Word of mouth and social media rely on a mutual trust between the marketer and their customers. If people don’t trust you, they won’t share your message, they won’t represent you, and they won’t be willing to recommend you to a friend.
And not only is being trustworthy a good marketing idea, it’s the law. The FTC has made it clear that the existing rules on ethical advertisering also apply to word of mouth and social media marketing. Their laws require disclosure and truthfulness in your social media and word of mouth outreach programs, so learning how to properly disclose will help keep your company safe.
In the video below, WordofMouth.org CEO Andy Sernovitz gives a summary on how to stay safe and ethical in social media and word of mouth marketing. He talks about the fundamental guidelines as drafted by SocialMedia.org members in the Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit and shares the top three questions a proper and complete disclosure answers:
- Who are you? Who do you work for? What is your relationship to the company?
- Were you paid? The FTC makes it clear that any kind of compensation counts – free samples, passes, perks, etc.
- Is it an honest opinion based on a real experience? It is illegal to lie about your opinion and to write a review of something that you have never actually experienced.
PS: If you love this, join SocialMedia.org at the next BlogWell event in New York on September 12 or Los Angeles on December 5 — the event is focused on how big brands use social media, but there are always a ton of great lessons for word of mouth marketers too. And in the meantime, you can find more great videos just like this one in our library.