There are fewer reasons to say no with every passing day.
As I wrote previously, the first step in creating a social media program is to establish a corporate web presence.That is a multiphase process itself. Once that’s done and working well, you can begin to fold in a wider population of line employees or contractors in the network.
But in doing so, the risks increase. The primary risks in any financial social media program are:
Many financial firms, from some of the largest on Wall Street to small investment companies, are inhibited from launching a company-wide program due to these risks.
Test it First
That is why a pilot program makes sense. Out of a pool of volunteers, a number of employees can be chosen. This small group can be provided with the same training foundation given to the core team that operates your corporate social media effort.
But there is a difference. Now you are going beyond corporate brand building to permitting your people to use the medium for business development.
Questions of Trust
The broker-dealer, investment firm or insurance company needs to decide how much freedom the rank-and-file is allowed when using social media.
- Will employees be trusted to post, tweet, and share in a manner that does not violate the Concept of Adoption and Entanglement?
- Or, will employees be provided a pre-approved list of communications?
I’m a big believer in trusting your people to represent the company properly. Of course, that’s after they’ve been thoroughly trained, an archival system that monitors for key words and phrases (“double your money” or “can’t lose”) is set up, a disciplinary program is in place, and other key elements of infrastructure are ready. You trust them, within limits, to represent themselves and the company in public, don’t you?
Whichever approach is decided upon, a pilot program makes sense. Lessons will be learned. Adjustments can be made before rolling out the social media program throughout the company or network. And that time is coming.
Need help with your program?
SCOTT PETERSON, co-founder of Relay Station Social Media LLC, has over a decade of experience in market, securities, and regulatory communications. His firm provides integrated Internet marketing, compliance training, and more to a wide range of organizations.
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