Founded 21 years ago, shortly before Facebook’s launch, LinkedIn has long been dominant within its niche as a professional social networking platform. As the rules in the CAP Code are largely media neutral, the same principles that apply to other social media platforms - and indeed across all media - are also applicable to LinkedIn.
Here are some principles to make sure compliance is business as usual when advertising on LinkedIn.
To be or not B2B
LinkedIn is well known as a hub for brand promotion and information sharing between businesses and professionals, but some communications are nevertheless advertising for the purposes of the CAP Code, and therefore must stay in line with the relevant rules and prohibitions.
While content posted by organisations on LinkedIn can have the look and feel of editorial communication with other businesses and like-minded professionals, it’s important to keep in mind that the Code applies to marketing communications by companies on their own websites, or in other non-paid-for space online under their control, that are directly connected with the supply or transfer of goods – and this applies whether it’s B2C or B2B marketing.
Never fear if its crystal clear
All marketing communications must be obviously identifiable. Some advertising on LinkedIn may be clearly recognisable due to the context it appears in, and such as through ‘Promoted’ labelling. However, for any content that is potentially harder for audiences to recognise as advertising, for example influencer marketing, it’s important to ensure that it’s obviously identifiable.
While there have been several ASA rulings on the identifiability of ads on other social media platforms, there isn’t currently any precedent in this area for LinkedIn. The context of LinkedIn as a professional networking space differs to other social media platforms, as does the likely knowledge of the intended audience, but the principle of ensuring advertising is clearly identifiable still applies to all content on LinkedIn, including B2B influencer marketing.
For more detailed guidance on the principles, see the ‘Influencers’ guide to making clear that ads are ads’.
Job listings - it’s all in the detail
LinkedIn is used by a multitude of organisations, recruitment agencies and consultants to advertise job vacancies. As with all types of advertising, marketers must ensure that the messaging about recruitment opportunities, or the details and specifications of a position, do not materially mislead their audience.
Ads must firstly relate to genuine vacancies, and the living and working conditions for a role must not be misrepresented. The ASA has accepted that some degree of puffery is likely to be acceptable when employers use ‘aspirational’ claims to describe their workplace to attract applications. For instance, mission statements or organisational values which are subjective claims that are not capable of objective substantiation.
But when it comes to objective claims that can be substantiated - such as pay rates, hours or working patterns – which may affect the audience’s understanding of the role, employment advertising must be strictly accurate. Marketers will also be expected to hold substantiation for those claims.
For further guidance on employment and recruitment here.
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