Important Influencer Marketing Legal Considerations

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This is a part of a series that was created to help you define build the practice of influencer marketing into your company. This series will walk through the process, necessary roles, in addition to guides for each role to get started with influencer marketing quickly.

the law

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission in 2009 developed a set of guidelines for testimonials and endorsements in advertisements. This covers everything from consumer to expert endorsements. What does this mean for an influencer marketing program? Essentially the guidelines indicate that there must be transparency around testimonials or endorsements of any kind that are published on the Internet, especially if there is a business relationship involved (e.g., X is a customer) or there is an exchange of resources (e.g., Blogger X was given the product for free in order to write a glowing promotional review). In the end, remember to disclose any information that may fall into the gray zone.

Barbara French of Tekrati offers the following advice:

  • Team up with lawyers to understand the implications for endorsements and testimonials and to agree on how you will accommodate these guides in your best practices, approval processes, and influencer relations.
  • Agree on a simple rating system for determining the risks associated with endorsements and testimonials already in use. Come up with one or two criteria that determine each level of risk — high risk, moderate risk, or low risk. Keep it simple.
  • Use your risk ratings to update your approval process for future endorsements and testimonials.

The new guides will apply evenly to endorsements you initiate and to unprompted endorsements you pick up and use. You are accountable for claims made in both types of endorsements. If you use an endorsement, you’re accountable for it. Come up with an action plan as needed.

Additional resources:

Prep Influencer Marketing Programs for US FTC Endorsement Guidelines, Barbara French Attention Mommy Bloggers: The FTC isn’t coming after you, Meghan Keane Over the next several weeks I will share the quick start guide for the Influencer Relations Specialist.