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Do You Need a Social Media Policy?

A social media policy is now a requirement of the Federal Trade Commission, flowing from its Guidlines on Endorsements and Testimonials. We asked the Word of Mouth Marketing Association to share the essentials.

WOMMA: Essential Elements of a Social Media Policy

A social media policy defines important standards of conduct for a company’s sponsored speakers, including a company’s internal speakers (employees) and external speakers (agencies or other third parties, such as bloggers).

At minimum, social media policies should require that sponsored speakers:

  • Reflect their honest beliefs, opinions or experiences;
  • Not make objective claims about a company’s products or services without appropriate authorization;
  • Not constitute defamatory statements;
  • Not violate the privacy of others;
  • Not be offensive, profane, harassing, derogatory or discriminatory;
  • Not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of others;
  • Not constitute deceptive or misleading statements about products or services provided by the company.

Communication by sponsored speakers must disclose all connections that can influence the weight consumers would give to the communication and do so clearly and conspicuously.

Keep in mind: Drafting a policy is only the first step. To ensure compliance, you should put in place proper training for sponsored speakers, as well as institute-appropriate and effective monitoring of online speech.