What does that mean when somebody puts “sponsored” in a social media post?

Estimated read time: 3 minutes


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 70,191 other subscribers



If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or really anywhere, you know that I travel a decent amount and it’s really hard to not write stories from trips. Many are work trips, sponsored and some personal here and there.

Related: The best and worst airport WiFi I’ve experienced

Depending on who pays for the trip, I may add a “sponsored” hashtag to my social posts and a disclaimer to blog posts on here:

“Adobe paid for me to attend the Adobe Summit, but rest assured these opinions are mine and they didn’t approve them.”

Or something like that. The point is two-fold:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires it. See, they protect consumers and want to be sure people who get compensation of any kind for content disclose that to the consumer audience. So B2C, from what I can tell.

Related: People to People marketing (P2P) is up next

Secondly, it’s a good practice for me to let you all know who has funded something. The creators who fund their own experiences know this, too, and make a big deal about it: “Per our policy, we paid for all expenses.”

So when I go on a trip, attend an event, or do anything where whomever is running the show pays my tab somehow I disclose it.

I think of it as buying attention versus buying favorable coverage per se. I know some journalist friends will vehemently disagree with that and it can be a balancing act.

My rules on how you can hire my attention can be found here.

So, when there was some kind of compensation that led to the experience that led to me sharing my authentic story, I will declare #sponsored.

And people notice, but if the post is interesting and seems to be in my voice (another reason to develop a voice) it’s still highly believable and of interest.

Related: The Points Guy addressee helpfulness and authenticity and getting paid in this Affiliate Summit talk

When don’t I add #sponsored?

Usually when I’m a hired keynote speaker. For example, I flew to Lisbon, Portugal, a few weeks ago and posted plenty of content and articles.

Why not? I was hired to keynote and the event planners didn’t really have a stake in me covering anything. They didn’t hire me to do content creation.

Plus, many posts mentioned that I was there to keynote so my readers knew the reason for my attendance.

Side note: Yes, the pictures looked great, but I’m not on vacation. Though, I would recommend that any business travel enjoys the sights.

Related: The importance of breaks at events (Meetings Today)

But is #sponsored enough? I personally don’t think “ad” is, but I got questions about #sponsored, thus the explanation here.

I suppose another option is move “sponsored” to the front of posts

Facebook and Instagram seem to have an easy to understand way to highlight sponsored content. RELATED ARTICLEDoes it really matter that something is sponsored in some way? It does when content is sneaky and sells me something in a dishonest way. If it’s highly relevant and honest the consumer in me will appreciate it. Of course, the problem is that not everyoneis creating content that is audience-centric out there. Thus, we need the disclaimer and the FTC. But keep in mind that a “sponsored” disclaimers don’t mean it’s useful content. The best out there disclose and their consumers love it because it’s helpful and authentic.