As a blogger and influencer, Instagram is where you need to be. For the longest, I avoided Instagram since I could not take another social media outlet. Though, this past year has been a growing period for me and my blog. Instagram allowed me to express more of my home, projects, and connect with my readers. Giveaways have become a big way to engage readers and gain new followers. However, there are loads to consider when hosting a giveaway on Instagram especially, how NOT to run Instagram giveaways. Many Instagram influencers don’t have a blog and may not know about these considerations. Similarly, bloggers that use Instagram may not know that you need to follow the same considerations that you apply to your blog on Instagram. There is one BIG mistake on your instagram giveaway that could cost you!
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) always comes up in blogland since blogs must follow the guidelines and regulations as a business. Did you know that you should also be applying these regulations to your Instagram giveaways?! The FTC states that “The FTC is only concerned about endorsements that are made on behalf of a sponsoring advertiser. For example, an endorsement would be covered by the FTC Act if an advertiser – or someone working for an advertiser – pays you or gives you something of value to mention a product. If you receive free products or other perks with the expectation that you’ll promote or discuss the advertiser’s products in your blog, you’re covered.”
Hosting a giveaway in which entrants have to like a picture, share a picture, or follow an account as an entry must also be reviewed. The FTC states that “if you write about how much you like something you bought on your own and you’re not being rewarded, you don’t have to worry. However, if you’re doing it as part of a sponsored campaign or you’re being compensated – for example, getting a discount on a future purchase or being entered into a sweepstakes for a significant prize – then a disclosure is appropriate.” Additionally, using a like or share “feature to endorse a company’s products or services as part of a sponsored brand campaign probably requires a disclosure”. Remember that compensation does not mean financially only. Receiving products, discounts, coupons, etc. from a brand are also considered forms of compensation.
What do the FTC Regulations mean?
Well, if you received any product by any store, manufacturer, small business, etc. for free in agreement to run a giveaway on your Instagram account then you need to disclose that you received the product in agreement for such a collaboration. I have seen several large Instagram accounts host giveaways with products styled in their home without revealing that such products were given to them for a promotion. Unfortunately, this means that proper FTC disclosures were not included and could cost you if the FTC reviews your account. Generally, the FTC does not go on patrol looking for violations. However, if they are made aware of such violations (and frankly you stand out more if you have a big following), you could face fines!
What do I need to do to run an Instagram giveaway?
The biggest issue, that again is often forgotten, is the disclosure. Your disclosure must make sense to your followers and be clear about the giveaway. Hashtags are a good way of providing a disclosure and must be present in your caption…not hidden in the comments. Using hashtags like #giveaway #sweeptakes or #ad are appropriate tags. The FTC mentions that #sweeps doesn’t relay the same message since people may not determine that sweeps means sweepstakes.
The next time you run your giveaway on Instagram, be sure to have proper disclosure that is clear and visible to your followers. Proper disclosures covers you from issues arising from incorrect acknowledgements of endorsements. Though, it is not the only regulation that you need to be aware of as an influencer. For more information visit the FTC ‘s website.
Looking for more…..Check out my other Instagram Tips!