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How not to stress out your social media compliance team

Anna Carless, director of marketing EMEA, Smarsh, outlines key ways to ensure compliance-friendly monitoring of an adviser business’s social media output

Social media is an important part of your firm’s business development and client relationship building. 
You want to use technology to help grow your business while also effectively supervising and retaining social media records – without adding more complexity to your compliance team’s current workload.

An educated workforce that contains well-trained social media ambassadors is a starting point. But once strategies have been created and policies implemented to support social use, businesses must give just as much consideration to how they will enforce these. Without the right technology to help, firms face an uphill battle. Hence, ensuring your business has a viable and accessible record of its digital communications can help a firm reach its business goals while reducing the stress levels of its compliance team.

A quick and effective means to meet the retention and retrieval requirements for communications by your firm and its staff is to automatically archive all outbound social media messages. The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) finalised guidance for social media FG 15/4 Social Media and Customer Communications specifies that firms must retain their social media communications in systems other than the social media platforms themselves, and stipulates that firms should be in a position to provide historic social communications, should an FCA examination or audit demand so.

Safe, secure and automated capture of social media records is the goal, but some archiving features can make the difference between
 a compliance team that’s stressed by social media, and one that supports social media use because they have an effective way to manage and supervise the content. An intelligent archive includes real-time capture and eliminates the possibility of your social media data being deleted. If an adviser or other employee posts an update to Facebook, but later removes it, you’ll see the original post, plus the activity log that shows who deleted it.

It is important to recognise that treating social media archiving like email archiving won’t work well. Social media posts include more than static words. They are constantly updated, changed, or deleted and can include pictures, links and more. To have a viable record of the communication, all of these links must be captured in an archive that retains proper context.

Also, be cautious of solutions that ‘flatten’ social media and strip it of its original features and unique context, making it hard for a compliance team 
to know what they’re looking at during content review, and also difficult to search.

By automating social archiving, firms can not only ease the burden of monitoring business content posted to social media accounts or websites, but also:

  • Automatically flag potentially risky content so you don’t have to waste time reviewing irrelevant communication.
  • Quickly take action and remediate policy violations.
  • Enforce established social media compliance policies.
  • Provide an audit trail of all actions taken, including any corrective actions taken in response to posts that violate policy.
  • Help identify trends and improve supervision efforts through advanced reporting tools.
  • Implement retention policies so content is stored for as long as needed.
  • Apply legal holds to support legal investigations and other discovery events.
  • Enable marketing, human resources, IT and legal teams to view and review the firm’s social media content when needed.

Further information on setting up and running a successful and compliant social media strategy can be found in a joint white paper by Smarsh and Hootsuite.

Smarsh Hootsuite White Paper - cover


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