When social media influencer marketing first started, there was a time when the ecosystem wasn’t developed, and it felt like the wild west. But now, influencer marketing is a massive global industry worth billions of dollars that is the centerpiece of brands around the world’s marketing strategy. Like every form of marketing, influencer marketing is governed by rules and regulations that define how brands and influencers behave.
Whether you are Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok influencer marketing, there are certain practices that you must follow to guarantee your advertisements are legal. Even if social media marketing may feel newer and less developed than more traditional mediums, that doesn’t mean there aren’t regulatory bodies and agencies that oversee the content you promote.
If you are to succeed with your influencer marketing campaign, you need to be sure that you are promoting safely and legally. Celebrities and brands ranging from Kim Kardashian to Diclegis have run afoul of laws that govern influencer marketing, but knowing legal from illegal on influencer marketing campaigns can be difficult. We’re here to help with a collection of some of the most important legal components of influencer outreach that you should be aware of.
Food and Drug Administration Rules
The Food and Drug Administration oversees various products that brands might consider influencer marketing for. Whether it is a dietary supplement, a new food product, or some form of general medication, advertising through social media influencers can be a great way to connect with new prospective customers. However, if you are using social media to promote one of these products, you have to comply with the rules laid out by the Food and Drug Administration or FDA.
The FDA has several key rules that influencers and brands must follow. For starters, if there is a paid partnership, influencers can’t overstate the product’s benefits or downplay the risks associated with it. The FDA doesn’t have as clear-cut rules as some of their contemporary regulatory bodies, but there are still important things to know. For example, an influencer can’t link to a separate risk page for promoting a product. They have to include the risks within the social media content. Essentially, transparency is key. If you are a brand using influencers to promote something overseen by the FDA, stick to the facts, include any necessary risk information, and play it safe.
Federal Trade Commission Rules
The Federal Trade Commission plays a significant role in overseeing influencer marketing best practices. The Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, exists to ensure best practices in commerce and marketing. They exist to protect consumers and ensure companies aren’t taking advantage of them. Just about every company using social media for their marketing will fall under the jurisdiction of the FTC, so knowing what their rules for marketers and influencers are is critical.
The FTC has made it so that influencers have to disclose their partnerships within the social media post. If there is a paid endorsement of a product, influencers can’t pretend to promote it of their own accord. If you’ve seen a #ad within an influencer post, that is a result of the work of the FTC. Another important rule from the FTC is that claims regarding the performance of a product by either a brand or a paid endorser must have adequate substantiation. Another important rule to note is that if you are marketing with an influencer that claims to be an expert, they must have qualifications that give them the expertise they claim to possess.
How to Protect Your Business
Running afoul of the rules by the FDA and FTC can be a nightmare for businesses. These rules are in place to protect consumers, and breaking them is a horrible look that could cause Public Relations fallout. All brands that intend to market on social media must be aware of these rules because they are enforced and should be kept track of. If you are looking for a way to protect your business from accidentally running afoul of the social media influencer laws, there are several ways to do it.
For one, you can have comprehensive contracts drawn up by legal experts that detail the rules of your social media posts to influencers. These give you a legal framework that exonerates you if any influencer makes a post that runs afoul of the law. A detailed contract that explains what influencers can and can’t post surrounding your brand will help you stay on the safe side and protect your business from being hit hard by the FDA or FTC. Another way is to partner with a top influencer marketing agency. These social media experts understand the rules and regulations of the platforms they use and have methods of assuring safe social media conduct.
Influence Hunter is an influencer marketing firm with years of high-level industry experience. Influence Hunter has helped brands across industries develop high-performing, customizable campaigns that deliver on strategic goals. Contact Us today to find out what we can do for your business.