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Social Media Ethics Briefing: Staying Out of Trouble — presented by Andy Sernovitz

May 15, 2018 92 No Comments


BlogWell: How Big Brands Use Social Media is an amazing series of events presented by that features 8 great case studies in corporate social media. To learn more, visit

To view the slide presentation of this video, visit

In his BlogWell Boston presentation, CEO Andy Sernovitz shares his recommendations on how to stay safe and ethical in social media.

Andy covers the latest FTC updates, the fundamentals of proper disclosure, and how to make sure your agencies and vendors comply with your standards.

Below is live coverage of this session:

— Andy: There are a lot of rules to follow in order to keep your brand alive and healthy in social media.

— Andy: The secret to success in social media is TRUST. We depend on others to repeat brand messages for us.

— Andy says the difference between honesty and sleazery is DISCLOSURE. Marketing messages must be prefaced with disclosure to the brand audience. Disclosing that marketing is good.

— Andy: Advertisers cannot do things that are deceptive to the average consumer. This is not new; circa 1914.

— Andy: 3+1 Rules for Social Media Outreach. 1. Require disclosure and truthfulness in social. 2. Monitor the conversation and correct misstatements. 3. Create social media policies and training. +1. Don’t pay for it.

— Andy says social teams have a responsibility to explain and teach everyone in their organization the rules and regulations surrounding disclosure.

— Andy: 10 magic words: I work for X Company and this is my personal opinion. Create a habit of disclosure.

— Andy: What do you need to disclose? Who are you? Were you paid? Is it an honest opinion based on a real experience?

— Andy: Two things that are always illegal: 1. non-disclosure false advertising 2. non-disclosure even when the marketing message is true.

— Andy: Clear and Conspicuous to the Average Reader: There needs to be obvious disclosure, and it needs to be upfront and clearly visible to the audience.

— Andy says in 2013, the FTC issued a significant update. Stop ignoring us. Stop faking it. If you can’t be honest don’t do it.

— Andy: Fake disclosure fails: #spon = #bs. No obscure hashtags. No obscure URLs. Native Advertising is often problematic because you are essentially trying to turn ads into content or editorial.

— Andy: Marketers and Brands are 100% liable for any campaigns under their name.

— Andy says the biggest risk in the marketplace right now is that there is no education and training.

— Andy: If you have a social media policy in place and you have a training program that is operational, the FTC will not hold brands liable for rogue employees that engage in outbound communication that is off brand.

— Andy: Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit can be found here:

— Andy: Raise your standards. Anything that makes an ad look like a “not-ad” is wrong. If you have to disclose it, it’s probably not a good idea.

— The FTC says: “The need for a disclosure is really a warning sign.”

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