June 18, 2010
Elaine Wiltshire, The Lawyers Weekly
media is not going away. Once thought of as trend, sites like MySpace, Facebook
and now Twitter have seeped into our everyday lives.
a third-party site can be enticing for a company looking to promote a brand,
product or initiative, especially based on the sheer volume of users and
accessibility of sites like Twitter and Facebook.
marketing really takes advantage of the functionality of social media tools to
attract high traffic to a company’s site or social media profile.
viral marketing does is harness the strongest consumer triggers – it’s the
personal recommendation,” said Kelly Moffatt, a partner at Osler, Hoskin
& Harcourt LLP and conference presenter.
goal of the viral marketing campaign is to create a message, send that message
out to part of your target market and then make that message so compelling that
your target market feels compelled to forward it on ... it really just captures
people’s interest so they really do a lot of the marketing for you.”
viral marketing really comes with a unique set of legal risks due to its
unpredictable nature. The goal of legal counsel is to make sure the necessary
steps have been taken to manage and anticipate potential risk associated with
these types of campaigns. One specific risk, especially when dealing with
third-party sites, is loss of control of the message, said Moffatt.
internet makes it so easy for [users] to forward your message, but it also
makes it a lot easier for them to tweak [it],” she said. “So really that
creates a risk that both your message and the audience to which it’s going to
be delivered is going to become inconsistent or get a bit off-track with what
the marketers’ original objectives were.”
suggests that sponsors host contests or other types of marketing campaigns on
their own website and use social marketing tools to drive traffic to that site,
“as opposed to doing it all within the Facebook platform, which obviously
leaves you much more susceptible and much more at the mercy of their terms and
conditions, policies and decisions.”