What’s the best social media policy? Implementation

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What’s the best social media policy? Implementation

Social media. It’s a sticky wicket for Broker/Dealers, RIAs, FCMs — actually pretty much all finance-related categories — and a “virtual” blank check for the regulators. Sure, you can prohibit the use of social media firm-wide…but we all know how that story ends. Better to put sturdy mechanisms in place to safeguard your social media /social media messaging processes.

So just how powerful is social media for businesses?

What do the statistics show? More and more business are incorporating social media into their marketing plan, and a larger component of their traditional marketing budget is being moved into social media marketing. Consumers are following brands on social, and businesses are deciding on content to best reach their targeted audience. These statistics can help your company navigate the social media waters in 2015.

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Here are three, basic tactics we at Patrina recommend:

Step One: DEVELOP a Social Media Policy

Smart, right? Develop a social media policy for your employees and make sure it clearly spells out:

  • Every social media medium in which your firm will participate;
  • Who can/will participate;
  • Your firm’s universal message; and most importantly,
  • What employees cannot do or say when representing your business.

This last item is the most challenging, but critical to mapping out how you want your business to engage with online communities. To see how others address this issue, check out this online database of policies.

Step Two: Implement a Social Media Message Capture and Archiving Solution

It’s inevitable. One day, you or your chief compliance officer or, branch manager will be asked to produce a post, message or tweet for an eDiscovery request. A social media policy that simply prohibits all social media use will not get you off the hook. It’s not enough to just say, “NO!” You’ve got to have a well-thought-out plan of social media policies and procedures because eDiscovery sanctions typically result when businesses fail to:

  • Preserve electronically stored information (ESI);
  • Produce an evidentiary request; or
  • Provide requested records in a timely manner.

Capturing and archiving all posts is critical — whether you do it yourself or rely on third party providers, who capture, archive, and index your electronic records and support your processes with essential supervisory and audit tools to ensure you’re always ready to produce a requested record.

Step Three: Defend Your Social Media Policy

The best defense is a…defense! Put it in writing. Make sure every employee understands your firm’s social media policies. Spell out the consequences for non-compliance. Review and test your policy often. Deal swiftly with noncompliance.

Social media’s cost/benefit analysis

Banning social media usage is a leaky social media policy — one  that cannot protect your business. Engaging online communities with an appropriate social media presence can greatly benefit your firm. However, a poorly executed plan can only result in exposures.

So take charge. Develop and defend your social media policy. Confused about structure/compliance? Ask for help. Pick up the phone. Open the lines of communication with a trusted technology partner like us to ensure your social media policy, processes and procedures are in place and functioning smoothly. Ask about our comprehensive social media regulatory archival and compliance solutions specifically designed for Broker/Dealers, RIAs, and FCMs. Or…you could do it all yourself…

Let’s talk (212- 233-1155).