It's essential that brands make a reasonable effort to ensure influencers are following FTC guidelines.
Previously on an episode of The Spin, we discussed the brand's requirement to follow FTC guidelines for influencer content. Now, we're diving into the steps marketers need to take if an influencer won't comply.
#1. Set Expectations
It starts with what you do before the content has even gone live. The FTC has been clear that it's up to the brand to make it clear to the influencer that they expect compliance.
#2. Monitor All Content
Once the content is live or after your campaign's started, you have to monitor what your influencers are doing. The FTC says that a simple occasional Google search would be enough to keep track of what these folks are posting about you. If you want to take an extra step, you can also set up monitoring for these influencers in your social listening tool. Set the tool to pull in content any time the influencers that you're working with are mentioning your brand or keywords related to your brand.
#3. Make a Reasonable Effort to Follow Up
If you then see an influencer's content doesn't comply with FTC guidelines, then you have to follow up. The key phrase here in the FTC guidance is "reasonable effort". As long as you make a reasonable effort to ensure compliance and to fix the problem, you should be fine. Follow up and request the content either come down or be edited. Follow up in writing so you have it should it happen, and we use guidance here that following up three times is a reasonable effort.
#4. Don't Engage With Non-Compliant Content
Another thing that brands do is imply acceptance of misuse of those FTC guidelines without realizing that they're doing it. By repurposing the influencer's content on owned channels, or engaging with it with Likes or Comments implies that you are okay with the fact that the influencer didn't comply with FTC regulations. Additionally, many brands make the mistake of continuing to partner with these influencers, again implying that you're accepting of the non-compliant work, whether you've made that effort to get them to make the change or not.
At the end of the day, ensuring compliance is not all that difficult if you're clear up front, you keep an eye on what people are doing, and you follow up if they're doing it wrong. By keeping all of this in mind, you should not run afoul of FTC compliance issues with your influencer marketing.