The FTC is Watching Your Influencer

The FTC is Watching Your Influencer

It’s a safe bet that every C-Suite denizen has asked their Marketing Director this burning question “what is our influencer strategy?” With today’s constriction of organic growth on social channels celebrity endorsers, big-hitting bloggers, influencers, micro influences and OMG even nano-influencers are sure to make an appearance in your annual marketing plan.

It’s not only your hopeful target audience (or micro audience) watching these carefully crafted selfies, but Big Brother is also paying attention. And they are cracking down on deceptive advertising.

Much like the alcoholic beverage industry where an errant tweet innocently mentioning a sip, swirl, and spit at the wrong place can land you in deep $$, if your influencer is promoting your product or location without mentioning the relationship – they are in violation of the law. Though admittedly there has not been the draconian penalties we have seen imposed by the ABC for violations of tied-house laws. (It’s involved and scary, and if you market alcoholic beverages and aren’t aware of this, brush up fast.)

The FTC states that if there is a “material connection” between an endorser and the marketer of a product that connection should be clearly and conspicuously disclosed.

In sort, are you #ad?

Both brands and influencers are required to follow the FTC recommendations which include up-front-and-center information that clearly shows the relationship – no hiding this in your list of 30 hashtags, and no sending someone to the “more” link. Basically, your post and stories captions should start with “ad,” or a simple [free product], or Thanks {insert brand}. Tagging the business is not enough.

It was reported that in 2019, both Lindsay Lohan and Naomi Campbell received letters from the FTC warning them that publishing posts on their personal feed without “clear and conspicuous disclosure” is breaking the rules.

For videos, infographics, and easy-to-read guidelines, go to: FTC.gov/influencers

What #Sponsorship costs

So now that you know you need to disclose your relationship, what is that relationship actually worth?

The feeding frenzy free-for-all, that was the norm for influencers (spawning a whole new industry of pseudo consumer journalists) has settled into relatively reasonable and regular definitions. There’s a great, in-depth piece written in 2018 on the Cost of Influencer Marketing by Alfred Lua at Buffer. He goes into well-researched detail about what affects cost, and reviews micro-to-celebrity influencer followings, as well as social channels.

It breaks down to:

Instagram – $10 per 1,000 followers; or $250 to $750 per 1,000 engagement

YouTube – $20 per 1,000 subscribers; or $50 to $100 per 1,000 views

Snapchat – $10 per 1,000 followers or $100 per 1,000 views.

Both Twitter and Facebook are not seen as viable influencer channels.

If you want to evaluate on a case-by-case basis, there’s a great Instagram Money Calculator by Influencer Marketing Hub that allows you to enter an influencers name and it will estimate earnings and/or costs per post by that influencer. It also allows you to pit your social against your competition to see what their engagement rates are and an estimated value per post.

As you are crafting your current influencer strategy, these guidelines will help you establish some road rules – such as, the number of posts to request based on pay or trade, and how those posts need to reflect your relationship. Good luck, however, getting the influencer to send you a post campaign report. #myselfielife

Links:

FTC Influencer Guidelines: FTC.gov/influencers

Cost of Influencers: https://buffer.com/resources/influencer-marketing-cost

Instagram Money Calculator: https://influencermarketinghub.com/instagram-money-calculator/