Social media is both the great promise and the frustrating curse of beverage marketing. On the one hand, it allows us direct access to our customers, without having to go through gatekeepers. On the other, it’s challenging to know what are best practices and how to most effectively use the tools. This is especially so, when it comes to social compliance. When I refer to social compliance, I look at it in two ways: 1) compliance with existing beverage laws regarding advertising (i.e. Tied-House Laws), and 2) following the policies of the platforms themselves. Social compliance can be tricky for those that don’t follow the news everyday, and we understand the frustration. It seems like Facebook changes the rules every day.
Facebook Changes Policy
For example, on July 24, 2019 CNN Reported that it Facebook will unveil a new policy to restrict sales and limit content related to alcohol (and tobacco) products. The policy took effect immediately on that day. The new policy prohibits all PRIVATE, trades, transfer, and gifting of alcohol on Facebook and Instagram. The fact that this was allowed in the first place is quite surprising, considering that these actions are not technically legal anyway.
Any BRANDS, that post content related to the sale or transfer of these products will have to restrict the content to adults 18 or older. Since the legal drinking age in most U.S. States is 21, we’d recommend that as the threshold to remain in social compliance. This will also apply to any Facebook groups created to sell alcohol.
While alcohol is included in this new policy, it appears that the driving force behind the policy change was some shady practices used for the promotion of tobacco-related products. Anyone seem Thank you for Smoking? Same stuff, different day.
How to Proceed
Okay, fine. These are all issues we’re used to. The question is: how do you stay in social compliance? In order to meet the policies, you’ll need to age-gate.
Did you know that you can set an age-restriction on your Facebook page? On you page, go to Settings > Edit (under Age Restrictions). Now there is a setting for People 21 and Over, but we recommend Alcohol-Related to remain in compliance globally. Facebook will automatically set the restriction for the country the user is from.
Now, Instagram is a bit trickier. There is now standard setting to age-gate for Instagram, so you’ll need to follow some special instructions.
Twitter leaves this issue in a grey area. They definitely have a policy regarding alcohol-related products, but really only restrict the age to advertising, not profiles. The same goes for Snapchat.
YouTube’s policy is quite detailed and you can age restrict your own videos.
As you can see from the above, social compliance can be complicated, but we can help guide you through the process.
So, how is your social compliance? Are you ensuring that you aren’t violating any policies of the platforms or laws of the state or country?
PLEASE NOTE: This content does not constitute legal advice. We offer it here as information only, as marketers need to be aware of these issues. Please consult an attorney if you have any specific questions regarding the law in your area.