Earlier this month, influencer marketing was thrust into the media spotlight again after accusations came to light that several members of the Kardashian family were not properly disclosing their relationships with the companies/brands they were promoting in their social media posts as is required by federal law.

The idea here is that there needs to be transparency on social media when a celebrity is a paid endorser of a product as there is for TV commercials, print ads, and billboards. When we see a TV commercial of Jennifer Aniston endorsing a facial cream, we all know she was paid to do so. But if she posts about it on social media without identifying it as an ad, it could be assumed that she just likes the product, which is misleading since she was likely paid for it.

The Federal Trade Commission doesn’t have explicit terms or guidelines when it comes to identifying ads or sponsored posts on social media– its’ associate director for advertising practices was recently quoted as saying, “We’re not prescriptive about that. But it has to be unambiguous.” It starts by suggesting that posters put “#ad” or “#sponsored” somewhere within these posts, though again, there really are no hard and fast rules.

At Markerly, we work with our brands and influencers to ensure that they are as transparent as possible so that there is no confusion on the consumer side. Our influencers agree to disclose each post as sponsored in order to take part in the campaign and receive compensation for doing so. The brands are a part of this discussion as well, so everyone is on the same page as the campaign moves forward. If for one reason or another an influencer still chooses not to disclose their sponsored relationship, the repercussions fall to them.

There is no reason to hide sponsored posts from consumers– it has already been shown that sponsored posts receive just as much, if not more, engagement than non-sponsored posts. The transparency is key to building consumer trust and brand affinity as influencer marketing continues to grow and larger marketing budgets are dedicated to the practice. For further questions on our identification methods for sponsored posts, please email questions@markely.com.