These days, social media offers organizations tremendous business advantage in terms of reaching potential new customers and staying in touch with the ones currently on their roster. In fact, the number of organizations now actively using social media as one of its standard outbound forms of communications is on the rise.
With that being said, some social media channels are more popular than others and staying compliant is the key driver. For example, according to data from the Smarsh annual compliance survey for 2016, the use of Twitter and LinkedIn by compliance professionals, as well as those employed at financial services firms, has grown considerably where the use of Facebook has not.
BYOP vs. BYOD
Similar to the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomena, having the proper management tools and technology in place will be the key to making bring your own persona (BYOP), the use of personal social media applications and networks for business communication, safe to use. Another key to the successful adoption of BYOP will be the need for the entire organization to work together to form the right strategies, plans, implementation and support processes.
Success with BYOP will require open cooperation between IT, legal and marketing stakeholders in addition to the traditional compliance professionals and teams responsible for meeting regulatory requirements. The benefits derived from BYOP and their positive impact goes beyond just your compliance stakeholders.
When it comes to staying competitive in regulated industries, organizations are challenged daily by the dilemma of balancing risk versus reward for allowing social media communications, and the use of personal networks to promote and grow the business, and keep in touch with customers. Pre-approval for social media communications mitigates risk, but severely impacts the timeliness of communication, and the ability for the organization to initiate and participate in social media opportunities because they appear and play out so quickly.
Supervision of social media communications with real-time monitoring and automated policy checking is proving to be the right balance of appropriate governance and control, combined with sufficient business and communications agility.
Collaborating to Work Through Compliance Challenges
As BYOP moves from concept to reality, it’s important to understand the roles and challenges of your stakeholder groups when it comes to permitting social media use, and how they work together to safely manage use, address regulatory requirements, and reduce the likelihood of individual — and potentially conflicting — strategies for your organization’s social media presence.
Compliance has to ensure inbound and outbound content is safely and securely captured, archived and managed through active supervision, policies for flagging keywords or phrases, and guidelines that address questionable content. The challenge to this team is magnified particularly when communications happen under the radar on personal networks or devices. Your legal team must be able to quickly respond to discovery requests or litigious events where specific messages and content are relevant, and understand current industry regulations, including consumer protection laws, and local and state statutes that may have a direct impact on how you use social media.
Collaborating allows all groups to communicate their specific needs and pain points, which can inform the creation of a comprehensive and robust social media strategy and policy. It also decreases the potential for system silos and can eliminate instances of separate, narrowly focused plans that may inadvertently increase the potential for risk.
The collaboration process is an excellent opportunity to identify individuals within the larger stakeholder groups who can be looked upon as super users. Each member of the smaller group can represent their native team and communicate notable updates such as new regulations or platforms that may impact your social media activities. This team can double as a cross-department training team to explain the benefits of social media, risk and risk management procedures, your organization’s position and strategy, internal and external use, rules of engagement, and the needs and roles of stakeholder groups as they pertain to the bigger picture.