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The FTC vs. The Facebook Fan Page

Social Media Marketing :: The Value Lies Within Those Involved

In the game of Marketing, especially word-of-mouth and peer-to-peer marketing, testimonials and endorsements have always stood as the most valuable type of messaging out there. There is no doubt that when you hear an appraisal of a product from a friend, family member, colleague or anyone else close to you, your trust level of the product will increase. As humans, and as consumers a recommendation goes a long way. In fact, that basis is foundation of my business in Social Media Marketing. My goal is to get people talking about a product, and hopefully in a good way.word-of-mouth-marketing-neilsens

However, recently the FTC has come out with some new rules about endorsements that will forever change the way we as marketers, advertisers and business owners, can play the game. The FTC’s has updated its “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” which address endorsements by consumers, experts, organizations, and celebrities, as well as the disclosure of important connections between advertisers and endorsers.

Some of these rules include:
1. Bloggers are now required to indicate the existence of any financial relationship when they are writing about a product.
2. Celebrities have a duty to disclose their relationships with advertisers when making endorsements outside the context of traditional ads, such as on talk shows or in social media.
3. Endorsements on your website should only be from current clients or customers
4. You may be liable for marketing done by affiliates selling your product

While at first glance it looks as if the FTC has a strong hold on what you sell and how you brand it in the marketplace. You may be thinking, how do I get around this new rule and keep your product “word-of-mouth” friendly and keep the endorsements updated, fresh and from current clients or customers? Consider Nils Andres for example.

Where the rules might have changed for your own website, the new FTC regulation makes the case for having a presence in Social Media even stronger.

Why Use Social Media for Endorsements?
Social Media is a place for clients, consumers, and customers to talk in an open forum. It gives the consumer the power to endorse freely without the constraints of the product. How can you make sure you are not liable for the endorsements?

Step 1….Make a Facebook Fan Page. (If you need help with this, my company, SocialMediaPlans, will handle this for you)
Step 2…Build your fan base. (Again, if you need help with this, SocialMediaPlans, is your go to destination)
Step 3…Encourage your fans to endorse your product.


CASE STUDY

Last week, a company I help, SEO ARTICLE WRITING PROS, a company that specializes in creating content all things internet marketing, came to me asking me about the new rules and regulations. They wanted to build their presence on Facebook and since they were brand new to the Facebook Fan Page game, they wanted content on their page so new clients and customers could see that they had a following and they would be trusted.

How did we do this?

Step 1. Create a fan page. (SEE HERE)
Step 2. Come up with a strategy that would entice people to write on their fan page. In this particular instance we used a contest.
SEO Article Writing Pros agreed to give away $100 of free content to a member of the fan page. To be entered all you had to do was Join the Fan Page and write a short greeting on the wall. (With contests, the easier the entry level, the more entries you will receive, so for the short-term goal of getting content and endorsements on the page, this contest was an easy solution.)

Contest Post SEO ARTICLE WRITING PROS Facebook

The contest was a big hit for the current fans as well as a way to gain new fans through facebook marketing. (A general rule of Facebook marketing is getting your name on people’s homepage and profile. Likes and comments are a Facebook marketers best friend!)

In one week SEO ARTICLE WRITING PROS gained 100 new fans without spending $1 dollar in advertising. In addition, they also received 62 wall posts, which means they have 62 new endorsements! 62 new endorsements that the FTC can not complain about because they were written by the people themselves as User-Generated Content.

SEOWritingArticleProsEndorsements

Fans offered up their opinions, praises, and regards at their own will. Whether they did it to win or whether they did it to voice their opinion makes no difference. The fact of the matter is that consumers on Social Media are willing to offer up their voice and as a marketer, business owner, you should take advantage of that.

Lastly, you can also use the fan page badge as a way to show the endorsements received on facebook on your own website. (The picture below is a screen grab of the fan page badge that I have on my website SocialMediaPlans.com)

SocialMediaPlans Fanpage Badge

Besides the reasons listed above, a fan page is also important because it spreads your visibility, as your page will be indexed and searchable on Google, Bing, and other search engines as well as Facebook.

  • You can have an unlimited number of fans, unlike your profile page which only allows you to have 5,000.
  • When people add your page, comment, or like something you have posted it will show up on their feed which filters out to their friends and network for increased virility.
  • You can establish your brand further
  • You can create exclusive deals, offers and content
  • You can use it as a forum for customer support and/or praise
  • You can use it as market research into your brand at a low cost.

If you like what you have read and what you have seen, make sure you go ahead and fan this innovative company! And of course you can become a fan of SocialMediaPlans while you are at it. :)

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Discussion

10 comments for “The FTC vs. The Facebook Fan Page”

  • http://twitter.com/flyfreebiz Fly Free Biz

    “… increased virility.” Interesting turn of phrase to explain that concept. :)

    This is very useful, excellent advice for anyone who has, or is thinking about having, a new Facebook Page for their company/organization.

    One thing to be careful of … a certain bookselling company here in Canada has used their Facebook Page to post promotions and deals, and some of them attracted large numbers of negative and derisive comments. The public is not afraid to voice their dislike or displeasure online, so think things through carefully before posting on your Page.

    Thanks for the article Stephanie. Happy Holidays!

    Randy Hawes

  • http://www.stephaniefrasco.com stephaniefrasco

    Thanks Randy! Regarding your thoughts about the negative comments – that is a concern of many people when it comes to Social media. However, I believe it is actually a good thing, even if you do get negative feedback, as it shows you, as a company what you can do to build the reputation and respond to your clients concerns.

    If you respond to them, they are likely to be more receptive than if you don't. Take their feedback and make the best of it. If you do show them that you care about your customers, they are likely to be less harsh in the future.

    People just want to be heard. :)

  • Pingback: Stephanie Frasco: The FTC vs. The Facebook Fan Page : Sobel Media

  • http://twitter.com/flyfreebiz Fly Free Biz

    “… increased virility.” Interesting turn of phrase to explain that concept. :)

    This is very useful, excellent advice for anyone who has, or is thinking about having, a new Facebook Page for their company/organization.

    One thing to be careful of … a certain bookselling company here in Canada has used their Facebook Page to post promotions and deals, and some of them attracted large numbers of negative and derisive comments. The public is not afraid to voice their dislike or displeasure online, so think things through carefully before posting on your Page.

    Thanks for the article Stephanie. Happy Holidays!

    Randy Hawes

  • http://www.stephaniefrasco.com stephaniefrasco

    Thanks Randy! Regarding your thoughts about the negative comments – that is a concern of many people when it comes to Social media. However, I believe it is actually a good thing, even if you do get negative feedback, as it shows you, as a company what you can do to build the reputation and respond to your clients concerns.

    If you respond to them, they are likely to be more receptive than if you don't. Take their feedback and make the best of it. If you do show them that you care about your customers, they are likely to be less harsh in the future.

    People just want to be heard. :)

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