Keep Social Advertising Legal

Product endorsements in blogs and social media have become highly influential in consumers’ buying decisions. So it’s understandable that businesses are keen to get in on the act and influence input to these channels. However, if it’s part of your comms strategy, you need to take care how you go about it to avoid falling foul of the law.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently took action against two marketing companies that illegally arranged endorsements in online articles and blogs on behalf of their clients.

Failing to identify advertising and other marketing, such that it appears to be the opinion of a blogger or journalist, makes it unlawful.

Whether it be marketing companies offering their blogging services, to promote your products or improve your SEO, or celebrities taking payment for product endorsements in their blogs and social media postings, the same rules apply.

Essentially, if you pay someone outside your business to promote your products in this way, it must be clear that the endorsement is being paid for.

In blogs and articles there is no set form of words, as long as the meaning is clear and not misleading, and it must be prominent enough that it communicates effectively.

On Twitter, Instagram and the like, a hashtag such as #sponsored, #spon or #ad is an accepted way to identify paid-for postings.