Feb 17, 2010
Paul Rand, board president of WOMMA and president and CEO of the Zócalo Group, took a stab at fleshing out some best practice suggestions for social media disclosures in blogs and space-limited channels (i.e. Twitter).
Rand is cited in a recent MM&M article as stating, "I have consistently found that disclosure creates a better connection with readers and individuals, because there's clarity about motivation and connection to a brand. There's not as much second guessing about whether certain information is trustworthy or not," said Rand.
WOMMA went even so far as to suggest Twitter users use one of the following three hashtags when disclosure is needed:
■ #spon, for sponsored
■ #paid, for paid
■ #samp, for sample
While an interesting concept, and I love that WOMMA is taking steps to satisfy both FTC guidelines and the anticipated FDA Social Media guidelines, there are several things to consider:
- Do most consumers (not the ones using TweetDeck, HootSuite or other APIs) understand what a hashtag is and what it means?
- Are the hashtags themselves truly descriptive of the ‘disclosure’?
- Is med/legal within pharma willing to accept the risk that the hashtag itself provides adequate disclosure to satisfy the FDA, and if Brand X product is mentioned, and the #spon hash is used (read this as = branded promotion), where is the link to the PI, ISI, etc.?
Don’t get me wrong…WOMMA should be commended for moving a step forward. However, we can’t lose sight of the realities of this highly-regulated environment.
7 additional pharmaceutical social media disclosure recommendations are also included in the WOMMA PDF.
I’d love to hear industry opinions about these recommendations.