If you’re a newbie looking to make a name for yourself as an influencer in California, you’re probably preoccupied with generating quality content and building your audience. After all, you can’t have loyal followers without the former. And without the latter, a business may not choose you to promote its brand.
But there are other things that are just as important – if not more so. In past articles, for example, we have detailed the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules regarding disclosures. These are the legal statements detailing your relationship with the brand(s) you are promoting. As a Los Angeles influencer, you must include them on your website, in your blog, in social media posts, and in audio and video content.
What about disclaimers, though? Do you need to include those in your content as well? Keep reading to see how the influencer attorneys from LawPLA answer this important question.
Disclosures and disclaimers… what’s the difference?
To begin with, it’s important that you understand the difference between a disclosure and a disclaimer. Think of a disclosure as a statement or representation (such as a hash tag and keywords) that you must make, share or use. It lets people know that you aren’t doing anything shady and you have nothing to hide.
Demonstrating honesty by making mandated disclosures not only keeps you out of trouble with the FTC, but also lets your followers know that you don’t have any ulterior motives. This builds trust and loyalty – two valuable commodities for any influencer.
A disclaimer is also a type of legal statement. Typically found on commercial websites, disclaimers are the statements that govern use and shield the owner from liability in certain circumstances.
As a social media influencer, you are not legally compelled to use disclaimers in your content, but it’s certainly worth thinking about.
Why should I put disclaimers in my content?
If you are an LA-based influencer, you are likely sharing your content in several forums. If you are doing so on your own blog or website, we strongly recommend placing relevant disclaimers there. These can protect your content by prohibiting any unauthorized use or reproduction. If necessary, you can also include a “fair use” disclaimer. This will let people know when they can use your content without permission.
You may need additional disclaimers depending on which brands and products you are promoting. For example, if you have written a blog endorsing a weight loss product or supplement, you may want to include a disclaimer advising your readers not to use it without getting medical advice, and that your endorsement does not constitute medical advice. You may also want to include a disclaimer stating that your endorsement does not guarantee success. This type of disclaimer affords some protection if a disgruntled follower tries to sue you.
In addition to putting these disclaimers on your website, you may also want to put them in any content that you’re sharing on social media. In other words, if you are sharing a blog on Facebook, consider putting relevant disclaimers at the end of the blog or in a post with a link to the blog. For example, you could say something such as: “In this week’s blog post, I share my review of XYZ weight loss supplement. This endorsement is not medical advice, so be sure to consult your doctor before use.” You could also add a simple statement such as: “This endorsement in no way represents or guarantees the same results for all users.”
Now let’s say you’re doing a podcast or live broadcasts on one or more social media platforms. And let’s say your content includes guest interviews. In this case, you may also want to include a disclaimer indicating that views expressed by guests are strictly their own. This also shields you from litigation if a guest says something defamatory about a business or product you represent.
You may need additional disclaimers, depending on the type of content you are creating, the products you are endorsing/promoting and so on.
LawPLA helps influencers avoid lawsuits through proper use of disclaimers
The bottom line when it comes to disclosures and disclaimers for influencers is simple. Making required disclosures allows you to stay out of trouble with the FTC. Proper use of disclaimers helps minimize your risk of being sued. Even if you are, proper use of disclaimers may make it harder for someone who sues you to prevail in court.
When it comes to disclaimers for social media influencers, you have a couple of options. You can buy generic “DIY” disclaimer templates and draft your own language. Or you can have the skilled influencer attorneys from LawPLA do it for you. All you have to do to get started is call our office or contact us through our website to arrange a free consultation. We’ll take it from there.