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On March 24th, the Ad Standards, in collaboration with a panel of numerous influence marketing agencies, presented the 2018 edition of the Disclosure Guidelines on Social Networks to bring more clarity to legal practices that occur during partnerships between brands and influencers.
To answer all your questions about the legal practices to follow in an influencer marketing initiative, here is our summary of the guide.
TRANSPARENCY IS THE KEY
These practices have been set up to improve transparency with consumers. It is important that transparency stays the primary value that guides the company and/or the influencer when creating sponsored content on social networks. In this way, there should be no ambiguity as to whether the content that the consumer or the influencer community is viewing contains a paid promotion or not.
1. Do I have to write my sponsored publication in English if it is an English or an international company?
No. The announcements of the collaboration should always be in the influencer language and, by the same token, of the majority of their subscribers.
2. Should I mention that a product was given to me in my publication if there is no sponsorship planned?
Yes. Even if a contract has not been signed for an exchange of publications and the brand only gifted you a product, you must mention it. At the same time, identifying the brand is not enough to announce that the product has been given to you.
To do so, you can enter it directly in the description of your publication or use the hashtag # product received (#giftedproduct).
3. Which hashtags should I use to advertise a paid collaboration?
The hashtags that are recognized, clear and widely accepted are:
EN: #ad, #sponsored, #XYZAmbassador, #XYZPartner (where "XYZ" is the brand name), #produitreçu
FR: #pub, #commandité, #XYZambassadeur, #XYZpartenaire, #giftedproduct
Some hashtags that may be confusing to the consumer and that do not clearly advertise a fee-paying collaboration are : #Ambassador, #Partner, #Spon, #PR, #Promo, #PRHaul, #Brand, #Collab, #sp.
4. Do I need to discuss the material connection I have with a brand when I'm invited to one of their events?
Yes. When publishing about or during an event after receiving a free invitation from a brand, the influencer must announce the invitation. Hashtags such as #XYZParty (event name), #ThanksXYZ (company name) do not clearly indicate that this is an invitation provided by the company. Furthermore, simply thanking the brand does not explain the material connection that concretely unites the influencer and the brand. The same rules apply for a paid trip. Here is a good example of an event invitation mention:
To be certain that the consumer knows that it is a sponsored publication, the influencer must mention it at the beginning of the legend while recalling the name of the company with which he/she collaborates.
It is important to mention the collaboration in the first 30 seconds of the video (considering that many people do not listen to the integrity of YouTube videos) and at the beginning of the description of the video.
A mention of the collaboration must be clearly visible in the description.
In addition, hiding the #ad through a list of hashtags or under the publication is not transparent and does not clearly demonstrate that it is a collaboration.
The mention must be clearly visible as well as the brand with which the influencer collaborates. If it is a series of stories, the influencer must mention the collaboration at the beginning of the series. In individual story, each publication must indicate the collaboration.
The influencer must mention at the beginning of the publication the sponsorship and the brand with which they collaborate. If it is a Snapchat series, the influencer must mention the collaboration at the beginning of it. In individual Snapchat, every Snapchat must indicate the collaboration.
The collaboration and the brand must be announced before an URL link (clickable or not) in a written way (hashtags have no meaning on blogs).
Given the limited number of characters, the announcement of a collaboration must be made using the #Ad, #Pub, #Sponsored or #Commandité and by explicitly naming the brand. If this is a series of tweets, it is important to mention the paid promotion each time (because tweets are usually consumed independently).
It is also recommended to use the partnership tools already present on social networks, but this does not remove the obligation to indicate the collaboration in the legend of the publication.