On Friday, Liquid attended the CIPR event hosted at the Museum of Liverpool: ‘Social Media and The Law’. Once we were all introduced to some new faces (and the already acquainted swapped stories over a coffee and a triangle sandwich): we got into the thick of it – ‘How must our marketing messages change, to comply with the law in the digital age?’

Tony McDonough, business journalist at The Liverpool Echo kicked off the lunch by describing the opportunities and costs afforded to agencies in the digital age. McDonough spoke with perspective, highlighting how the 'press bin' at the Echo is changing under the Liverpool Echo’s new 'good news' policy.

With the majority of the Echo's readers now coming from Facebook (87%), there is an increased demand for local stories with quick turnaround. This shift in policy has changed the press dynamic, says Tony, making newspapers more reliant on agency press releases. He made a (passionate) case for reminding all that: "journalists are not your consumers" - imploring agencies to drop the clichés and jargon altogether.

Video content is far more likely to be picked up, though few seemed surprised. As print journalism transforms into digital journalism, without video, all press releases must have a high quality photo. Considering the speed of digital turn-around "photos upon request" will no longer be an option and will immediately cause the deletion of your press release. In summary, the window of opportunity to get clients publicity in local newspapers is wider than ever, yet your approach needs to be focused.

Following Tony, Steve Kuncewicz wittily covered the opportunities and limitations of social media from a legal standing. The prominent dangers are in the forms of competitions and celebrity endorsement. Steve was quick to drive home two messages: that it must be obvious to the consumer when a celebrity is endorsing a product and any competitions executed online must comply with policy and have a clear outcome.

Advertising laws and regulations will be amended to further regulate social and online marketing. One of the more interesting points Steve made, indicated a shift in attention away from marketing and advertising authorities. Steve warned, Brand accounts, mentioning a user rather than replying to a user (social listening engagement) will be considered unsolicited marketing in the new age and is the first problem advertising authorities are looking to regulate. Likewise, social media marketing looks to become limited to the feed/timeline and future strategies must take a lack of 'cold engagement' into consideration. That said, Steve told us not to worry too much and reminded us that social media has more ‘opportunity’ than ‘cost’.

Thank you to CIPR for hosting such an enlightening event (and the sandwiches).

Blog by: Clare