The FTC is stepping up enforcement; you should step up your compliance.

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Here’s why it’s important to follow the FTC rules

We’ve written about the FTC guidelines for influencer marketing many, many times. The deal is this: if you think the rules don’t apply to you, you’re wrong. If you think there are no consequences, you’re also wrong. If you think having deceptive messaging will perform better… guess what? Wrong again.

But still, many brands and influencers are not heeding our warnings and are practicing risky influencer marketing techniques. Check out these 4 ways that brands and influencers are doing disclosure wrong so that you can avoid a visit from the FTC.

Here are 4 Ways Brands and Influencers are Breaking FTC Rules:

Instagram Stories

Because Instagram stories are disappearing content, they are hard to monitor. But that doesn’t mean that you should use them to evade the FTC. Make sure your influencers are using appropriate disclosures on their sponsored posts. This can be as simple as having them write #ad on the screen.

Sly phrasing

The good old days of just thanking a brand in a caption are over. If the message doesn’t make the nature of the brand’s relationship with the influencer explicitly clear, then it won’t pass muster. The safest bets are to use #ad or #sponsored in all captions.

Hiding disclosure

The whole point is to make it clear that a post is sponsored. If influencers are hiding their #ad in a giant tag cloud or at the end of a long caption that will definitely be truncated and cause most of their followers to pull a TL;DR, then it is not meeting the requirements. Many influencers have started kicking off their captions with “AD:” so that everyone is on the same page from the jump.

Cleaning up the crime scene

Some brands/influencers will try to post undisclosed messages for a little while and then go back to clean them up after they’ve drug in the bulk of their organic engagement. This could mean posting without a disclosure and then adding it to the caption a day or two later. It could also mean posting an undisclosed message and then totally deleting it after a certain period of time. I think we’ve all learned that nothing ever truly disappears on the internet

Download our free ebook covering FTC guidelines on influencer marketing to make sure your next campaign is in compliance.