Important Message from Spike Jones, WOMMA Board Chair
You have undoubtedly read and heard about the recent debacle that is the Fyre Festival. The wake of destruction is a wide one. And while we watch the aftermath playout on social media, in the press and in court, I wanted to touch base on a couple of things since this directly related to two of the three pillars that WOMMA is built on: influencers and ethics.
We can pontificate to no end on what all went wrong, but the most troubling thing coming out of this is the blatant disregard to the FTC disclosure rules for engaging with (and paying) social media influencers. I wanted to take a moment and assure you that WOMMA stands behind the FTC Guidelines and is in full support of any action that the FTC may bring.
When a consumer is misled, we all lose.
We must hold ourselves and one another to a higher standard of accountability. The full power of word of mouth marketing works only when we start with the consumer in mind. And that relationship is based on TRUST. Those responsible for not insisting on the influencers they paid to disclose in strict accordance with the FTC Guidelines are just as responsible as the influencers who didn’t disclose themselves.
There is a RIGHT WAY to engage influencers, and we’re thankful of the numerous WOMMA members that are leading the way in best-in-class influencer programs while setting the standard for disclosure practices. At the same time, we will not tolerate deception, as it damages our collective efforts across the board.
It’s always a good idea to keep the FTC Endorsement Guidelines handy and establish workflows to ensure you’re following the rules of the road on all social media platforms. You can also check their site for press releases and blog posts to stay current on all things social media disclosure.
Furthermore, WOMMA recently launched online Ethical Use of Social Media courses for three groups: 1) Employees and Advocates; 2) Influencers and Content Creators and 3) Marketers. These were designed to be in lock-step with best-in-class disclosure programs. Another great resource we’re providing around influencers and disclosure is the updated 2017 WOMMA Guide to Influencer Marketing.
As this space continues to grow, we all will be under greater scrutiny. It’s not a matter of “if,” but “when.” Gone are the days of the social Wild West – and with it, comes greater accountability and responsibility. Join me as we commit to one another as an organization and companies to do not what only is legal, but right. We all owe that to our customers.