You wouldn’t leave your finances to someone just because they liked money. So why is it that for many companies, much of their public image is entrusted to junior or novice staff, just because they have an interest in social media.

The simple answer, is that many companies do not realize that social media is now viewed as a serious and integral part of any marketing campaign. This means that not only does social media heavily influence public opinion, but furthermore, this influence must be maintained within conventional advertising guidelines.

A while back, owner of Smirnoff, Diageo, came under fire for perceived breaches of advertising guidelines within their Facebook page. Despite, Diageo’s belief that Facebook content did not come under the jurisdiction of the Advertising Standards Bureau, it was determined that social media was in fact advertising content.

Many however, still do not apply the relevant codes of practice to social media marketing, as they are unaware of the legal implications of social media as an advertising medium.

In this example Diageo did escape punishment, however with the Advertising Standards Bureau now officially recognizing social media as an advertising medium, companies may now be liable for the content posted through these channels. This includes both content posted by the company, or by their consumers using company-branded pages.

As such, it is now necessary that all companies ensure that social media content is constructed and monitored by employees with a sound knowledge of advertising guidelines and laws.