I recently came across an article written by David Kelly and published on SMK Social Media Knowledge. You can read the full article here, but this is what I take from it…
While most upstanding businesses would not dream about writing fraudulent reviews about themselves, it does happen and this is a hot topic for the ACCC. Aveling Homes was fined $380,000 for manipulating online reviews, with a senior manager of the company fined $25,000 for being “knowingly concerned”.
This case shows that it’s not just a company that will cop it – if you know what’s going on, you may find yourself in the firing line. If you’re getting bad reviews on your social media pages, you should spend your time fixing the problem instead of writing fake self promotion!
The AANA Code of Ethics was updated to require advertising and marketing communications (as defined under the Code) be clearly identified, however there was a grey area around whether supplying free products to the influencer constituted “payment”.
If you have an arrangement with a supplier and receive payment or goods for positive reviews, spruiking or promotion on social media, then you should disclose this to avoid running into issues with the ACCC.
There are many industry codes with specific requirements regarding advertising and these apply to social media just as much as any other advertising medium.
Keep in mind that the code requires advertising use language that is “appropriate for the circumstances”. Remember that minors (aged 13+) can register for social media accounts.
You wouldn’t use foul language or questionable imagery on your shop or website, so don’t do it on social media!
Brands must ensure their advertising is appropriate for the medium and audience, and complies with all relevant industry codes and applicable laws.
It’s a jungle out there – Keep it professional and if you’re not sure, get some legal advice!