Whether we admit it or not, we all at one time or another have been influenced by some sort of social media product pitch. Unfortunately this week, we saw the one of the pitfalls of hawking certain products on social media. The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to pregnant reality TV star Kim Kardashian after she touted the benefits of using the morning sickness drug Diclegis, made by pharmaceutical manufacturer Duchesnay USA on Instagram.

Instagram Marketing Lesson from Kim Kardashian

While there’s nothing wrong with promoting and marketing products and services on social media, there is something wrong when you don’t mention the risks associated with using the particular product, in this case the drug. The FDA asked that Duchesnay remove all of Kardashian’s social media posts associated with the promotion of Diclegis.

According to the FDA, the Instagram post¬†“misleadingly fails to provide material information about the consequences that may result from the use of the drug and suggests that it is safer than has been demonstrated.”

There are various laws that actually protect the promotion of pharmaceutical drugs, whether through the drug companies themselves or pharmaceutical representatives, as long as the promotion is “truthful and non-misleading.” It falls under the constitutional free speech right. Social media platforms like Instagram provide more free range for promotion of any sort of products, provided it doesn’t violate their terms of use.

So what’s the lesson? Whether marketing on a platform like Instagram or promoting products and services through a blog, transparency is always important. The audience reach through social media is becoming hard to ignore for business owners, and that was certainly a consideration for Duchesnay when paying Kardashian to promote their morning sickness drug on Instagram.

When considering a social media marketing program on a platform like Instagram or Twitter, it’s important to understand each platform’s policies and how it can work with your brand or company. The power of instantaneous promotion through social media is undeniable; this direct-to-consumer advertising is rapidly growing among businesses. The situation with Duchesnay and Kim Kardashian was certainly very specific, especially in a highly regulated industry such as big pharma, but the overall lessons are the same.