What does disclosing sponsored content mean? If you're being paid to post content, promotions, or endorsements on your social media channel(s), you should provide a disclosure that informs your audience of your brand affiliations so that they can make well-informed decisions.
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 disclose" means can be (and is) disputed, but as a rule of thumb, the text sponsored, ad, or similar should be easily visible to your audience. Examples of this can include adding sponsored as a hashtag in your Instagram photo caption or adding a line about your brand affiliation in a Youtube video description or blog post.
If you're posting multiple Instagram photos, blog posts, or something similar, and you want to share it across various social media channel(s), 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 Twitter. If this is the case, you should include a disclosure in both your Instagram and Twitter post.
Lastly, make sure your disclosures are clear and conspicuous. This means that you should:
- Make sure that the font, font size and color of your disclosure are readable
- Not hide your hashtags at the bottom of a blog post or redirect your audience to another site to read a disclosure
- Not bury your disclosure in About Me sections of your social media channel(s) (ie: adding "I sometimes get products in return for reviews" in your About Me)
- And if you're adding a disclosure in the beginning of a Youtube video, the text should remain long enough for your audience to read it
While disclosures can appear overly complicated, they are quite simple. Here are some tips you can use:
- 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
Worried about disclosures? Check out your local government website to find guidelines, regulations, information and tips.