Although initially intended to allow people to share photos with their friends instantly, Instagram has expanded into a thriving business platform for influencers. The world’s largest companies to small vendors pay people to promote their products or programs on Instagram. If you have been paid to sponsor a product on Instagram, you should not bury your disclosure in your post. An influencer has a duty to disclose their material connection with the brand clearly and conspicuously. So, if you are thinking about accepting a paid sponsorship, here are a few tips on how to disclose paid sponsorships on Instagram.
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR INSTAGRAM POST?
When posting about a product that you are being paid to endorse, you should always strive to use unambiguous language to describe your business relationship. This can be achieved by simply stating that the brand has paid you to promote this product. You can also utilize hashtags such as #paidsponsorship, #paidendorsement, or even #sponsor to denote your material connection with the product.
You should also make sure you are only making factual, representative statements based on your experience with the product you are endorsing. For example, if you are being paid to sponsor a new energy bar on Instagram and you have never tried it, it would not be acceptable for you to comment on the taste of the energy bar. Still, you could bring up details about your experience receiving the item, such as the expedited shipping or the product’s packaging.
Pro Tip: Ideally, you’re able to work with brands and products you genuinely support and endorse. This makes it all easier because your audience doesn’t usually care if you are sponsored, but they do care if it’s a genuine endorsement (versus just bought and paid for). Because audiences are savvy, it’s wise to stick with brands on point and that you recommend. One idea is to reach out to brands and products you want to work with to see if they would sponsor you.
AND WHERE TO INCLUDE THE DISCLAIMER ON YOUR INSTAGRAM POST
Paid sponsorships come with a duty to disclose the affiliation in a clear and conspicuous way. A perfect way to achieve this is by placing the disclosure early in the post’s caption. For example, you could begin the caption with a simple disclosure or begin the post with a hashtag noting that the post is a paid endorsement. By placing the disclosure at the beginning of the post, you ensure that it is the first thing viewers read and that it is not buried within the post.
If you plan to sponsor an item on your Instagram Story, you may want to clearly state that you are being paid to support the specific product. Another option would be to add a “sponsor” sticker to your story to be visible to all viewers.
Different brands may approach you, and you may find yourself sponsoring multiple items in one post. If you are, you must be clear about which items you are being paid to endorse.
Or perhaps a brand is paying you to post multiple times about their product. If this is the case, you must disclose the business relationship in every post to ensure that both new and old followers are aware that it is a paid sponsorship.
Pro tip: learn how to avoid these other mistakes business owners make.