Launches Social Media Compliance Solution for Financial Services, the company that creates turnkey compliance solutions for blogger engagement and social media activities has just announced a product for financial services. These regulated companies no longer need to fret the technical complexities about information sharing in social media when communicating with their online stakeholders. The tool works for investor relations, brokers, funds and employees. It simply helps them engage in social media, while ensuring that they are in compliance with the law. appears simply as a short URL at the end of a brand announcement, blogger post or Tweet. The URL takes users to an area that houses appropriate documentation for the promotional activity. For financial services specifically, the tool makes sure corporate messages in social media are in compliance with FINRA, SEC and FTC rules and regulations. is currently partnering with StockTwits to showcase its financial tool. Here’s how social media content appears with the links:


Each link within a social media post has a unique code. This helps the system track syndication and measure online word of mouth as content gets picked up and quoted elsewhere. The traceable nature of content also means that content that gets syndicated remains in compliance. Companies do not need to worry about liability issues as users share and re-tweet or re-post content. 

You can watch a video announcement about this smart solution here




Posted via email from Speaking of Social Media

Legal Expertise Needed!

Increasing brand presence in social media calls for help from legal departments. As brands step into open commentary space, they need to protect their name as well as the rights of those consumers creating content on their company sponsored pages. The latest updates to FTC guidelines–which insist on disclosure of all material connections and hold marketers liable for false information that may transpire as a result of their social media programs–are all the more reason to get professional legal advice before launching an online campaign.

As social media is still an evolving marketing area, many marketers and their counselors are challenged by the absence of precedents. New tools and functionalities pop up almost every day. Existing platforms, such as Facebook, may change their rules as they go along, responding to public criticism. Moreover, content ownership in social media remains a gray area, where one company provides the frame (e.g., Facebook), another sponsors the area (e.g., your brand) and audience creates the content.

Here are some suggestions that can increase collaboration between marketing teams and their legal advisors, while helping brands navigate social media waters as safely as possible:

1-                   Disclosure should be top priority. Include the necessary statements in your social media communications and Web areas to abide by the FTC guidelines. Refer to disclosure statements suggested by WOMMA. Consider adopting a system such as, which provides an FTC-compliant software platform to organize all communications between a brand, bloggers and other social media participants.

2-                   If you are signing contracts with bloggers, spell out the terms of disclosure as part of the deal.

3-                   If employees are likely to chime into social media discussions about your brand, provide them with the necessary training and information so they know how to disclose their relationship with the brand.

4-                   Work with legal teams at Facebook, Twitter and other popular communities. It is best to go to the very source and ask. Often times, their rules of communication and participation will be laid out under ‘about us’ or ‘corporate’ sections of their Web sites.

5-                   Encourage all of your team members (i.e., brand marketers and legal) to familiarize themselves with the tools you are deploying. You can have more fruitful discussions, if everyone understands the social media tools’ basic functionality.

6-                   Speedy response is critical in social media communications. Before launching a project, arrange a core set of team members including a legal counselor who can be on-call to evaluate questionable comments.

7-                   You do have (some) control of content in branded areas. When planting your brand’s flag in social media and creating areas dedicated to your topics, communicate your rules of communication to your audience. You may reserve the right to remove inappropriate postings. If you are planning to use consumer-generated media in corporate promotions (e.g., ads, releases, etc.) be sure to indicate this as well. 

Posted via email from dotwom’s posterous

Join WOMMA’s Webinar on New FTC Regulations

Yesterday, FTC announced new regulations that will impact the way companies have been communicating with bloggers. According to the new regulations (which we had been expecting for a while), bloggers are asked to disclose any material connections they may have with a company, if they are writing on the products and services they received from that organization. Fair? Absolutely. Tricky? Yes.

I don’t think anyone in their right mind would argue against the importance of having honest conversations with bloggers and other consumers online. I would like to think that we are past the point of considering fake blogs, paid and undisclosed posts as smart marketing initiatives. Consumers will figure it out. You will lose their trust. Most importantly, you will lose their business.

However, I do think we will all need to be extra careful to make sure consumers know about the conversations between brand representatives and bloggers. We are always open and transparent about who we represent when we speak with bloggers. We always ask that their readers know how they are able to try products and where they get their information. But we obviously do not control what they write. Nor would we ever tell them how to write a post. (Would you tell Mossberg how to write his column??)

The FTC guideline is pretty clear on this: do not post without full disclosure. But, is it enough for a brand to ask bloggers that they disclose the source of their trial product? Will we need more structured and possibly legal communications with bloggers when we invite them to join programs? Does a coupon or a discount offer constitute material connection?

There will be much discussion on these types of questions in the coming days. I have a feeling we’ll learn on a case by case basis, as blogger networks evolve and offer new business models. For now, the best thing to do is to over-communicate about blogger relations and brand connections… and to join WOMMA’s upcoming Webinar with the organization’s general counsel Tony DiResta on October 8th. Info on how to attend here at