Are politically correct social media policies that restrict lawful, free speech counterproductive to the organizations they’re supposed to serve?  Are they strategically unsound?

Is it time to reinvent the conventional approach to social media governance so as not to discourage thoughts and ideas that can lead to growth?  Paul Gillin didn’t think so when we discussed it on our last B2B social media podcast, but I’m not convinced.

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Morgan Stanley’s recent decision to loosen the reign for their financial advisers on Twitter is the latest in a long list financial services social media case studies. Last December, FINRA fined Barclays $3.75M for system is record keeping and email retention failure. And last June, the regulator warned investors against trading on “pump-and-dump” emails. The finance industry has their social media conferences and consultants.
Because of specific finance industry rules and regs like FINRA 10-06 and 11-39 and SEC Risk Alert: Investment Adviser Use of Social Media, using social media in financial services must be in accordance with applicable advertising, account origination and document retention requirements.
Mike Langford (@MikeLangford) is the CEO of finservMarketing and a financial services industry veteran with 20 years of experience in roles spanning customer service, finance and investment advice and management at Fidelity Investments, State Street Corporation, The Pioneer Group and BFDS.  In this episode, he explains how Certified Financial Planners, Investment Advisers and Bankers can use social media effectively and responsibly.
Social Media for Financial Services Topics Discussed:
  • Who regulates how financial service companies use social media
  • Difference between social media guidelines and actual, enforceable law
  • Social media compliance requirements for financial services providers
  • How to satisfy social media archival and supervisory requirements
  • Responsibilities for financial services over static vs. interactive social media posts
  • Best practices for originating new accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook
  • Regulating advertising and public appearances, which social media is considered
  • Avoiding adopting or becoming entangled with social networking sites
  • Compliance through policy and social media training for financial services
  • How to make you’re prepared to comply with random FINRA spot checks
  • And much, much more

About the Podcast:
On the Record…Online is an award-winning podcast launched in 2005 by Eric Schwartzman, CEO of social media compliance training provider Comply Socially, which helps employers manage the risk and capitalize on the opportunities of social media in the workplace.  Follow the podcast on Twitter @ontherecord and follow him @ericschwartzman.

I had a chance to interview Dr. Marc Teerlink, Global Strategist & Data Scientist at IBM recently. He’s a fascinating guy, and we spoke about using social media monitoring tools to separate the signal from the noise, how to use past conversations to try and predict the future, why teens are the most difficult audience to monitor and the dangers of relying too heavily on sentiment when predicting outcomes.

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Social media marketing is no longer enough. You need a social media literate workforce, says Jeanne Meister, best-selling author of The 2020 Workplace.

Social media literacy is the understanding how to use social media both inside and outside the organization in a safe and secure way to improve their productivity and efficiency. More »

Today’s workforce communicates and gets information through social media. It is a mainstream communications channel.

87% of companies use and 23% of online time is spent on social media.

The more people who talk about you on social media, the further the conversation carries. Reach is determined by the number of people involved in the conversation.  And since no one engages everyone all the time, you’re better off having all your employees using social media than your are with a handful of social media specialists.

Social media is public, recorded and discoverable. So there’s tremendous upside when everyone uses it to get there jobs done. Because they leave behind a trail of digital bread crumbs that lead back to you. Starwood Hotels recently doubled the membership of their loyalty program and increased what members spend by 60% with a broad social media program than encouraged customer to share online.

Why aren’t more companies using social at the corporate level?

Fear has been holding them back. But now there’s a practical way to manage the risk associated with enterprise wide social media engagement. Through social media performance management, which combines web-based online training with assessments and certifications to qualify personnel for effective social media use.

Social media policy without training is lip service, because you can’t comply with a policy you don’t understand. And no one reads policy. You can’t protect yourself, or your organization, if you don’t understand the risks. The first question you’ll be asked in an investigation is was the employee trained.

Courts, law enforcement and regulatory agencies place value on genuine efforts taken by organizations to promote a culture of integrity and respect for the law and credit them for it in disputes. And it’s less expensive to prevent social media misuse through training than litigation.

Social media compliance training is the answer to capitalizing on the opportunity and managing risk of social media at work.  The best way for organizations to protect themselves is to make social media training part of the HR process, so everyone knows the rules.

You can’t centralize social media brand management. Applebee’s tried to manage social media communications with a four-member social media team. But when a waitress in St. Louis got fired for posting a customer’s receipt with a low tip on Reddit and the story went viral, the chain realized their strategy was flawed.  Four team members can’t look after the entire workforce. They need to learn to look after themselves.

And you can’t keep social siloed in marketing and PR.

When two Domino’s Pizza employees filmed a prank in the restaurant’s kitchen violating other health-code standards, perceived quality of their brand went from positive to negative in a matter of hours.

Bringing social media into existing training programs is the next logical step. But classroom training is expensive and ineffective for teaching computer-based skills. PriceWaterhouseCoopers says 71% of senior managers use technology for risk and compliance training.

We’re at the point now where you need to have a social strategy that goes beyond just marketing or you’re behind the curve.


Social Media Monitoring has been the focus of a podcast series released over the last few weeks in the wake of Google’s announcement they’ll be retiring Google Reader.


As the producer of an online social media monitoring course based on Google Reader, I’ve been intently evaluating free Google reader alternatives such as Feedly and Netvibes.  After an in depth evaluation of these two contenders, I also wrote a post comparing them for Venture Beat last Friday.


While Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which bundles Radian6, Buddy Media and, isn’t free, in the quest for thoroughness, I decided to include their offering on this evaluation to check in and see what’s new over there.

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Social media policies aren’t typically the first things that come to mind when you’re developing a social media marketing strategy.

But they should be.

Without social media policies in place, social media marketing plans are unsustainable. On social networks, reach is a function of engagement. Without engagement, there is no reach.

Thus, in order for social media marketing messages to get noticed, they need to get passed along to friends of friends and their friends. That means other people have to like, comment and share.

Drafting a social media policy may not seem as important as creating great content to share; but, if your addressable market – your employees, resellers or members – haven’t been given clear, easy-to-follow social media guidelines on permissible use, they’re much less likely to participate, so you’re much less likely to reach their friends.

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