Still Confused by the FTC Influencer Marketing Rules?

Posted by Alex Ditty on Oct 6, 2016 1:15:00 PM

In Influencer Marketing

You’re not alone. Here’s everything you need to know.

There’s been a lot written lately about the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines on influencer marketing and the government agency’s enforcement on brands and influencers. But even with all of this reporting, there is still a lot of confusion in the industry amongst both brands and influencers alike.

Recently, model, Chrissy Teigen, voiced this confusion over tactics that she’s seen influencers take when promoting fit teas. A lot of people jumped on this thread voicing similar feelings over the lack of consistency in FTC enforcement of these rules. We spoke with Digiday to bring clarity to this issue.

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Chrissy’s rant is completely valid and shared by many. The reality of the industry today is that the FTC will not have the bandwidth to police everything, thus the more public the brand and the more popular the influencer,  the more likely they are to be monitored. As an influencer, Chrissy should feel some flattery that the brands she works with take her work seriously and want to do their influencer marketing in a legit way. The fit teas she references are either unaware of the rules, or more likely, trying to skirt them.

We’re answering all of Chrissy’s questions here. And to help marketers understand what they can and can’t do when it comes to influencer marketing in the eyes of the FTC, we’ve created the comprehensive guide to FTC influencer marketing guidelines. Download the guide to ensure that your campaigns are in the clear.

 

Will the FTC fine the influencer or the company? 

To date, the FTC has only been known to discipline the company when an influencer posts inappropriately. A perfect example of this is the filing of the FTC settlement with Lord & Taylor.

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Can the company then sue the individual for not properly sharing?

This depends. If the contract with the influencer states that there is a requirement to apply the rules, then yes. The contract is broken and consequences could be enforced. We would expect the FTC to focus on patterns of bad behavior by a company and/or individuals, but they aren’t likely to say that themselves.

This is why it’s so important for brands to outline their expectations for influencers and create brand guidelines for them to follow for the program.

 

Is this the typical process how an influencer is working with a brand?  

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Typical practice? Maybe.  

Best practice? No.  

Ideally a brand is working to educate the influencer on the product, positioning and guidelines. And then they should turn the creative expression over to the influencer to use their own voice. The benefit of using an influencer is to have them express the product’s value in their own words. So if they are just copy/pasting a brand crafted message, it won't be genuine and thus probably won’t have the same success. Prescribing copy and content is never a good idea.

The upfront work takes preparation and thoughtful exchanges, which is why relationship building and matchmaking is critical to the brand and influencer process. We help brands establish their proper process for influencer communication and education.We work with brands to understand how influencers can be effectively promoting a product and still adhering to the FTC’s guidelines.

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To learn more about how to build influencer marketing programs that fall safely within the FTC’s rules and regulations, download our comprehensive guide today!