Renew Membership | Contact Us | Print Page | Sign In | Register
Marketing News
Blog Home All Blogs
Welcome to our Industry News and Member Insights hub - Are you a marketer or marketing blogger with insights or expertise that would benefit our Members? Would you like to write content for our blog? Contact Gaelle at editor@mii.ie.

 

Search all posts for:   

 

Top tags: sponsorship  social media  2017  talent  trends  #miimb  #WeLoveTV  Agnes Healy  big data  Chinese New Year  Christmas  consumer market monitor  consumer trust  csr  Day in the Life  DoneDeal  Dorothy MacCann  food industry  Food Innovation  hr  Inner City Helping Homeless  jargon buster  laya  laya healthcare  marketing analytics  marketing jargon  Marketing Manager  marketing terminology  Mintel  mobile 

Are You A Social Media Rule Breaker?

Posted By Martin Thomas, Social Business Consultant, Tuesday 9 January 2018

social media regulations

by Martin Thomas, author of the forthcoming Financial Times Guide to Social Media Strategy, published by Pearson Education, late summer 2018

Martin Thomas will be discussing this topic in more detail during a Social Media Marketing Masterclass in Dublin on 1st February 2018.

Are you and your teams aware of the regulations governing the use of social media as a marketing communications tool? Could you be forced to scrap your next social media campaign or find yourself in trouble with the regulators?  According to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), more than half of marketers have little or no understanding of the regulations affecting social media marketing.

The CIM was so concerned by the illiteracy of marketers when it comes to social media regulations that it launched a ‘Keep social honest’ campaign to promote the transparent and honest use of social media. Its chief executive Chris Daly says: ‘Businesses face a serious risk of regulatory or legal action, but they also need to understand that the penalties for misleading customers on social media go beyond that.  Brands are putting their reputation at risk too.’   I would add that marketers are also putting their own reputations at risk.

There are three primary areas of regulatory risk that marketers need to be aware of when it comes to social media marketing:

1. Breaching advertising codes or regulations.

A social media post or tweet is considered as advertising by most regulators.  This is particularly important in highly regulated sectors such as alcohol, healthcare or financial services, where there are strict rules governing all forms of customer communication.   Diageo was recently forced to suspend its use of SnapChat for a global Captain Morgan campaign following a decision by UK regulators that it was likely to appeal to under-age consumers.  This highlights the risks of working with social media channels that rely on the self-verification of users’ ages.  Although Diageo’s lawyers argued that the creative work was targeted at over 18s, the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK was less convinced by the integrity of Snapchat’s age controls.  It also suggested that the creative concept, which involved the creation of a Snapchat lens to make the user’s face appear like a pirate, was likely to appeal to under 18s.

The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland has issued Digital Media Best Practice Principles to provide guidelines on the placement of advertising in ‘the digital media space’.   Similarly, the Central Bank of Ireland regulates advertising for financial services and products, including the use of social media.  It would be interesting to know when Irish marketers working in these sectors last read the regulations.

The burden of regulatory compliance is further complicated by employees’ use of social media.  The codes governing appropriate communication apply as much to posts or tweets issued by employees as they do to the official corporate channels: for example, an Instagram post issued by a drinks company employee - showing consumers clearly in an intoxicated state whilst enjoying one of their brands - is actually in breach of drinks industry advertising regulations.  The same constraints apply to employees of financial services or healthcare businesses.

And don’t think they can hide behind the disclaimer that ‘these views are mine and not those of my employer’. Forbes Magazine, in an article appropriately entitled Why Twitter Disclaimers Like 'Views Are My Own' Won't Save Your Job quoted the opinions of various legal experts who confirmed that a disclaimer, irrespective of the wording, has no legal effect and would not enable employees to avoid legal liabilities.  In the words of one of the lawyers quoted in the article, Dan Schaeffer from law firm Neal & McDevitt: ‘It’s not going to prevent your employer from firing you if you say something that reflects badly, and it’s not going to prevent people from associating your views with your employer.’  

2. Failing to disclose the payment of influencers.

The use of influencers or brand ambassadors has become a core element of most brands’ use of social media, but it risks blurring the boundaries between advertising and editorial.  The view of the regulators is unequivocal – any paid-for endorsement must be clearly identified.  The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (The ASAI) introduced new guidance on the ‘Recognisability of Marketing Communications’ in January of last year, to ensure that ‘Irish consumers are not misled by influencer marketing through online advertisements on blogs and social media websites.’  The ASAI reinforced the requirement to make it clear where an endorsement is paid-for and also recommend the use of clearly identifiable hashtags such as #Ad or #SP.  Bloggers and online influencers are already required to adhere to The ASAI’s Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications in Ireland.

