05 Mar Disclosure: I don’t have to disclose that Tweet, right?
You’re a blogger. Or a vlogger (term for video blogger which could encompass YouTube, Vine, Instagram, etc). A brand wants to partner with you to create content on your channel about their brand. All of your opinions are your own of course, but you’re still compensated to share them.
Do you need to disclose that video plug on YouTube? What about the image on Instagram or link on Twitter?
Some think it’s no big deal … just a small amount of compensation, so who really would care?
The federal government, specifically the FTC has cracked down on this form of advertising. They’ve been doing so for a few years with bloggers and now it’s expanding enforcement on the other influential social platforms.
Many companies who sponsor these social actions pay lip service because their main interest lies in how well their product or service is received by the audience.
Why does the FTC care?
Because blogging ranks atop the most trusted forms of advertising.
People read blogs and feel they have a personal connection to the blogger so this essentially ranks No. 1.
Companies are getting smarter. They see how far down the list most forms of advertisements rank in terms of trust with readers. Therefore, they look for ways to improve their odds of winning a new customer. Influencers and social content creators have become a prime target. They have built-in distribution and credibility with their readership.
By leveraging these influencers companies are essentially making each social content creator a spokesman for their brand. Of course, the product must be one that the influencer believes is quality or they are not going to throw away her credibility by endorsing something they would never buy or use.
This takes us back to disclosure and why the FTC is so adamant about this. Content creators on these social platforms are highly influential and attaching a simple #sponsored to show they were compensated for their time will suffice for all.
The audience needs to know if the content creator is being paid so they can include that in their decision making. In recent years, “miracle” diet pills such as acai berry were marketed to consumers who believed they were clicking to an actual news site and reading an article by a journalist, when instead these advertisements were just formatted this way to deceive the consumer into buying these pills.
Based on what consumers believed to be an authoritative voice, they were sold and made the purchase.
There is nothing deceptive about influencer marketing. Influencers are real people. They’ve earned real trust.
Trust is the No. 1 currency on the internet now.
The FTC is watching.