Social media has become a key player in the realm of business marketing. While having a social media marketing plan is undeniably valuable, they can often lead to trouble for the company if they aren’t carried out correctly. Cheryl Conner, content writer for Forbes Magazine, poses a question that PR professionals easily overlook: Is your social media plan legal?
Conner’s article details a campaign featuring “Ring Pops” in which the company encouraged teenagers to post social media pictures of them wearing the edible jewelry. With the hashtag #rockthatrock, young people were posting pictures that bordered on inappropriate and the company ended up receiving a lot of backlash and legal trouble. The company was ultimately found to be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (see the article for full details)
Instances like this are a dime a dozen. Company’s view social media as a relatively “tape-free” entity in which they have the freedom to do whatever they’d like. Katie Creaser, VP of PR firm Affect, proposes that PR professionals ask the following questions in regards to their social media plans.
1. Does our plan follow FTC guidelines?
…don’t pretend you know every single guideline set forth by the FTC because you likely don’t. Which leads us to our next question..
2. Has this social media plan been looked over by legal counsel.
Legal professionals know social media legalities. So let them look over your plan and give you the go-ahead.
3. Is there a plan in place to respond to negative feedback?
Learn from other companies’ mistakes and be prepared for your plan to backfire.