Regulators have been slow to respond to breaches of the regulations, but there are signs that this is beginning to change.  One of the world’s leading brand owners, Procter & Gamble, was forced to remove a make-up tutorial that appeared on its Beauty Recommended YouTube channel.  Despite a clear message at the beginning of the video stating that the content was sponsored, the ASA ruled that it was in breach of one of its CAP Codes because it was ‘not obviously identifiable as marketing communications’. 

3. Misusing personal data 

Data privacy is a serious issue in many countries, which is why governments are increasingly legislating against what they consider to be the misuse of individual consumer data.  EU legislators have threatened large fines for any organisations guilty of misusing personal data and this includes data sourced from social media.  It is acceptable for researchers and marketers to look at individual tweets or posts that appear as part of a Google search, but as soon as they use them for research purposes they need to be aware of the sensitivities of using private data.  Jeremy Hollow, founder of Listen & Learn Research, a specialist social data analyst explained to me how his analysts are careful to abide by the market research codes and ethics: ‘We will look at publically available social data but we always make sure that comments or other forms of content are not attributable to a specific individual, which means we either aggregate the data with that of other individuals or change the details so that the specific individual is not recognisable’.

It pays to be cautious when using personal data – even featuring someone’s tweet or post in a public forum is effectively a breach.  Marketers should also ensure that everyone likely to use social media data is fully aware of the relevant regulations governing permissions and ‘opt-ins’.

Marketers and their teams are failing consistently to comply with industry regulations or codes of practice when it comes to social media.  In the eyes of the regulators and the general public, ignorance is no excuse.  And if something goes wrong – a social media campaign violates advertising codes, the payment of an influencer is not disclosed or a customer’s personal data is misused – it will be the marketer that is in the firing line.  

These are my suggestions for how you can avoid getting on the wrong side of the regulators:

1. Make sure you and your teams understand the relevant regulations and codes governing your industry sector;
2. Stay close to the regulators, as the rules governing social media are in an almost constant state of flux;
3. Establish the appropriate systems, compliance processes, policies and training to ensure that your team and your agency partners abide by the rules;
4. Avoid pushing the boundaries, especially when it comes to the identification of paid-for activity – honesty and transparency should be non-negotiable. 
5. Stay vigilant – social media has a nasty habit of producing unexpected or unforeseeable challenges for marketers.

 
Martin Thomas will be discussing this topic in more detail during a Social Media Marketing Masterclass in Dublin on 1st February 2018.
 
We have created our Masterclass series for senior-level marketers looking to take a deep-dive into a specialised topic, to enable them to make insightful decisions and better choices for their business. The series is focused on helping you develop competencies specific to the knowledge, skills and mindset required of senior marketing leaders. We will host a Masterclass with Martin Thomas on Thursday 1st of February. More information on this Masterclass can be found here. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

martin thomasMartin is a highly experienced marketing communications consultant, trainer and author. He is course leader on digital and social media for the Institute of Directors UK. He has enjoyed a highly successful career in advertising, PR, sponsorship and new media, including senior management roles with some of the world’s leading agencies.

He has advised many multi-national corporations on their marketing and communications strategies, including Xerox, Citibank, Bacardi Global Brands, Sony Ericsson, Royal Mail, Coca-Cola and Colgate-Palmolive. Much of his work in recent years has focused on the business response to new, digitally-empowered patterns of customer behaviour and changing expectations: a subject on which he has become a highly-regarded writer, speaker and commentator.

Tags:  social media 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

The importance of 'borrowed' media

Posted By Martin Thomas, Wednesday 20 December 2017

We have become familiar with the concept of 'owned', 'earned' and 'paid-for' media, but the social media that provides the greatest value for organisations and brands is 'borrowed'. These are the social media accounts of the senior management team, other company spokespeople and anyone else in the organisation using social media in a professional capacity. I describe these as ‘borrowed’ because they are not owned by the organisation and unlike 'earned' media, they can be relatively easy to harness on behalf of the organisation with the right mix of persuasion, training and support.

The overall reputation of an organisation is shaped more by this 'borrowed' media than it is by its corporate channels. This is partly about reach - the cumulative follower numbers that can be potentially reached through 'borrowed' channels are invariably much higher than those of the official corporate channels - but also about impact: we are far more likely to engage with social media content shared by a person than by a faceless organisation. According to research undertaken by LinkedIn, employee networks on the platform are ten times larger than those of official corporate channels and when employees share content on LinkedIn the engagement rate is twice as high as when the company shares the same content.

An employer’s ability to leverage its 'borrowed' media by mobilising its employees and harnessing the collective reach of their personal social media networks is therefore one of the easiest and fastest ways for any organisation to increase its profile and enhance its reputation with customers, clients, prospects, potential employees and other stakeholders.

No one should be forced to use their personal social media accounts as a mouthpiece for their employer, but they can usually be persuaded that the support they can provide through something as simple as liking, sharing or retweeting the occasional corporate post or tweet, can be incredibly useful.

