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Best Practices: Branded Content

When consumers see or hear an advertisement, whether it’s on the internet, radio or television, Federal Law states that the ad must be truthful, and not misleading to the consumer. The Federal Trade Commission enforces these truth-in-advertising laws, and it applies the same standards no matter where an advertisement appears.

As an Influencer, this means that if you are being paid or compensated with cash, free products or services, to review or promote a product, you must disclose it as an advertisement. This year, there have been a number of complaints filed to the FTC to ensure proper disclosures and best practices are being met, most recently those aimed at kids. With the Influencer Marketing space being somewhat new, and no standards in place, to help Influencers adhere to these laws, we’ve put together the best practices below.

1) Incorporate Approved Hashtags

The easiest way to ensure compliance is to incorporate one of the below hashtags into your post. The hashtags must be prominently displayed within the copy – not buried at the end of the post.

  • #ad
  • #sponsored

2) Add a Shout-Out (verbal or written) During Video Posts

In a sponsored video post, the disclosure must be spoken out loud at some point during the video or displayed on screen.

3) Be Aware of Platform Specific Recommendations

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & Vine:

  • Disclose the partnership in the post’s copy/caption (Example: I am partnering with XYZ Brand, or use a prominent approved hashtag)
  • AND
  • Disclose the partnership with an overlay on the video/photo
  • – or – Verbally disclose the partnership at the beginning of the video

YouTube:

  • Disclose the Partnership in the post’s copy/caption (Example: I am partnering with XYZ Brand, or use a prominent approved hashtag)
  • AND
  • Verbally disclose the partnership at the beginning of the video
  • – or – Disclose the partnership in the video’s title
  • – or – Disclose the partnership with a title card
  • – or – Disclose the partnership with an overlay on the video

Snapchat:

  • Verbally disclose the partnership at the beginning of the video/story (Example: I am partnering with XYZ Brand…)
  • –or- Disclose the partnership with text on the video/photo

Captiv8 Recommendations:

  1. Hand over Creative Reigns to the Influencer: The best content comes from Brands and Influencers collaborating to create content that is genuine to the Influencer’s channels. Allowing the Influencer creative control while keeping the Brand’s campaign goals and KPIs in mind is the best way to maximize engagement and deliver content that comes off as authentic.
  2. “Partner” with Brands: Disclosing the relationship as a “Partnership” rather than an #ad is a great way to stay FTC compliant, while showing that the content has been created in the spirit of a true partnership, and that the Influencer truly supports the brand.
  3. Quality over Quantity: An Influencer’s fans will be the first to call them out if they feel like the Brand that the influencer is representing is not authentic to their persona. Captiv8 recommends that Influencers work with Brands that they are truly passionate about. Over saturating your channels with too many promotional posts is a surefire way to lose the trust of your followers.

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