Is your organization among those that have jumped with both feet into the world of social media?
Recent survey results confirm that social media use is on the rise for almost all organizations across the globe. This is particularly the case in the financial services industry. A recent industry survey confirms that nearly two-thirds of all asset managers are actively using social media for marketing purposes.
Despite its increasing popularity and ubiquity, the securities industry is experiencing growing pains with social media. Just like other industries, financial services providers are struggling with applying notions of information governance to these non-traditional forms of communication. Indeed, 63% of surveyed asset managers reported that “regulatory recordkeeping” remains their greatest challenge with respect to social media. And as more organizations move toward social media marketing, the number of enterprises experiencing difficulty with retention is also likely to increase.
It therefore behooves organizations to develop an information governance strategy with respect to this information. The best practices being followed in this regard by financial services companies should be paradigmatic for organizations across the board.
The first such practice involves developing a global plan for how your organization will use social media. This is particularly important for groups that are just now exploring the value and opportunity of social networking. In the securities industry, companies must have a plan in place so they can determine how they and their representatives will communicate with investors. Having a plan in place that (1) maps out investor contact and communication strategy, (2) provides for required supervision of firm representatives, and (3) accounts for compliance with regulatory requirements, is essential for securities firms. Failing to take these steps could result in fines, suspensions or worse.
The next step involves educating and training employees regarding the organization’s social media plan. This should include instruction regarding what content may be posted to social networking sites and the internal process for doing so. Policies that describe the consequences for deviating from the organization’s social media plan should also be clearly delineated. Those policies should detail the legal repercussions for both the employee and the company for any social media missteps.
Third, organizations can employ technology to ensure compliance with their social media plan. Indeed, FINRA Regulatory Notice 10-06 specifically emphasizes the importance of deploying technological “systems” to facilitate conformity with the regulation’s “Recordkeeping Responsibilities” requirement. Those “systems” include archiving software such as Symantec Enterprise Vault 10. Enterprise Vault 10 and its network of technology partners will capture social media content from company hosted or controlled “interactive electronic forums” involving investors. Such forums include firm Twitter feeds, company Facebook pages, corporate websites, blogs and other social networking sites.
With social media content safely ingested into a centrally managed and indexed repository, Enterprise Vault 10 allows you to quickly search and analyze the data. Through Enterprise Vault Compliance Accelerator, your firm can perform a cost-effective supervisory review of social media content to help ensure compliance with corporate policy and regulatory bodies. Moreover, with the Clearwell Discovery Platform, you can implement legal holds and efficiently retrieve archived social media content in response to legal and regulatory requests. All of which enables you to establish the reasonableness of your retention and eDiscovery processes and demonstrate compliance with pertinent laws and regulations.
By following these steps and other best practices, organizations can begin to reasonably address the challenges of social media. And knowing that those challenges are being dealt with in an effective manner will enable firms to confidently engage in social media marketing and reap the financial benefits of doing so.