Social media is no longer the Wild West it once was. Much like how business ethics, a course in college no one wanted to take, require acknowledgment and adherence, ethics, rules and regulations are also required in social media—even at the tweet-level. Here's what you and your social team need to know and do to adhere to the updated regulations.
1. Run an audit: Social media content that could be considered endorsement material should be reviewed. Include anything that offers an incentive such as a campaign or sweepstake. Make sure each post includes a hashtag such as #sweepstake, #ad or #sponsored.
2. When in doubt, disclose: Remember, consumers want honest opinions when reviewing products and deserve to know if a reviewer has a relationship with the brand or product they’re evaluating. Full disclosure is always the safest and best policy.
3. Honesty is the best policy: What if it's for a $1 off coupon? According to the FTC, if "knowing about that gift or incentive would affect the weight or credibility your readers give to your recommendation," then it should be disclosed.
4. Traditional advertising ethics apply to social too: If a brand’s post claims something exceptional, they should include a note about general expected results, results not typical or be sure to link to evidence.
5. Don't discount "friends": Ambassadors, partners and employee engagement programs are considered incentivized. If the FTC wanted, they could slap brands on the wrist even if the relationship is genuine in nature, but incentivized through employment status or business.
If you have more question, feel free to tweet at @SocialDistiller.
This post was originally published on Social Media Today.