14 January 2013 2 Comments

Social Media Promotion Crimes: Many brands are liable!

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

Social media promotion, Social media rules, Online promotion, Guidelines for social media promotionThe incorporation and use of social media by many brands is one of the best things that can happen to businesses and brands. The power of social media and the disruption it brings to Marketing, Public Relations, Business process, performance, Communications at different levels is here to stay. Nobody should think it is going to become a thing of the past. The reason is that Social media touches the core of human being-relationship building and socialization.

 As we know, any form of promotion (Social Media promotion is not an exception) includes a bit but not limited to advertising, endorsement, support, sponsorship, creating awareness for a brand among others. If this is so, the simple act of asking fans, friends to like your Fan pages is part of social media promotion. In addition to this, building fan engagement, submission and back link building, promoting value of your products and desire for increase web traffic among others  may be classified as social media promotion because behind all these is a goal.

 In itself, like all other promotions, social media promotion is not evil, but Agencies, Marketers, brands’ corporate and marketing professionals may inadvertently be placing their brands on the litigation lane if they are not in constant touch with laws that govern all these activities.

To be a thorough bred professional in any field we must not stop at understanding the fundamentals but go deeper beyond the surface. For this reason, I am presently engaged in studying Social Media Legal aspects. Robert MCHale is one of my teachers here. This is enhancing my performance and professional prowess in areas that are often overlooked. My class has led me in the journey of discoveries.

I now know that what most of our Banks, Telecoms, Electronics, FCMG companies are doing is nothing short of lottery and not much of real social media promotion. This may be true for most of the efforts put in place to support such Reality shows like ‘Maltina Dance Hall, MTN Project Fame, Big Brother Africa, Etisalat’s Nigeria Idols, Nigerians Got A Talent etc. But before we go on we wish to establish we have nothing personal against any of these brands but that whoever is handling their Social media campaign or other Online promotion should beware lest they cause more damage for these brands in no distance time when the clime is more regulated.

Just for a start today, we will limit ourselves to classifications of online promotions and what makes many of our brands here culpable through their engagements of these tools. First there is what is referred to as sweepstakes. This is simply prize giveaways where winners are chosen randomly while contest are based primarily on picking winners through demonstration of certain agreed and known skills. Lotteries are random drawing where winners are drawn randomly, use of considerations and  where winners have to pay to play i,e send text messages with a premium price etc The elements of lotteries are ‘chance, prize and considerations’. Often lotteries are classified illegal except it is state backing. We will talk more about this later. Today let us concentrate on what makes some of these online promotions illegal.

Terms and conditions: in the US, based on Federal Trade Commission demands, terms and conditions must not be written in a tiny letter. The terms and conditions must also be made public. Can we say this is true in many of these social media promotions? What customers hear is T&C applied. How many know the T&C?

Judges and judgement parameters: in a contest which will use social media promotion, mandatory requirements are a body of judges whose selection, basic qualification that support such position of authorities in the area of skill requirement of participations and rules that guide winner’s selection must be publicized. While judges are named in most of these reality shows/contests, what qualified them is left to assumption. There are few exceptions to this. The worst offence is that parameters of selections are only known to the judges. What audience hear is ‘I Say Yes’. These details are essential if your brand will not run into trouble one day.

Public voting and skill based contest: Public voting falls under social media promotion because it involves use of digital mobile platforms as well as online voting. Public voting not only creates more view for the contest, in most cases, they increase website view and fans and followers. A flaw of public voting which can make such skill based contests (MTN Project Fame, Maltina Dance Hall, Nigeria Idols, Nigeria Got A Talents) and such likes illegal is when heavy considerations is based on public voting that has a fee attached. An adage says: a war with a ‘publicized’ date does not kill a wise leper. He prepares and plans ways of escape before it comes. Our Agencies, ‘Social Media experts’, Marketing, Public Relations and Software/Apps Developers among others must hear this now.

2 Responses to “Social Media Promotion Crimes: Many brands are liable!”

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