Describing social media as the “wild west” of advertising is
a tired old cliché. But despite advances in technology, regulation and consumer
understanding, it’s true that social media allows almost anyone to run a competition
or prize draw. As the BBC reported this week, some consumers are being scammed through illegal
lotteries, and it’s not uncommon for bloggers and small companies to offer
prizes they struggle to fulfil. Even big brands can find themselves caught up
in PR disasters – I’m sure Walkers would prefer
we forget the sight of Gary Lineker waving a picture of Fred West all over
Stories like these can make both consumers and brands wary
of social media. So what steps can you take to ensure your promotions stand out
as ones you can trust?
Moderate to stay in control
Don’t push out user generated content under your brand
without moderating it first; you don’t want internet trolls looking for laughs
at your expense, or to get called out by the ASA for being irresponsible. Consider
that some industries may be higher risk than others. Alcohol and gambling
brands in particular need to ensure they don’t inadvertently encourage users to
post images that breach the CAP Code or other industry regulations.
Read up on social media guidelines
Many platforms have their own rules for running promotions
through their channels. Facebook
in particular can be strict when it comes to inaccurate tagging or forcing
users to share advertising content on their own timeline in order to enter. Instagram similarly discourages
inaccurate tagging. Twitter is more relaxed, but prohibits mechanics that encourage duplicate updates. Even
if you have great idea that follows legal guidelines, this won’t help you if the
website you’re running it on decides to take it down. Make sure you read up
Don’t forget the CAP Code
The same rules apply to social media as any other promotion.
If you wouldn’t do it in a large campaign, you shouldn’t do it on social media.
This means including the significant conditions in posts; refer to rule 8.17
of the Code for guidance on what you need to include. The only exception to
this is where space is genuinely limited (such as in a tweet or sponsored
search ad). Bear in mind that Facebook and Instagram posts are unlikely to be
considered limited space.
Have an upcoming social media promotion? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 020