Franchise Bulletin: Social media - legal top tips for marketing on social platforms (Part 2)

Social media can be a great way to engage with customers. But with  great exposure comes great responsibility.

Part one of our guide to social media marketing focused on intellectual property issues. Part two takes a look at some advertising and reputational issues. Here’s what you need to know..

Part 2: advertising and reputational issues

The normal advertising regulations apply

The character limits imposed on certain platforms can add to the challenge, so you need to think about what type of ad works well and remains compliant on different platforms. Twitter may not be the best place for a complex price comparison ad, but it is perfect for sharing images of your goods, conveying your core messages and running simple promotions.

Paid-for endorsements: celebrities, bloggers & vloggers

Use the hashtags #ad or #spon to keep things clear.

Care needs to be taken with video content on platforms like YouTube too. The ASA very recently upheld a complaint that a video promoting Max Factor make-up by a popular vlogger was misleading because it was not clear that the content was an advertisement, even though the words “sponsored by” and “brought to you by” were used in the video. Ideally consumers should be told about the commercial nature of content before they elect to engage with it.

Moreover, the ASA considered that the words used did not make it clear that the content was in fact an advertisement for Max Factor, as opposed to impartial editorial which was merely financially sponsored by the brand’s owners. This would seem to cut across the ASA’s own recommendation regarding the #spon hashtag on Twitter. What is clear is that advertisers should use different measures on different social media platforms (each with their own particular functionalities and idiosyncrasies) to ensure that marketing communications are identifiable as such.

The internet is an echo chamber

Key Message

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.