TVG recommends that our clients protect themselves from FTC violations by developing a formal social media policy for endorsers. It’s important to conduct periodic audits to ensure that your company’s policy is being implemented. Often, the marketing and legal departments must work together to create a comprehensive policy and a culture of compliance within the organization. For assistance on developing a social media policy you can attend a TVG seminar on social media policy. Also check out the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s recently released Social Media Disclosure Guide.
The FTC’s guidelines have made it increasingly important for companies to be more careful about the bloggers they partner with, check the blogger’s background and insist on disclosure. If a blogger you’re considering partnering with has not thoroughly disclosed relationships in the past, you may need to think twice about partnering with them.
Your organization may also consider utilizing more public relations initiatives that simply present stories you think the blogger will find interesting and relevant in hopes that the blogger will write about them. If bloggers write about your company, product or service without compensation or free products, the post does not require as extensive of a disclosure.
Online conversations are effective at generating word of mouth, so it can only be expected that companies will continue to build blogger relationships. However, your company must be careful to create a culture of compliance and work with bloggers who recognize the need to follow the FTC’s Guides.