FTC Guidelines for Influencers & Advocates

Endorsing brands is nothing new. From Kim K. to Tom Brady, major influencers are constantly endorsing all sorts of brands!

We’re excited to see healthcare companies finally considering Patient Leaders to be major influencers as well, but are you aware of all the rules and regulations you need to follow as a paid influencer?

Your endorsement of a product or service may be of free will, but in other circumstances, you might have a relationship with the company that you’re speaking about.

Either way, knowing the FTC guidelines is an imperative skill all influencers and advocates should know.

Let’s break down the important info you need to know to stay on the right side of the law while advertising products on social media.

What are the FTC Guidelines?

In September of 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) experienced a historic first: The commission settled charges against individual social media influencers regarding disclosure practices for brand sponsorships and affiliations. The guidelines themself outline when and how influencers should disclose their partnerships with brands, regardless of whether or not the relationship includes payment.

Which means as a Patient Leader, it’s crucial you’re following the FTC guidelines.

Who needs to disclose?

Anyone who is being paid to a. endorse or provide a testimonial about a product or b. write a review about a product that they’ve received at no charge are required to include a disclosure. You must also include a disclosure if you are a relative or employee of the marketer.

How do you disclose?

It’s vital that all disclosures are clear and conspicuous. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
-In a font that is easy to read
-In a shade that stands out against the background
-In video ads, on the screen long enough to be noticed, read and understood
-For audio, read at a cadence that is easy for consumers to follow and in words consumers will understand

What are some acceptable ways to disclose?

The bottom line is when in doubt, disclose! Be upfront and clear and don’t deceive your network with misleading information! Always remember, your endorsements must represent an actual experience- so be transparent!

On Facebook, Twitter & Instagram:

-Lead with “Ad:” or “Sponsored”
-Lead with #Ad or #Sponsored
-Affiliate link: _______
-Sponsored link: ________
NOTE: Using the abbreviated hashtag #spon is not sufficient.

Youtube & Video

-Include disclosure in the beginning of the video
-Must be in your video, it cannot just be written in the description
NOTE: If the video reflects an influencer’s opinions or beliefs about a product and they have a relationship with the company, then it is an endorsement

We hope these tips help you understand the basics of legality in influencer marketing.
If you have any questions, feel free to post to our FTC Guidelines for Patient Leaders discussion board on the WEGO Health platform.

FREE course: What else you need to know about the FTC Guidelines

In this WEGO Health curated course, we’ll walk you through the guidelines and highlight the things you need to know. By the end of this course, you’ll have a demonstrated understanding of the guidelines and know how to effectively follow them in every Tweet, post, video, Insta-story or message you publish.

Take this free, online mini-course to:
-Learn the basics on how to disclose partnerships on each platform
-Review common violations of the FTC guidelines that you could be making
-Discuss the do’s and don’ts of influencer marketing

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