Be diligent and transparent with your brand affiliations

If a brand is paying you or giving you free products to post content, promotions, or endorsements on your social media channels, you should disclose your affiliation with the brand so that your audience is aware you are posting sponsored content.

Different countries have different laws and regulations when it comes to disclosing sponsored content. From both an ethical and legal point of view, you should always clearly disclose that the content you’re posting is sponsored. It’s important to be transparent with your brand affiliations.

What ‘clearly disclosed’ means can be, and is, disputed, but as a rule of thumb, the text sponsored, ad, promotion, or similar should be easily visible to your audience. Examples of this can include adding sponsored as a hashtag in your Instagram photo caption.

If you’re posting multiple Instagram photos, blog posts, or something similar, and you want to share it across various social media channels, you will need to disclose your brand affiliation in each post. For example, you may want to share your Instagram photo, which contains sponsored content, on your Facebook page. If this is the case, you should include a disclosure in both your Instagram and Facebook posts.

While disclosures can appear overly complicated, they are quite simple. Here are several ways to disclose sponsored content:

  • Disclose sponsored content by writing a caption like: “Brand gave me X product or service to try in return for my review” or “This is a sponsored post”
  • Add a line explaining your affiliation with a brand in the description of a Youtube video or at the start of the video (remember, the disclosure must remain on the screen long enough to be read)
  • Use hashtags! Something as simple as #ad, #promotion, or #sponsored can suffice. You can also tag the brand you’re affiliated with in your post. Note that using #sp or #spon may not be enough to qualify as a disclosure, as the meaning of the hashtags may not be clear to your audience

Disclaimer: This is not meant to be taken as legal advice. You can check your local laws and regulations for more information about disclosures.

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