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Social Media Advertising Limitations: Which rules apply to different industries?

Social media is not just a vehicle for the general public to shout at each other, watch cat videos and become jealous over vacation snaps. It has also become one of the most powerful and rewarding avenues of marketing.

Despite marketing professionals chipping away at the gold mine that is social media marketing, there is a phrase that will make them put down their tools and tread more cautiously.

Social media compliance.

These three little words mean an awful lot. Some sort of concoction between federal, state and local laws that are often extremely complex and ever changing. Every marketing department should have an expert in this area as their go-to resource to avoid non-compliance in any way. Moreover, regulations change between industries. Although it would be virtually impossible to cover social media compliance in all industries or even in a handful extensively, to give you a greater insight into social media compliance here are three industries it’s affecting.

The Gambling Industry

Well known sites like mFortune Bingo may make the most of social media marketing, but they have to do it by following stringent regulations. These regulations may alter from place to place but they are made to protect players’ welfare. The laws are extensive but quite frequently refer to reducing the exposure of adverts from appealing to those too young to gamble. The UK Gambling Commission states:

· They should not refer to youth culture
· Images and words should not appeal to young people
· No person under or appears to be under 25 can be seen gambling in advertisements

Financial Service Companies

The same level of responsibility is afforded to companies working in the finance industry. Most finance companies do use social media as advertising but each post they create in the US must be determined as either:

· Static content
· Interactive content

Static content is considered advertising and must go through a pre-approval process to verify it complies with multiple laws. On the other hand, interactive content must be approved post creation. All social media content must be placed in an archive for three years. The UK has similar but even more confusing regulations based on time.

The Pharmaceutical Industry

As you may have expected by now, the health industry has the tightest of rules when it comes to social media advertising. These rules are predominantly made to protect the identity and sensitive information of patients. A snapshot of some of the rules instated are:

· No patient should feature in posts or videos
· Do not re-share the patients’ own post
· Always protect patient confidentially (this means by more methods that concealing their name)

The Best Ways To Stay Social Media Compliant

One of the most secure ways of ensuring your social media advertising complies with set laws is to employ an expert who can advise and monitor changes. Yet, educating all staff member, creating a social media policy, devising a pre-check process and investing in frequent training will help to stay on the right side of the law.

If you are ever unsure you could always take the advice of health industry influencer Dr. Dave Stukus who says if you would not say it in an elevator, then don’t advertise it on the internet.

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