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March 4, 2015
Marketing your site in today’s highly competitive market is a challenge at the best of times. And whilst Social Media has increased opportunities to connect with your target audience, it also comes with a myriad of legal rules and regulations that you cannot ignore. Failure to comply with the regulations may mean removal of your campaign, ASA enforcement and suffering serious damage to your reputation.
Don’t ruin a great campaign by shortcutting on legal compliance. Check out our top tips to make sure your campaign stays on the right side of the law:
KEEP IT “LEGAL, DECENT, HONEST AND TRUTHFUL”
It’s a bit of a mouthful to say and bit of a challenge to always know how this subjective core principle of the CAP Code will be interpreted. Following CAP guidance and keeping an eye on ASA adjudications will help.
BACK UP YOUR CLAIMS TO BE THE “BEST”, “NO. 1” OR “THE UK’S FAVOURITE”
A dose of marketing puffery is fine, but you should know when the line is crossed and the law requires you to substantiate a claim with objective facts. And be really careful with comparisons about your competitor sites.
CAUTION! MIND THAT CHILD
Dating is for adults, and some marketing may of course be risqué. But unless you can control where your ads are targeted, make sure they are not inappropriate to be seen by children.
NICHE MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS
If you are targeting a particular niche don’t mislead people about who could access the site. Can you discriminate? And what if you allow others outside the target niche to join?
ACCURACY WITH PROMOTIONS AND OFFERS
Sales promotions are attractive to gain new members quickly, but can raise significant complaints if restrictions and limitations are misinterpreted or not made properly clear.
COMPETITIONS AND PRIZE DRAWS
There is a subtle distinction between legal competitions or prize draws, and illegal lotteries. It is easy to get right, but just as easy to get wrong – and you do not want to fall into the heavily regulated gambling bucket unintentionally.
You may have an arrangement with a celebrity or other personality to promote your site, but how do you make it clear that such messages are “clearly identifiable as a marketing communication”? Will the use of #ad or #spon always be enough to clarify the issue?
BLOGGERS AND NATIVE ADVERTISING
Editorial content and reviews from bloggers will always be a favourite way to enter into natural engagement with a target audience. But this is a hot topic right now – disclosure about the commercial relationship is key, but execution is tricky.
USER GENERATED CONTENT
Some of your best advocates are your satisfied members and adopting their positive feedback in your marketing must be no-brainer. But take care – as soon as you adopt User content, it must all comply with the CAP code too.
TO MODERATE OR NOT TO MODERATE?
Take care with your comments moderation policy. Get it wrong and you could be deemed the publisher of defamatory or copyright infringing comments.
And finally if all the law and regulations were not enough, when using Facebook, twitter or Instagram etc to spread the word, make sure you know all of their complex web of rules, and guidance. They have strict policies on what you can and cannot do with Likes, Retweets, Pins and Tagging to drive organic growth.
For more information and help on specifics, contact David Deakin at Wiggin.