In my three years of managing social media at The Network, I have had to pay close attention to the question of social media risk management. Social media compliance is one of the biggest challenges for compliance managers and executives, especially when it comes to highly regulated industries like the financial industry. I am continuously learning about new regulations and technology developments, and I am obviously not alone: every webinar and event offering credible information about social media risk management is always packed. So, when I came across the Smarsh 2013 Electronic Communications Compliance Survey focusing on new communications channels for financial services, my curiosity level went through the roof.
It turns out that almost 50 percent of financial advisors now interact daily with their clients through social media, according to an Accenture study covered in a Wall Street & Technology article. Client interactions and prospecting rank as the second most popular social activities. The number one use of social media for financial professionals is networking (no surprise), which overwhelmingly takes place on LinkedIn. Other most requested social media channels in financial services include (in the order of popularity) Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Salesforce Chatter and Pinterest.
Looking at the survey results, it’s absolutely clear that the financial industry embraces social media more and more each year, even though new and changing regulations and privacy/security challenges are still huge. Despite the growing social adoption trends, there are quite a few firms and institutions that prohibit social media use whatsoever, but companies are coming to understand that what you do not allow CAN hurt you.
Banning social media (or any other communication channel for that matter) is not hard, but proving that you can enforce this policy is a different story.
According to the Smarsh survey, “Demonstrating prohibition becomes a much more complex task when it comes to communication tools that are either used for personal communications (i.e. Facebook, Twitter) or where adoption is driven by end-users rather than system administrators (i.e. some instant messaging or enterprise social media applications).… Respondents who allowed and governed usage were far more confident in their ability to provide specifically requested messages within a reasonable time frame than “prohibitors” were in their ability to prove that the policy of prohibition is working.”
The survey also delivers interesting facts and numbers on mobile devices and apps adoption by financial professionals as well as use of other means of electronic communications that may need regulations. When you look at these trends and numbers presented in such a simple and informative way, the importance of comprehensive policies and effective employee training comes to mind time and time again.
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