No longer can the power of social media be extenuated as mere youthful preoccupation or just a means of “advertising” vanity. The platform has now emerged as a serious client-centric marketing technique, with the customer assuming a more meaningful shape by determining how brands will communicate with them. Peer opinions, which have so infallibly been regarded as one of the most crucial factors governing the purchasing or investing decisions of customers, are a key element of social media. As a major bank, insurance provider or for that matter any financial services company you can collect this information through Facebook, Twitter, G Plus etc in a bid to shape your business strategies based on the needs, wants, opinions trends and queries of/among potential or existing customers. You, spearheading, a financial organizations, would definitely not want to miss out on the opportunity to shape customer opinions by keeping your online communication thread alive.
Until sometime back, there were certain serious restrictions on the way of industries (with compliance considerations) to take the “social plunge”. However, with the introduction of the FINRA and SEC Social Media guidelines, the SM (Social Media) rules of engagement for investment firms or banks were clearly defined. Both these instances discussed how major financial institutions had incorporated Social Media and SMC4 (the social media capture solution) in their marketing mix alongside investing regularly in mainstream advertising agency. It had become highly problematic for the financial service providers to implement and monitor transparent communication amidst complex compliance considerations.
The Underlying Problem
Still today, most of the financial companies have shied away from this platform, solely because of the regulatory norms. In fact, most of these firms have barred the use of social media within the organization itself. While other industries are riding high on the “social communication” wave, the financial companies (most of them) are stuck with lackadaisical messaging under high end supervision.
There, however, are several effective ways of doing away with this growing “fear of protocol violation” and they are:
- Making your staff aware of the fundamentals of SM
- Clearly spelling out house rules for each of these platforms
- Keeping a style guide to Social Media handy
Social Media and Financial Service Providers: The eternal struggle?
Last but not the least, all this works, only when you ensure that your guidelines or Social Media policies are compliant with the changing social trends as well. Now, once again this might seem difficult. After all, how would you know if the new Social Media trends would not require you to revisit the compliance considerations? On the other hand, you have got the staggering figures of 5 million high net worth investors living in countries like Canada and the US, who are religiously using the Social Media Platform as a tool to make crucial financial decisions. It might not be anything different in your country as well. So are you really in a position to ignore these figures? Think about it. Compliance and Communication: the two “C”s— Will they ever coincide?