Eloqua Social Media Ethics


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This deck discusses best practices in social media ethics and tips for complying with the FTC's Guidelines to Testimonials and Endorsements. Much of the content is rooted in the Word of Mouth Marketing Association's ethical code.

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  • FTC revised its Guides to Testimonials & Endorsements in late 2009. Goal is to eliminate deception by ensuring its clear to everyday people when a testimonial / blog / review / tweet is a corporate-sourced endorsement.
  • It came out that bloggers could be fined up to $11K / violation. This lit up the blogosphere.
  • FTC responded, ensuring bloggers they were safe, but needed to make a few adjustments if they are empanelled as part of a marketing program.
  • Everyone would agree with this.
  • Gets a little more vague but still reasonably clear.
  • Vagueness dominates. What if the review was “neutral” … would that be considered an endorsement, would that need to be disclosed? How do you quantify “various”?
  • Real world example: If CNET reviews product, most people would assume the publication received a free sample, no disclosure needed.
  • But let’s say the review runs on a blog, NOW does it need to be disclosed?
  • Or let’s say the CNET reviewer mentions it in her own Twitter stream. NOW is disclosure mandated? In the real world, disclosure requires sound personal judgement, informed by the letter AND spirit of the FTC guides.
  • Performance claims are the most under-reported aspect of the guides, but it’s an immensely important consideration for marketers, especially those in the health, diet and personal care industries.
  • Message to marketers: if you let the bull out of the barn, you are responsible for what the bull does.
  • Message to publishers: your blog (or lifestream) = an advertisement (in certain circumstances)
  • Some instances of social media ethics are black & white
  • Case study: Reverb & FTC
  • Most of the time, social media ethics is a “shades of gray” discussion.
  • Case study: Ann Taylor
  • Case study: Kim Kardashian / Carl’s JR.
  • The $11K question
  • Another viable model: CMP.ly
  • Next wave of debate? Contests, geosocial, and transactional buttons with no “disclosure field” (e.g., Facebook Like buttons)
  • Eloqua Social Media Ethics

    1. 1. Social Media Ethics Joe Chernov/@jchernov Director of Content, Eloqua Co-chair WOMMA Member Ethics Advisory Panel
    2. 2. The$11,000Question
    3. 3. FTC: No Consideration/Not Endorsement
    4. 4. FTC: Impromptu/Not Endorsement
    5. 5. FTC: Organized Program/Endorsement
    6. 6. All performance claims must be substantiated Relationship with marketer/brand must be disclosed No difference between $ and samples Newsfeed, lifestream, blog, Twitter are all the same
    7. 7. White Black &
    8. 8. Astroturfing
    9. 9. Mostly Shades of Gray
    10. 10. DidYouSeeThatSign? Only one event Few posts Several disclosed There was a sign No Action Special gift Mystery prize for bloggers ($50-500)
    11. 11. A Social Media Drama* Act 1: Kim Kardashian joins other “it” girls in racy Carl’s Jr. ad *In five acts
    12. 12. Act 2: She Tweets! (… but where’s the disclosure?)
    13. 13. Act3:ScandalEnsues
    14. 14. Act 4: The Plot Twist (Apparently tweet was not an ad, after all)
    15. 15. Act 5: The Resolution
    16. 16. (Ad)
    17. 17. What’s sufficient disclosure?
    18. 18. … for clear guidance on proper substantiation … for specific direction on disclosure language … for instructions on disclosure placement
    19. 19. Honesty of identity Disclosure of consideration Disclosure of relationship Honesty of opinion Respect for venue Compliance w/FTC & COPPA Recommends #PAID or #SPON
    20. 20. NoConnection
    21. 21. ReviewCopy
    22. 22. Sample/Gift
    23. 23. Cash
    24. 24. Employee
    25. 25. AffiliateNetwork
    26. 26. Custom
    27. 27. Require disclosure Educate on how Monitor for its presence Act on its absence Maintain records
    28. 28. Does Contest = Consideration?
    29. 29. What About When You Can’t Disclose?
    30. 30. You must disclose client relationships A Note to Agencies / Content Partners
    31. 31. Don’t request a positive review Don’t demand the removal of negative review Don’t “favorite” negative tweets about competitor Don’t “vulture” for leads on Twitter Don’t forget that clients/employers = material relationship A Few More Ethical Best Practices