its guidelines that revelation of sponsorships and business relationships must be done in a way that can’t be missed.
That is, in the case of paid video content which is more than a few minutes, it’s better for influencers to acknowledge the sponsorship at various points throughout the content.
Consequently, anyone who watches any portion of the video will get to know that the video has been sponsored.
3. Assume that Audience Knows about Your Relationship with Brands
Most of the influencers have various lines of businesses and even have family and friends who serve in specific brands.
This is definitely not something that everyone who consumes their content would know.
Because of this, it’s highly essential for influencers to disclose any relevant business relationships anytime they share any content in favor of anyone with whom influencers have those relationships.
This specifically includes friendships, family employers, employers, and more.
Why Do FTC Offenses in Celebrity Social Media Endorsements Matter?
It’s pretty easy to mark infractions as “simple hashtags,” however, these disclosures have serious and vital effects on consumers and the influencer marketing sector.
Today, most Instagram and other popular social media platforms shelter on the advertiser end. Thus, users see more sponsored influencer content and native advertising on their feed than before.
Most social media users, especially younger users, don’t mind seeing sponsored content on their feed, provided it’s done nicely.
Moreover, the relationship between influencers and followers is built on trust and authenticity. When influencers and brands adhere to the FTC influencer guidelines, the trustworthiness of brands and influencers takes a shot.
Now, as I’ve mentioned earlier in the write-up, only 7% of the influencers comply with the FTC influencer guidelines, which means a whopping 93% are violating the rules!
And that’s why users regularly come across content that could be interpreted as deceiving where the collaboration between a brand and a celebrity is obscure.
Moreover, many big and famous brands on Instagram indicate that influencer marketing is one of the most significant and growing industries in modern times.
From combatting internet scams and telemarketing fraud to price-fixing schemes, it’s the mission of the Federal Trade Commission to protect consumers and boost competition.
In the article, I’ve talked about the FTC influencer guidelines and how to use them.
In addition, I’ve mentioned different dos and don’ts that every influencer needs to keep in mind if they want to avoid fines from the FTC.