Villing & Company

Be Careful Promoting Your Products Over Twitter and Facebook

In early 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) updated its guidelines to mandate that short-form ads on Twitter and Facebook have the same requirements as traditional marketing: they can't mislead consumers.

Last month, this regulation made news when the FTC charged Deutsch LA and Sony. The infraction? The agency allegedly encouraged its employees to use their personal Twitter accounts to generate buzz about a PlayStation product. This is the first time that the FTC has charged any company for deceptive behavior on Twitter, but it won't likely be the last.

As marketers, most of us don't purposely seek to mislead our customers or operate unethically, but I'm sure that I'm not the only one who could easily imagine making the same mistake that Sony and Deutsch LA made. Tweets and Facebook posts feel so informal that it's easy to forget that they are regulated in the same way as longer advertisements.

Since the character limit for social media can be a real limitation, the thought of including disclaimers seems like a nightmare. However, the more I think about it, the more I see this policy as being beneficial. Hopefully, it will limit some of the worst abuse of social media by marketers and keep the online conversation as transparent as possible.

However, it's certainly something to keep in mind as you work on your own social media strategy.

Filed Under: social media

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