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Andy’s Answers: What the FTC’s new guidelines mean to your social media program

The FTC released their first substantial upgrade to their guidelines on endorsements and testimonials since 1980, and I’m thrilled to see that ethics and common sense won out. I’ve been fortunate to work alongside some of the brightest minds in corporate social media as president and CEO of the Social Media Business Council, and their smarts just received a big nod as their collaborative work on the open-source Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit was reinforced in the new FTC regulations.

Any company working on their social media policies or seeking guidance is invited to download the Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit. It’s been vetted by numerous corporate legal teams, and these new FTC rules fully reinforce it.

When moving forward with your social media program, there are three fundamental components to keep in mind.

  • Require disclosure and truthfulness in social media outreach. Disclosure isn’t optional. It’s not a philosophical debate among “social media experts.” It’s the law, it’s always been the law and never more clearly so than in these FTC guidelines.
  • Monitor the conversation and correct misstatements. In perhaps the biggest update to past policies, advertisers are now explicitly responsible for their content.
  • Create internal social media policies. It’s up to you to educate your partners and employees on how to participate legally, honestly and ethically.

Download the Social Media Business Council’s Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit.

See my latest presentation on disclosure and social media ethics from our BlogWell event in Minneapolis:

[vimeo 6528196]