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Can You Gift Product in Exchange for Product Reviews?
Influencers will be more than happy to rave about a brand that sent them free products, but what exactly do they need to disclose? Here are the rules:
There’s nothing people love more than free stuff. That’s why as a brand, gifting products is one of the most effective ways to get the buzz going about your company. Influencers will be more than happy to rave about a brand that sent them free products, but what exactly do they need to disclose? There are a lot of rules your brand should follow in order to avoid repercussions, and we’ve got them lined up here for you.
Technically, yes— but know the rules first.
In order to avoid fines when receiving reviews for gifted products, these guidelines will help you stay out of trouble. The last thing you want is for consumers to be misled, that’s why none of these requirements are optional.
You might want to give influencers an affiliate link or promo code along with the gifted product for their followers to take advantage of, but you must disclose this relationship. Even though they aren’t getting paid, the FTC requires brands to be transparent about any type of compensation with gifted products. Consumers must be aware that although products were given for free, if they make a purchase, the influencer will be making a profit.
When using influencer posts for promotion, keep in mind that they still own their photos, even when products were gifted. To reshare their photos, ask them for permission first, because it’s illegal to repost without their consent.
- Exception to the rule: “Work for Hire” would mean that you have a contract with them stating that they are producing content for you in exchange for compensation. So if you’ve paid them or given them a free product, your brand owns any content produced during the partnership. You should still credit their social media handle in the caption of the post.
For more information on creating contracts with social media influencers, check out this blog!
- Don’t use unclear language
The FTC recommends avoiding words such as “spon,” “collab,” and other abbreviations. Not everyone is aware of what these mean, and the last thing you want is for potential customers to be confused. Encourage influencers to use easy to understand language to avoid any discrepancies.
Why Product Reviews are Necessary
Think about it - are you likely to buy a product with zero reviews? Or even worse, bad ones? We rely a lot on other people’s experiences with products before we checkout—nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase. Here are some of the benefits product reviews bring:
- Establish consumer trust
Building this trust helps potential customers see how the product would fit in their everyday life. It’s a way to social proof your brand and seem genuine if other people are sharing their positive experiences. Real people trust real people, which is why these reviews are essential for your brand.
- Receive feedback before a product launch
To get more authentic reviews, send your product a few weeks before its launch. That way, you are getting the most honest, unbiased reviews before the general public gets ahold of the product. Potential customers will have great feedback to go off and make the decision to try it for themselves.
- You’ll get some user-generated content out of it
On top of getting it for free, getting a cute product for free makes it 10x more exciting. This will make your recipient more likely to take the next step to review your product and post a picture to go along with it.
Product reviews are a great way to boost your brand’s awareness and establish consumer trust, that’s why being aware of the laws in place for gifting products should lift a huge weight off your shoulders. It can even encourage other influencers to want to work with you when they see fellow content creators having a successful partnership with your brand. To find more influencers to partner with for your next campaign, contact Statusphere to find the best match.