SOURCE: GasPedal


October 06, 2009 14:23 ET

All Companies Engaging in Social Media Should Create Disclosure Policies for Employees and Agencies

Social Media Business Council Releases Three Guides to Safe Social Media Outreach Under New FTC Disclosure Regulations

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - October 6, 2009) - The Social Media Business Council (SMBC) -- whose 80 Fortune 1000 members have promoted disclosure since June of 2008 -- had its collaborative open-source Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit reinforced by new social media standards issued by the Federal Trade Commission this week.

(Download the Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit:

According to the FTC's Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, marketers will be held accountable if social media outreach and word of mouth campaigns do not result in truthful disclosure. While the new rules will be applied on a case-by-case basis, they state that the post of any blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered to be a sponsored advertising message, and therefore may be subject to enforcement.

(View the new regulations:

The FTC makes it clear that there are three things you need to do to limit your liability. These exact steps were recommended in the SMBC's guidelines, which were published in July 2008.

Three Guides to Safe Social Media Outreach:

1. Require disclosure and truthfulness in social media outreach.

2. Monitor the conversation and correct misstatements.

3. Create social media policies and training programs.

"Every company should have a social media disclosure policy in place for its employees, agencies, and subcontractors," said SMBC CEO Andy Sernovitz. "If you are engaged in social media, it is the only way to protect your brand. SMBC members were fully prepared for the FTC's announcement -- it's time for every company to take action."

Any company still working on their social media policies or seeking best practices guidance is invited to download the SMBC's Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit, as well as learn more about joining the Council, at

About the Social Media Business Council:

The Social Media Business Council, formerly the Blog Council, is a brands-only community that helps large organizations build successful social media programs. Members gain instant access and advice from the heads of social media at the world's largest brands and collaborate with one another in a friendly, productive, and private environment. The Social Media Business Council is operated by GasPedal.