Should the Caged Bird Sing? Social Media in Regulated Industries

by Greentarget
Contact

If you’re an executive who wants to communicate effectively with your shareholders, employees, customers, and other stakeholders, you probably already know how Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook can help. But if you’re in a heavily regulated industry—such as insurance, finance, or health care —you may believe these powerful social-media tools are off limits to you. You’d be wrong. There are ways to use them to your advantage—if you’re careful.

These tools—Twitter, certainly—are not just for celebrities and angst-ridden teens. President Obama‘s celebratory “Four more years” tweet after his reelection was retweeted by more than half a million Twitter users—a record. The recent invasion of Gaza was announced by the Israel Defense Forces not on television or radio but on Twitter. In August 2011 a magnitude-5.8 earthquake struck in the Piedmont region of Virginia and was felt in Washington, D.C. and New York. The events were reported so quickly by Twitter users that people in New York knew about the Earthquake before it hit. Thus generating faux tagline Twitter: faster than seismic waves.

Posting on social networks can do more than communicate breaking news or ideas: By carefully selecting what to share, users can encourage interest in a person or company, grow engagement among customers, build trust among stakeholders, and strengthen and solidify these relationships. Yet businesses in regulated industries are often opting out.

Take the investment-management industry, which has strict rules against selective disclosure. Harvard lecturer and Brookings fellow Robert Pozen studied how investment firms were using Twitter, Facebook, and other networks, and concluded that “U.S. investment managers can’t be very social in their social media sites.” In an op-ed in the Financial Times in October, Pozen wrote: “They often do not accept any user-generated content, such as comments on posts. And if they do, they will monitor submissions closely and quickly take down any that could raise eyebrows at the SEC.”

But that doesn’t mean you can’t make these sites work for you. Toby Ward, founder of Prescient Digital Media, a Toronto consulting firm that serves Fortune 500 companies, told Computerworld in November that “Only around 10 percent of regulated industries have a ‘truly social’ enterprise where multiple social media tools have been integrated into general content consumption.” Ward suggests that these heavily regulated industries can find ways to utilize social media as long as they remain vigilant about how the organization is representing itself.

By following these Greentarget guidelines for social media users in regulated industries, the savvy executive can reap the benefits of social networks without violating regulations:

(1) Share something of value. Your network won’t develop because your followers want to help you grow your business, it’ll develop because you’re offering something meaningful to them. Many users of social media think of their networks as news feeds—streams of information, some of it disposable and some of it exceedingly useful. What can you put out on the wire?

(2) No garage sales. No doubt there’s an abundance of material you could share with your audience, but that doesn’t mean everything should be shared. Before retweeting with abandon and facebooking for fun and profit, consider the way the information you share reflects back on the company.

(3) Avoid the icebergs. While your organization might have some strong and well-reasoned opinions, there’s no need to draw unnecessary attention to yourself or fragment your audience with polarizing statements—unless of course it’s part of your considered strategy to do so.

(4) Delegate but don’t detach. A mature and thoughtful executive knows it takes a team to get it all done. Colleagues and subordinates, especially those with a talent for writing or a knack for social media, should be trusted to manage the networking, but everyone involved should agree on the messaging.

Companies that grow and obtain high levels of success typically attempt strategies outside their comfort zone. While some businesses will travel at a leisurely pace, others will move faster than seismic waves.


 

Written by:

Greentarget
Contact
more
less

Greentarget on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.