The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has decided to facilitate social media marketing by issuing a set of useful hints for businesses on how to comply with the requirements for payment of editorial content, which promotes products or services without breaching the law for consumer protection.
The guiding principles have been developed by the IAB in collaboration with the Office of Fair Trading and Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) and are being issued after several high profile breaches of the law took place recently.
Brands should know that the law bans paid-for content that promotes a brand or a product, unless the promotion is clearly indicated visually or by sound. The IAB gives practical advice on how safely to advertise on social media.
For example, for promoted Tweets, the IAB recommends introducing an advertisement by putting the hashtag symbol (#), followed by “ad” in front of the promoted content. This way, transparency for consumers will be ensured without using too many symbols of the 140 allowed on Twitter.
Similar practical hints are developed for each medium: video, blogs, Facebook or forums. In addition a useful set of questions and answers have also been issued to make clear why the guidelines are necessary and how they should be applied in practice.
Robin Grant, a member of the IAB’s Social Media Council said that even though the law has been implemented for about three years now, there are still brands that are not quite familiar with it and risk being punished.