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING MASTERCLASS

We have created our Masterclass series for senior-level marketers looking to take a deep-dive into a specialised topic, to enable them to make insightful decisions and better choices for their business. The series is focused on helping you develop competencies specific to the knowledge, skills and mindset required of senior marketing leaders. We will host a Masterclass with Martin Thomas on Thursday 1st of February. More information on this Masterclass can be found here. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martin is a highly experienced marketing communications consultant, trainer and author. He is course leader on digital and social media for the Institute of Directors UK. He has enjoyed a highly successful career in advertising, PR, sponsorship and new media, including senior management roles with some of the world’s leading agencies.

He has advised many multi-national corporations on their marketing and communications strategies, including Xerox, Citibank, Bacardi Global Brands, Sony Ericsson, Royal Mail, Coca-Cola and Colgate-Palmolive. Much of his work in recent years has focused on the business response to new, digitally-empowered patterns of customer behaviour and changing expectations: a subject on which he has become a highly-regarded writer, speaker and commentator.

If you want to learn more about the best way to harness 'borrowed' media, drop Martin a line at martinthomasmarketing@gmail.com.

 

Tags:  Social Media 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Social Media Survey 2017

Posted By Darragh Rea, Edelman, Wednesday 14 June 2017
Updated: Thursday 8 June 2017

There have been significant shifts in our world of communications over the last 10 years, many of which have been documented in our Edelman Trust Barometer and Earned Brand Studies. In case we didn’t know it before, the age of top down, one-way communications strategies is well and truly over - brands now need to work harder to earn positive relationships, behaving in a way that is meaningful, memorable, and beneficial to their audience. One of the major catalysts for this change has been the meteoric rise of social media and its profound impact on our behaviour and society in general.

To better understand how Irish marketing professionals are embracing these changes, and what social media investment and strategy decisions they’re making, we’ve been tracking their views for the past three years. The online study, in partnership with the Marketing Institute of Ireland, which has captured responses from hundreds of marketing professionals across a wide range of disciplines and varying organisation sizes, looks at several key areas:

1) The importance of social media to their business and how they have integrated it with traditional activities

2) The ability to track and measure effectiveness and return on investment

3) Platform usage and investment plans

4) The role of paid social

5) The use, credibility, and ethics of influencers

6) The rise of video and real-time marketing

7) Crisis preparedness

Here’s a snapshot of this year’s key results:

social media survey 2017

So, what have we learned over the last few years is that:

1) Social is now more integrated and receives more investment than ever before. 99 percent of respondents now see it as being important to their business up from 91 percent in 2015 with the same figure (99 percent) having integrated social into traditional activities (compared with 82 percent in 2015).

2) There has been a significant improvement in terms of setting KPIs, tracking these metrics and translating that into a read on ROI. 34 percent of this year’s respondents said they can measure ROI and a further 54 percent that they can measure the ROI on at least some areas – a significant rise from our study three  years ago when 51 percent said they couldn’t measure ROI. Similarly, 55 percent now claim to have set KPIs, versus the 45 percent who said they did in 2015.

3) Facebook is still the major player in town but platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are also seen as having a key role. 47 percent highlight Facebook as the single most important platform for their business with a further 22 percent choosing LinkedIn and 21 percent selecting Twitter – this compares with 36 percent for Facebook, 24 percent LinkedIn and 31 percent for Twitter in 2015.

4) There is an understanding that social has become pay to play and investment decisions are being made to back this. This year, 73 percent of survey respondents stated that they will increase paid spend on social this year compared to 70 percent last year.

5) With all the hype around social media influencers it is interesting to note that there has been a drop off in the perceived influence of the influencers. Less than 35 percent Irish marketers intend to increase their work with influencers in 2017 whereas in 2016 52 percent  had indicated that they would increase the use of influencers. Whilst it’s impossible to know for definite what is driving this apparent turn away from influencers, our own experience would suggest that there is a serious misunderstanding of this world and how to use influencers effectively.

6) Unsurprisingly video continues to witness a phenomenal rise with 92 percent indicating that they will increase their use of video this year, possibly reflecting its strong performance across all social platforms and technology advances which have made it much more accessible and economical.

7) Real-time marketing on the other hand has fallen a bit from its previously dizzy heights with 55 percent of those surveyed saying that they don’t intend to invest more in real-time initiatives.

8) Rather surprisingly crisis preparedness is an area which has not improved over the last few years, with 22 percent still viewing themselves as being unprepared versus 19 percent three years ago. Despite this concern and recent high profile brand crises, 88 percent of respondents still don’t intend on undergoing crisis simulation exercises.

The survey gives us some things to consider in our ever-evolving world. It’s clear that the role of social media in our marketing and communications will continue to rise but as we publish even more content to add to the infinite amount already in existence the question remains – how do we get cut through in this sea of content?

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Darragh Rea is a Director at Edelman.

Tags:  social media 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

©2018 The Marketing Institute of Ireland CLG. All rights reserved.