How to Use Affiliate Links Legally on Your Blog and Social Media
Affiliate links are often shared on social media by social media influencers and those operating online companies. Affiliate links enable you to generate extra revenue by marketing items or services that you are interested in.
Many individuals are unaware that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires you to disclose to your audience that you have a significant relationship to the brand you’re recommending.
According to the FTC, a material connection can be a “personal, family, or employment relationship or relationship or relationship or relationship or relationship or relationship or relationship or relationship or relationship or relationship or relationship or relationship or relationship or relationship or
a financial connection — for example, the brand paying you or providing you with free or reduced goods or services.”
This post will cover who, what, how, and where you should distribute affiliate links on your blog and social media.
Who is required to reveal?
Any company that uses affiliate links or receives compensation for promoting someone else’s product or service must provide affiliate disclosures
These restrictions apply if you stand to profit or gain in any manner by endorsing a product or service. It makes no difference how large or little your company is or how much money you make.
What do you have to say?
You must inform your audience that if they click on a link and make a purchase, you will gain commissions or other perks.
Keep it simple, to the point, and truthful.
For example, if you have no firsthand experience with a product or service, do not suggest it and extol its virtues. If you’ve never tried a product or service but believe it might be beneficial to your target audience, be honest about it.
Even if you provide a bad review of a product or service while providing an affiliate link, you must still disclose the possibility of earning affiliate earnings or advantages.
How to Make a Disclosure
The FTC prefers that these disclosures be explicit and visible.
You don’t have to pollute your website or social media with dry legal jargon. Feel free to make these disclosures using your own voice and sincerity. According to the FTC, you should use “clear language and grammar while avoiding legalese or technical jargon.”
What information do you have to reveal?
Affiliate disclosures should also be included as near to the claim as practicable. That instance, if you have affiliate links in your blog or on your website, an affiliate declaration should be included inside the post or on the webpage. The idea is to position the disclosures such that they are not easily overlooked.
The disclosure should be above the fold on your website or blog, which means that a reader should not have to scroll down the page to view it.
Many bloggers would prefer to include the disclaimer at the conclusion of the piece, but the FTC considers this insufficient.
The FTC normally does not like to see affiliate disclosures at the conclusion of posts or videos, or in areas where someone must click “more” to read the whole content, on social media.
On Facebook, for example, you may write a lengthy post and invite your viewers to click “more” to read the whole. Your affiliate disclosure should appear before the “more” option (unless the real endorsement comes after selecting “more”).
Special Social Media Guidelines
Because social media postings may take many different forms, the FTC has provided advice on how to establish affiliate disclosures.
People often use Snapchat, Instagram Stories, or other comparable features to sell their businesses or services. If the advertising is in the form of a picture, make sure the disclosure is visible and that people have adequate time to see and read it.
If you use photographs in other sorts of posts, just add the affiliate disclaimer in the post text.
If a pin goes directly to an affiliate product on Pinterest, you must include an affiliate notice in the pin description. If the pin connects back to a blog on your site, however, follow the requirements outlined above for posting the affiliate disclosure.
If you use a video to make an endorsement, the affiliate disclosure should be in the video description (before any “more” choices), the video audio, and any text or other visuals in the video. This way, you’re covering all of the channels via which individuals consume material. The FTC has said that including an affiliate disclaimer in the description is insufficient since videos are often embedded in areas where the description is not viewable.
When employing videos in a format such as an Instagram story and the video contains a link to a product or service, the affiliate disclosure should be presented either during or before the video. According to FTC standards, just adding a disclaimer to the following piece will not sufficient.
If you use live steams to market a product or service, the FTC requires you to provide affiliate disclaimers throughout. This manner, viewers who join the live broadcast at different moments will be able to hear the revelation.
Although hashtags may be used to indicate an affiliate connection, the FTC advises against burying the affiliate disclosure in the midst of a series of hashtags or links.
Because tweets are restricted to 280 characters, hashtags are a popular alternative for Twitter. However, on other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, a hashtag alone may not be sufficient.
The FTC likes hashtags that are not truncated, such as #advertisement, #sponsored, #promotion, #affiliatelink, #paidad, or #ad. Avoid using ambiguous tags
Is this something I should take seriously?
Even if you believe your company is too little to be recognised, this is something that every company should take seriously.
Recently, a group of groups provided the FTC a list of 100 social media influencers with evidence of violations of disclosure regulations. The letter requested that the FTC take action against these influencers. Many of the influencers on the list received stop and desist letters from the FTC.
If you offer affiliate goods or services on your blog or social media and need help ensuring your disclosures meet FTC guidelines, I would be pleased to help.