Disclosure, or asking influencers to declare that they have been paid or given a free product, is increasingly important in influencer outreach campaigns.
There are a number of reasons;
- Google issued guidelines last year which indicates they may penalise sites which don’t toe the line.
- Law – in the US non-disclosure is now deemed false advertising and therefore it is illegal to not declare if you have received payment, or a free product. In the UK the CMA (Competitions and Markets Authority) is getting stricter about non-disclosure, conducting investigations against some companies . Australia followed suit as the AANA (Australian Association of National Advertisers) issued guidelines covering social and blogging content.
- Ethics – it’s simply good practice to be transparent to the audience.
Some people might wonder if there is any point in doing sponsored posts if the influencer has to disclose it. I think is it a resounding yes. Influencers (well the good ones) only write about products and brands which are a good fit for their blog or channel. You won’t get a quality blogger writing about a dodgy product which doesn’t fit their own style in return for payment. This means there is still brand value in getting that third party endorsement, you just need to make sure you only select top quality influencers.
The other critical element is quality. Engagement should be high with quality content regardless of whether it is sponsored or not. So time spent creating a good campaign is as vital as finding the right influencer to work with. The trick to a sponsored post with maximum engagement is for an influencer to promote a product in a creative way that fits with their audience and usual style so that the post comes across natural and genuine. Secure a collaboration like that and no-one will blink an eye at a little ole’ #sp hashtag.
Ways to disclose
So what ways are there to appropriately disclose payment or products being gifted whilst making the post appealing?
- Hashtags: Social influencers now use hashtags such as #ad #sp #sponsored #review #triedandtested. The first 2 are nice and short so are clear enough to the reader without overwhelming the message.
- Blog Disclaimer Page: Some bloggers have a Disclaimer page eg https://theinteriorsaddict.com/disclosure-policy
- Blog Post Mention: Disclaimer pages also always need to be accompanied by a comment or a clear sentence at the end e.g. https://www.pippajamesoninteriors.co.uk/2017/featured/new-diamond-luxe-mattress/ (see mention at the end) http://www.apartmentapothecary.com/our-first-holiday-as-a-family/ (nice natural comment) Others use really clear sentences like “I received a free x and in return I wrote this honest review” or ” This post has been sponsored by X”
When you post your collaboration opportunity just make sure you request full disclosure and check that this has been done once the post(s) have gone live.
And one final note, PLEASE don’t take this blog post as bone-fide legal advice – each country has different and ever-changing laws so please take legal advice independently before using any of these tips – Merci Beaucoup.