One of the best ways to raise your visibility as a business is to run promotions. Offering freebies or enlisting bloggers to write about your brand or review free product you send to them can help you get your name “out there.”

Before you get too excited about the prospect of paying bloggers to mention you, it’s important to understand endorsement and promotion rules required by the FTC.

Bloggerw Should Disclose When They are Paid for Content

First of all, it’s important that bloggers disclose when they are paid for content. If you pay for a blogger campaign in which influencers mention your product or service and/or link to you, it’s important that you require them to disclose that information.

There are many sample disclosures available, and to be safe, you should ask influencers to include a specific one at the beginning or end of the posts they write for you. An example might be something like:

This post was written as part of a paid campaign for ABC Company. ABC Company did not direct my opinions. For more information about ABC Company visit their website.

Other variations work as well, but it’s important that you ask the blogger to disclose the paid nature of the relationship. Even if you don’t pay directly, but provide a free product or access to a service, you need to be sure to have the blogger disclose that information. Something like the following could work:

I was not paid for this review. However, ABC Company provided me with a free sample (or a free six-month subscription) in order for me to write this review. This did not influence my assessment of the product.

In order to protect yourself, it should be standard policy with your company to ask bloggers to disclose the relationship and the compensation received so that you are both protected.

Social Media Posts and Disclosure

Many of the big brands get people to endorse them on social media, through tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram pictures and pins on Pinterest. You can use these tactics as well, but, as with blog posts and reviews, you need to be prepared to have influencers post disclosures of the nature of the post.

In many cases, all that’s required is that the influencer use the #sponsored or #ad (or both) hashtags when making the posts. It’s especially important to be vigilant about these types of exposures. Earlier in the summer of 2015, the FTC updated its guidelines for social media promotion and many think that the agency is preparing for a crackdown.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Whether you are sponsoring a contest on Pinterest or asking for shares or likes on Facebook for special promotions, or just getting a few influencers to tweet about you, it’s important that you pay attention to disclosure rules and require your influencers to disclose the relationship.

When in doubt, ask for disclosures. There are few things that will ruin your bottom line like a huge fine from the FTC.

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