Advertising has always had a muddy affiliation with the words "truth" and "honesty." And though a brand's intention may not be to deceive consumers, they feel that way when companies fail to disclose when someone endorses its product in return for gifts or money.
Brands want to sell more products but consumers want more transparency. At the heart of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Endorsement Guides is the belief that the average person evaluating a glowing recommendation wants to know whether endorsers work for the company or receive compensation in return for their positive testimonial. People want to know whether the reviewer is an authentic advocate without bias or is motivated by other factors.
Learn from the most common mistakes made by brands, so you don't repeat them. Complying with the FTC's guidelines will allow you to be seen as a trusted advertiser and transparent brand, and help keep you out of trouble.
Here's a look at three big mistakes in social content.
1. Omitting Proper Hashtags
Many brands run influencer marketing contests or campaigns to gather user-generated content (UGC) to promote a product... and that's fine. However, the brand needs to provide the influencers, or endorsers, the proper guidance for what is required to include in their posts. Someone viewing a shared social image or post should understand clearly that it's part of a promotional contest to validate and disclose authenticity.
"Entry into a contest to receive a significant prize in exchange for endorsing a product through social media constitutes a material connection that would not reasonably be expected by viewers of the endorsement," said Mary Engle, the FTC's associate director for advertising practices.
Endorsements need to be properly labeled with a #Ad or #sponsored hashtag because a contest hashtag alone doesn't provide the average consumer with sufficient disclosure.
Katie Carlson is a seasoned professional with skills and experience in blogging, marketing, social media, technology, education, training, event planning, and customer service.
LinkedIn: Katie Carlson