3 Things You Need to Know About the Latest FTC Social Media Guidelines

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By Andrew Minucci

Eminem once rapped that “The FCC won’t let me be.” Social media marketers are beginning to have the same feeling about the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC updated their FTC Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking website with new guidelines that are sure to be a thorn in the side of social media marketers.

Here are three things you need to know about the most recent guidelines.

Using a campaign themed hashtag can land you in hot water.

The FTC states that sweepstakes or contests that require participants to send a tweet or make a pin with a campaign hashtag (i.e. #(Company Name)Rocks is not sufficient enough to make readers aware that the poster is entering for a chance to win a prize. 

Social media marketers can comply with this regulation by making the word sweepstakes or contest part of the required hashtag. 

 

The Ladies Professional Golf Association used the hashtags #SparklingICEcontest and #Sweepstakes in the post copy. Identifying that the post is providing fans the opportunity for a chance to win meets the updated FTC guidelines. 

The Ladies Professional Golf Association used the hashtags #SparklingICEcontest and #Sweepstakes in the post copy. Identifying that the post is providing fans the opportunity for a chance to win meets the updated FTC guidelines. 

The internet loves shorthand, but the FTC does not.

The FTC recognizes that a majority of the populous can reasonably be expected to understand what a sweepstakes is. However, they state that people can’t be expected to understand what the word sweeps means. What does this mean for you? It means you should use the word sweepstakes in required hashtags. 

Chase is currently running a sweepstakes about the Professional Golf Association tour. Their use of the hashtag #sweepstakes makes them compliant with the new FTC guidelines. It is important to write out the word sweepstakes instead of using a shorthand term like sweeps.

Chase is currently running a sweepstakes about the Professional Golf Association tour. Their use of the hashtag #sweepstakes makes them compliant with the new FTC guidelines. It is important to write out the word sweepstakes instead of using a shorthand term like sweeps.

Twitter is not an excuse!

The FTC requires that people receive the information they need to evaluate whether a statement is sponsored. Brands need to make sure those tweeting on their behalf identify that they are being rewarded, and the character limit is not a viable excuse. While the FTC does not mandate any specific wording or disclosure, they recommend using the words sponsored, promotion, paid ad, or ad.  

Campaigns that require a retweet need to clearly identify that the poster is entering a sweepstakes. In this example Ragu included the word sweepstakes in their automatically generated tweet. 

Campaigns that require a retweet need to clearly identify that the poster is entering a sweepstakes. In this example Ragu included the word sweepstakes in their automatically generated tweet. 

How is your brand adjusting to the new FTC guidelines? Tell us in the comments below!