Paid Social Media Content: To Disclose or Not to Disclose Sponsorship? The FTC Weighs In.

The FTC says social media influencers should clearly disclose if they’re being paid to endorse a product with language like #sponsored, but the social media world appears to wrestling and even conflicted on how to handle paid endorsements.

KNBC FTC FOLLOWERS

It’s a new form of advertising but it doesn’t look like an ad to the average consumer.  In fact, many shoppers now find the latest fashion trends, beauty products and vacation destinations from social media outlets like Instagram and blogs and while many bloggers are paid to show off things “they love” they are not always disclosing that they were paid for “their love of a product.”

Broadcasters and public relations professionals are well aware of the rules of paid spokesperson disclosures, but social media influencers are navigating new waters when it comes to adding “hashtag sponsored” to their Facebook post, Tweet or Instragram photo.  Reporter Jenna Susko of KNBC in Los Angels filed a report on their own investigation into the increased and borderline epidemic of product bombs hitting the social media newsfeeds and raised concerns that consumers are being manipulated by posters who have a hidden agenda.

KNBC Jenna Susko

Check out their newscast on nbclosangeles.com on how the undisclosed brand sponsorships of popular bloggers on social media accounts are raising concerns for the FTC.

Bottom line, if a post is sponsored, it should disclose it in some way.  A natural way to blend it in to the post is to say you’ve “teamed with XYZ company” and only agree to endorse products that you genuinely like so as not to mislead followers and fans.  Others can dislike the product, but if you authentically like it, it’s an honest statement and honesty is always the best policy.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

 

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