Disclaimer: Information below represents our findings to date. We will continue to update this post as we learn more about the Facebook Branded Content Tool for Influencers.
In April 2016, Facebook announced the release of a new tool for branded content on verified pages to create easier collaboration on sponsored posts between Pages and brands.
The initial reaction to the announcement was mostly confusion about what exactly these new guidelines meant for brands and bloggers. This was especially the case for social media influencer marketing agencies, including The Motherhood, since we work with a network of “micro influencers” who promote sponsored content on their Facebook pages frequently.
According to Markerly, marketers are seeing higher engagement results with “micro influencers,” meaning those smaller-in-reach pages produce high value for brands through their devoted and active Facebook audience.
Before we answer what this tool means for marketers running influencer campaigns, let’s back up:
What is the Facebook branded content tool?
It’s a tool integrated into Facebook that allows pages and profiles to mark content that includes a third party, brand, or sponsor.
Branded content can be a post, Instant Article, link, photo, or video. Through the branded content tool, publishers of these posts tag the marketer or sponsor’s page. The marketer who is tagged will get a notification and receive access to insights on that post (such as the number of people who have seen it, click-throughs, etc.). The brand tagged will also have the ability to boost the post through their own account.
Facebook wants sponsored content to be marked clearly, therefore updating the branded tool to include the word “Paid” in the post.
Do all influencers have to use the Facebook Branded Content Tool?
When the Branded Content Tool originally was launched in April 2016, Facebook only allowed verified pages (and then later, verified profiles) to access the branded content tool. However, Facebook recently announced that they are making the tool more widely available and offering it to non-verified pages, as well.
Starting in April 2017, for users on iOS and the web (and Android in the near future), any non-verified page can submit an application to access to the branded content tool. Facebook will begin to offer the tool on a rolling basis to non-verified pages that it predicts are most likely to use it. Pages will get a notification in Facebook if they are selected for the branded content tool.
We recommend that influencers apply for the Branded Content Tool. Once you are approved for tool (it usually only takes up to two days), you can easily mark which posts are sponsored by clicking the handshake icon when composing a new post. If you have any questions about using the Branded Content Tool within your current campaign with The Motherhood, feel free to reach out to your account manager to discuss.
Do I need to include a disclosure statement if I’m using the Branded Content Tool?
This one has caused some confusion among influencers and agencies. The short answer is yes, you still need to include a proper disclosure statement (“ad” or “sponsored”) for sponsored posts, even when using the handshake tool. Facebook has clearly defined the rules for branded content, which includes using disclosures in addition to the handshake tool:
“Comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including by ensuring that you provide all necessary disclosures to people using Facebook or Instagram, such as any disclosures needed to indicate the commercial nature of content posted by you.” (Facebook, August 2017)
Best practices for the Facebook Branded Content Tool for influencers moving forward:
- If you have not already, request access to the Branded Content Tool here.
- If a post is flagged as not complying with their branded content policies, Facebook will notify the publisher and the post will not appear in the News Feed until fixed.
- If you are a brand or company reaching out to influencers to share branded content on their Facebook pages, we highly suggest consulting a marketing agency that has knowledge on the subject and is up-to-date on all policies. You can contact The Motherhood with inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In our research since publishing this post, we have come across interesting articles on the topic that we would also like to share with you:
- Facebook Branded Content Policy Change and What it Means for Bloggers
- Posting Sponsored Content on Facebook
- How to Verify Your Facebook Page
- Facebook’s Advertising Policies
We are still following the news on the Facebook Branded Content Tool for Influencers, and we will be sure to keep our readers updated as the situation evolves — which, as many social media marketers know, is bound to happen! We welcome any feedback.
Updated: November 1, 2017