Since so many small business marketing teams have embraced Twitter and Facebook, it's easy to forget that these effective channels have only been a part of the advertising arsenal of local companies for a short time. As a result, much of this industry is largely unregulated, especially when compared to more traditional forms of advertising such as television and radio. And this development is now catching the eye of federal regulators, according to a new report.

On May 3, the Kansas City Star broke the news that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is looking to begin a comprehensive analysis of the Twitter advertising conducted by liquor, beer and wine companies.

The news source indicated that the FTC has sent notices requesting 14 major alcohol producers to release information regarding their targeted internet marketing and online advertising. Among the major providers that were issued these notices included Anheuser-Busch and Bacardi.

The study is expected to culminate in the release of a report that would give the alcohol industry recommendations on how to structure its online marketing and real time advertising.

Commenting on the development in the report, David Jernigan, a public health specialist with Johns Hopkins University, noted that since the online advertising industry is evolving so rapidly, regulation and monitoring has lagged in this sector, even outside of the adult beverage industry.

Due to the rapid changes affecting the online marketing industry, small businesses in the greater Midwest that want to best adapt could benefit from hiring a local online marketing specialist that is capable of retooling a company's advertising in accordance with these changes.

In addition, microbreweries in the Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado areas could benefit by hiring a service that is able to help them not only start this sort of online advertising, but also update it as required by federal guidelines and best practices as they emerge.