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Unlike in other industries, financial brands face a different set of marketing challenges because of their requirement for their communications to be compliant. While many brands today understand the importance and need to use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or even Snapchat, there is a delicate line that financial brands must walk in order to be creative while remaining compliant.

On Tuesday, February 7th, Cognito hosted a breakfast panel discussion on how to balance creativity and compliance for financial services brands. Our panelists included:

  • Moderator: Eric Hazard, Managing Director, Cognito NY
  • Coleem Chestnut, Senior Integration Engineer, Proofpoint
  • Jane Barratt, Founder & CEO, GoldBean
  • Amy McIlwain, Global Industry Principal, Financial Services, Hootsuite
  • Brian Hourihan, Regulatory Consultant, Brian Hourihan Law Offices, LLC

View the a video of our discussion here: 

The conversation was lively and insightful, with the panelists discussing future focused solutions to the compliance and social media challenge that so many marketing and communications teams within financial brands face. To recap, we’ve distilled some of the key takeaways from the morning’s discussion below:

1. Why join social media in the first place?

Taking part in social media is important because of the massive opportunities it presents. Just like email changed the way we communicated 20 years ago by bringing conversations from phone to online, social media is this generations’ biggest shift in communications.

While social media has very clearly changed the way we communicate with one another on a personal level, it has also largely changed how we interact with brands. Brands such as NSYE, GE, Denny’s, and Oreo have already been excelling at social for years and are being recognized for it. You don’t want to miss out while your competitors continue to excel, possibly moving in on your market share.

Lastly, think about where your clients or target audience are…they’re on social. Just about everyone seems to have their own portable device, whether it be a computer, phone or tablet as well as their own social media accounts. Where your customer is, is where your business could and should be happening.

2. Social isn’t just another channel to push out your marketing campaign.

Marketers and brands alike need to recognize that social media shouldn’t only be considered as just another resting place for press releases and blog posts. Social media is about creating and fostering connections. Of course it’s not bad practice to share out your marketing content, social media is also about engagement. Engagement happens through content, and content is the heart of social.

For financial brands specifically, this is important to keep in mind from a compliance standpoint, as they will be expected to maintain compliance for both static and interactive content (e.g. blog posts vs. conversations employees are conducting over social). The balancing act? Doing so while allowing conversations to occur in real time.

3. How does your personal brand match your corporate brand?

While it’s important for all brands, not just financial, to have a buttoned up social media presence, it is equally important for brands’ spokespeople to have strong presences as well. From your employees all the way up to your company’s C-suite, everyone that works for your brand has the ability to act as an advocate on your company’s behalf.

With that, how are you defining your personal brand? Does it match that of your corporate brand? Are you being personal and clear in your content? Do you take a stance and speak regularly on certain issues, setting a tone and voice for yourself? Most important of all, don’t forget to be human. As long as there’s entertainment, utility and engagement, you’re doing your job.

4. Technology is not meant to stifle creativity or innovation.

There are a lot of technology solutions available today to help marketers in their social media management and compliance. Usually the first step in setting up a compliance program is to think about the core of your business and consider what regulations or rules may apply specifically to you.

It is equally important to keep in mind that technology is not a substitute for vigilance.

Make sure to:

  • Establish the right controls
  • Conduct the right assessments to make sure your controls work
  • Have the right training in place
  • Keep the right records

Having a risk management program in place that includes a compliance program that talks about how you’ll manage social media is helpful. This should be in coordination with an internal facing social media policy and surveillance protocol on how employees are allowed to use their social media both during and after work hours. This combined with training on the front-end, can really help. Education is key.

Ultimately, you want to remember that compliance technology is meant to run silently in background, allowing users to be themselves and generate business on social. There’s no need for compliance to get in the way of creativity and connection.