Regulating Social Media

At DigiVino, we like to help our clients, soon-to-be-clients and other wine businesses like you and yours to stay informed of digital media changes that may impact your businesses. New federal guidelines about social media advertising for the alcohol industry have given us one such opportunity to do just that!

As you know, digital media has become integral to business success and social media has tremendous influence. As new opportunities to advertise and freely promote rise, it was only a matter of time before some sort of regulation was put in place. Recently new federal guidelines have been put in place affecting social media advertising and alcohol sales. Here, we will share some of the salient points with you.

WE GOTTA SAY THIS: the information provided here and/or in any documentation we produce should not be construed or interpreted as legal advice. DigiVino and our mother company, GOsustainably LLC, never provide legal advice. We strongly recommend that our clients and others consult with their attorneys before determining how to comply with these and all pertinent guidelines, laws and regulations! But now back to the our blog post…

The regulations address five primary portals:
– Facebook
– Video Sharing Sites
– Blogs
– Microblogs
– Mobile Applications

In essence, the new regulation requires that mandatory information should be displayed on profiles or brand pages and it is advised to refrain from making prohibited statements, such as false health claims.

Mandatory Information typically includes:
– Brand name (duh, in your header of course)
– Address/ country (typically on the footer)
– Contents (i.e.: use an XTML site map; this helps with SEO, too!)
– Saccharin disclosure (what? not so common in wine…but you’re the winemakers…you tell us)
– Commodity statement (ask your attorney about this one)
– Statement of age (as appropriate for your state/country; consider a popup birthdate question)
– Health warning (we’ve all heard red wine is great for your health; consider including a statement about drinking in moderation; also some attorneys believe it best not to mention the claims that wine is good for you—we suggest asking your attorney)

One approach to conveying this information would be to put the bulk of it on your Terms & Conditions, or Legal Notice page, and include the statement of age somewhere on your homepage and/or shopping check out page. One clever way to do this is thru a popup window or lightbox. Keeping your Web site compliant needn’t be stressful. If you need help with updating your Web and social media sites with new content recommended by your attorneys, we’re here to help!

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