Regardless of the number of social media connections, each of us is an influencer in many ways.

By simply sharing photos of the products or brands we love and adore, we can influence one person, 1,000 people or many many more.

I’m sure you’ve heard or read a fair amount amount the influencer market, but what happens when you don’t know that an influencer is being paid, or receives a product for free, to promote a product?

The FTC has established guidelines for social media posts whereas if there is a “material connection” between influencers and brands, the poster should perhaps utilize #ad at the beginning of social media posts.

Yet I am still amazed at how many influencers and frankly brands are still skirting around this issue.

In my opinion, it seems Facebook and Instagram are taking the lead when it comes to providing tools to make “partnerships” between brands and influences more apparent.

For example, my verified Facebook page and the Facebook Mentions app provides for a partner tag that should be used when ever their is an existing relationship between brand and influencer.

As of policing this partner tag, I have received a couple of messages from Facebook that indicated that they perhaps thought the post needed to have partner tag and in one case, I missed it. I didn’t mind the reminder, I just had to delete the post and repost.

Recently Instagram started rolling out a Branded Content tagging tool. Hopefully more Instagrammers will begin using this Branded Content tool so that in the eyes of the FTC (and Instagram) they don’t look like fools.

Instagram's Branded Content

To find the Branded Content tool, simply begin posting a picture and then before you publish click the advanced setting feature. This is where you will eventually see the Branded Content tool.

But be warned, just using this Branded Content Tool doesn’t mean you can’t just eliminate #ad from your posts. This tool is really designed to show that the post is “sponsored” within your feed or Instagram stories.

Instagram's Branded Content

Brands also have the ability to either approve all partners that are allowed to use the Branding Content Tool or let anyone tag them as they see fit. Please note that this is different from tagging a brand in a photo.

By tagging a brand using Instagram’s Branded Content tool, as an influencer or creator, the brand will be able to view metrics for that post. Therefore brands should be better able to measure their relationships with their influencers.

Instagram's Branded Content

Lastly, with Instagram’s Branded Content tool, hopefully will become more apparent which posts are paid for or where such things as hotels and meals are being provided for by the brand.

I call that #winning.