The FTC has changed the rules, and is prepared to enforce them, when it comes to proper disclosure on social media… You might find yourself wondering what could possibly need disclosing when it comes to social platforms, but the FTC’s aim is to protect the general population from misleading advertising. That means that you have to be clear about your intentions. Giving false product testimony or paying another person to speak on your product’s behalf is generally considered acceptable, but you have to disclose the fact that the message comes from a paid spokesperson, or a person with interest in the company’s success.
Additionally, it has to be clear when a post is linking to a sweepstakes. That is to say that people tweeting about your company in order to increase the odds of winning some giveaway, this must be disclosed in the tweet.
Very often the companies conscious of the potential dangers of ignoring FTC regulations will use hashtags to reveal the intent of the promotion. For instance, the sweepstakes post may include a hashtag as simple as #sweepstake. This makes it clear that the person posting is doing do with a specific intent in mind. Do remember that it is not the responsibility of the individual to include that hashtag, but rather the responsibility to include proper disclosure falls on the shoulders of the company.
We mention Twitter, because this is the social site where it is most common for companies to overlook the importance of disclosure. However, the FTC has made it clear that exceptions will not be made simply because of the character number limitations. Many before you have showcased the fact that it is possible to make the intention of the post clear within the 140-character limit. Hashtags like ‘#promotion’ do not require a great number of characters.