Last week, social media marketing featured prominently in a number of British news outlets. The country’s Advertising Standards Agency had just announced new regulations which prompted explanatory articles in the media and in trade publications. The details may affect campaigns being run by certain social media marketing companies for certain clients, whether they reside in the United Kingdom or are simply trying to target consumers there.
The particular regulations in question relate only to beauty products, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons to be taken from them if your social media marketing campaigns involve a different industry. In fact, since the regulation was brought on by a social media campaign targeting deceptive advertising, it’s pretty likely to point the way toward similar interventions in other fields.
In recent months, consumers on Instagram have been posting about deceptive claims in influencer marketing that features paid content from beauty product manufacturers. Using the hashtag #filterdrop, they’ve called attention to the fact that filters on the photo-sharing platform make it very easy for people to misrepresent the effect those products have, and that unless this practice was contained, it would make all advertising in that field unreliable.
Ideally, most social media marketing agencies wouldn’t have to be told not to lie on behalf of their clients. But in truth is often a relative thing when it comes to marketing, and there are bound to be situations in which a company gets in trouble despite not actually setting out to deceive its customers. The new ASA regulations make it clear that at least in the British market, the potential for trouble is serious, and it has to be avoided more carefully than ever before.
This trend is bound to continue. The overall lesson from last week’s story is that the entire field of social media marketing is becoming more tightly regulated. That might sound threatening to you, but it doesn’t need to be. In fact, it shouldn’t be a problem at all, provided that your social media marketing is currently being handled by sufficiently professional employees or contractors.
Being experienced in that industry means having a good grasp on recent and emerging trends. The relevant trends may include the development of new tools for audience analysis and market research, or even the emergence of altogether new social media marketing platforms. But they also include the passage of laws and regulations that affect how one is allowed to do business on those platforms, as well as what might get someone flagged, banned, or fined.
This isn’t to say that you’ll have to worry about those outcomes often if you’re going it alone on social media marketing. As long as you’re hands-on about it, you’ll probably be able to roll with the changes. Still, it’s something you won’t have to worry about at all if you’ve chose the right contractor or at least developed a professional relationship that allows you to go back to a reliable source from time to time for advice about where the field of social media marketing is headed.