Navigating FTC Disclosures: A Guide for Influencers

by | Jan 12, 2024


Staying informed on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines is a must if you’re a creator. While these guidelines can often be confusing, staying informed on them is a must when it comes to recommending or endorsing products on behalf of brands.

These are more than rules. They are the foundation of maintaining transparency and trust with your audience. And these can change as the space evolves, making it hard to keep up. 

But don’t worry, this guide will break down the FTC guidelines creators need to know. We’ll also cover how to put these into action in your next branded post to keep your content compliant and ethical.

Why Do FTC Guidelines Matter?

The FTC guidelines protect consumers from misleading advertising. As a creator, your endorsements are powerful and as you may know, influential. 

When a relationship with a brand is not disclosed, it can mislead your followers and affect their purchasing decisions. Following these guidelines prevents legal repercussions and builds trust with your audience.

What are the Current FTC Guidelines for Content Creation?

  1. Clear Disclosure: You must disclose any paid partnership, sponsorship, or gifted post. With the rise of video content, it is no longer enough to only disclose this in a caption. FTC disclosure must be on the video itself as well. This can be done verbally (“I partnered with”, “I was sent this”, etc.). Or disclosed as a text overlay on the video. Phrases like “#ad”, “#sponsored”, or “#gifted” are often used and accepted by the FTC. This disclosure should be noticeable and not hidden among other text or hashtags.

  2. Honesty and Authenticity: Your reviews and endorsements should reflect only your honest opinions and experiences. Exaggerating benefits or giving a misleading product portrayal is against FTC guidelines.

  3. Consistent Disclosure: Each post that is a paid relationship or free product exchange requires a disclosure. It’s not a one-time deal; consistency is key. 🔑

  4. Special Considerations for Different Platforms: Social media platforms might have built-in tools for disclosing partnerships. Like Instagram’s “Paid partnership with” tag. But only relying on these is not enough. Make sure your disclosures are clear on the content itself regardless of the platform’s features.

  5. Targeting Children: You must take extra precautions if your content targets children. The FTC pays special attention to advertisements targeting younger audiences. This requires clearer and more obvious disclosures.
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@tyeisha.shardae using proper FTC disclosure

How Can I Meet These as a Creator?

  1. Place Disclosures Prominently: Ensure your disclosures (verbal and written) are visible, ideally at the beginning of the post or video. If disclosing verbally in a video, we recommend also disclosing in written form on the video. Many viewers watch without audio so this is important to cover all the bases.

  2. Understand Platform-Specific Rules: Familiarize yourself with the endorsement-related rules of each social media platform you use. Check out TikTok’s!

  3. Educate Yourself Often: The digital marketing landscape and FTC guidelines are always evolving. The best way to stay updated with the latest requirements is through the FTC website. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram also share resources that can be helpful.

  4. Be Transparent with Followers: Honesty keeps you FTC-compliant and fosters a stronger bond with your followers. Be upfront about your brand partnerships and speak your truth when it comes to your reviews.🗣

  5. Consult the Experts: If in doubt, consult with a marketing attorney or legal expert in influencer marketing to review your content for compliance.

Adhering to the FTC guidelines is non-negotiable in the world of influencer marketing. Honest and consistent disclosures will help build a loyal and trusting audience. Remember, your credibility is everything. 

Looking to tap into brand collabs? Statusphere offers pre-approved collabs for creators accepted into our network. Apply on our website here!