Social Media Marketing Law: Are You Compliant?
Social media marketing compliance mistakes can be costly.
Online businesses should know FTC policies and online advertising rules like Jedi know The Force. Are you up-to-date on the latest social media marketing regulations?
This page is the perfect starting point for anybody interested in learning about online advertising legalities.
Disclose, Use Hashtags, and Label Everything Properly
The single most important thing to remember about online promotional compliance is to use disclosure hashtags on tweets, ‘grams, and posts. Influencers who receive any benefit -- free products, money, vacations, memberships, gift certificates, apple pies, et cetera -- must use an #ad, #spon, #sponsored, or #paid disclosure.
Familiarize yourself with the Dot Com Disclosures (DCD) [LINK]. One of the first FTC online marketing guides, the DCD explains things like (but not exclusively):
- The proper way to label advertisements on websites and blogs;
- How to appropriately disclose material relationships in testimonials;
- The right way to structure checkout experiences to ensure consumer awareness.
Don't Engage In Unfair and Deceptive Marketing
Some people think talking trash about competitors is a viable -- albeit aggressive -- marketing tactic. It’s not. Especially if you cross the defamation line. (FYI: Defamation is NOT just a negative opinion; it’s a negligently publicized, unprivileged, and false statement of fact, which causes material harm. Or, to put it another way, a blatant lie that causes the target to lose money or suffer severe reputation hardships.)
Don’t lie about products. It’s considered unfair and deceptive marketing and the Federal Trade Commission severely punishes people who engage in the practice.
Don’t promote questionable studies on social media accounts. The FTC has made itself clear: Light-science *studies* don’t cut compliance muster. In other words, don’t use that article found on GildaTheHealthGuru.com as “substantive proof” that your new dietary supplement cures cancer. Capisce?