#ad #sponsored #gifted #affiliate #unboxing… Yes, these hashtags mean that your post is sponsored. By the end of this post you will have an understanding of how each of these hashtags indicate a sponsored post and what the hashtags really mean.
Reminder: What constitutes a Sponsored Post?
First, a little reminder on what constitutes a sponsored post. A sponsored post is when you receive something of value and then you post about it. It doesn’t have to be money! It can be a gift, it can be free goods. If you receive something of value and post about it to your following, it’s probably worth disclosing that there’s more than just a “I love this product” relationship.
Let’s talk about hashtags.
This one’s pretty straightforward, just like #sponsored or #partner, although #partner, I would argue, is a little bit more vague and you probably need more than just #partner. But, using #ad or #sponsored shows that your post is an advertisement. Remember though, that the FTC has said that using #ad along with a bunch of other hashtags might not be enough to show that it’s a sponsored post. Specifically, the FTC said this:
If #ad is mixed in with links, handles, or other hashtags, readers may naturally just skip over all that clutter… with multiple links and hashtags, #Ad may go unnoticed. Best to make it visible in the beginning whenever possible.https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/ftcs-endorsement-guides-what-people-are-asking
In other words, you could still use #ad and be in hot water if it’s not conspicuous. Think: conspicuous, easy to spot, not vague.
If a brand gifts you with something, you didn’t have to pay for it, and you post about it to your following, that is a sponsored post worth disclosing the relationship. You received something of value. You’re posting about it. The FTC said this during a live Q&A when they first came out speaking about influencers and disclosing sponsored posts.
The question was:
If an influencer is gifted tickets to an event, can they post personal point of view content without [sponsorship] message, or is disclosure required?
The FTC said:
If the point of view relates to the brand/sponsor: DISCLOSE. (If event posts aren’t related to the gifting brand, no disclosure necessary.)
To me, that says even if you’re sharing your own experience with this gifted product, you need to disclose that there was some kind of gift made and that you’ve received this benefit for free. Just like the event, if your point of view relates to the brand/sponsor, then it’s worth making that disclosure to keep the FTC away.
This is a fun but kind of ambiguous hashtag. Just like #gifted, you never know when you see a #unboxing whether the poster has been paid to do this, did she receive this stuff for free, is this part of a campaign… Sometimes it’s not clear. Is it a product from a brand you’re working with? Is it something that you’ve been gifted? #Unboxing all by itself does not reveal that there’s some kind of ad or sponsorship relationship at play. In order to keep the FTC happy, and to be clear and conspicuous, you might think about using #ad and/or #sponsored along with the unboxing.
#Affiliate, like #ad, is pretty self-explanatory, so long as it’s, again, not used in a sea of a million hashtags. If you’re an affiliate for a company, you should disclose that, and use #affiliate when talking about that company or that product or service. Remember, it should be used in a conspicuous way, either in the blog post or social media post, overlaid on image-only platforms like Snapchat, and also in video captions.
So I hope this gives you a better understanding of those sponsored hashtags in their different forms, and some things to remember when using them.