As much fun as receiving PR samples, trying free products or hosting giveaways can be, it is important to remember the rules, policies, and procedures that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) outlines in regard to disclosure for blog and social media posts. While we're not attorneys, and our message should not be construed as legal advice, we want to take this opportunity to remind everyone of some of those rules and regulations.
In your roles as advocates, ambassadors, influencers or bloggers, you are considered "online advertisers". As such, it is necessary to disclose when your blog posts and social media posts are sponsored or may be deemed advertisements. Failing to provide adequate disclosure to your readers or followers may result in the receipt of a warning of violation of the FTC Act governing what they deem to be potential deceptive marketing or misrepresentation. So, here are a few pointers on how to make "clear and conspicuous" disclosure to your readers:
- iFabbo SHOP disclosure: As an iFabbo Member, if you received any products for review from the SHOP, disclose at the beginning of your review that you received the product free of charge from iFabbo but that your opinions are your own.
- Bloggers, consider placing disclosure language in such a way as to make it reasonably unavoidable, clear, conspicuous and consistent with your post. For example, the words "sponsored post" should be prominent and appear adjacent to the sponsored blog post.
- In making the disclosure language prominent, it is also important to consider the size, color, and graphics of the disclosure. For consistency, label your "sponsored post" in the same color and text as your sponsored blog post.
- Take into consideration the various displays and devices on which your post may appear, and make sure your disclosure is adequately visible in all common formats (such as desktop and mobile).
- If you're considering posting social media ads, sponsored posts and sweepstakes, include these hashtags: #sweeps, #entry, #promo, #ad or #spon.
To learn more about FTC rules on disclosures and sweepstakes/giveaways, check out these articles, another found here and the disclosure document at ftc.gov.