If you’re in banking, insurance or another highly regulated industry, you may think that staying away from blogging and other social platforms is the surest way to remain compliant. While abstinence will certainly guarantee no possible rules infringement, it also guarantees irrelevance in the digital age.
The truth is, industry regulations and blogging can live in harmony. You may have to put in a little more effort to “play within the rules” than companies without strict parameters, but that shouldn’t stop you from online sharing. Use these helpful hints to create a social media plan that earns management approval, sets user expectations and keeps your company compliant when creating blogs and other content:
1. Define “taboo” topics.
When it comes to content compliance, the natural urge is to focus on what can be said, instead of what can’t – and that's a mistake. Clearly outline topics that cannot be discussed (like proprietary information or issues in a regulatory gray area), and enforce it right down to word choice. Write these guidelines down and remind people of them on a regular basis to avoid missteps that could be construed as discussing, endorsing or recommending regulated matters.
2. Unify messaging.
Your company is expert in some product(s) or service(s), and creating talking points around those themes guides the social discussion. That’s not to say blogs should be “sales-y,” but talking points provide consistent messaging writers can lay claim to without worry of non-compliance when addressing prospect and customer challenges. Plus, talking points ensure your messaging stays on-track to elevating your brand and reputation.
3. Seek approval.
Some industries find snarky zings and one-liners social media gold, but extemporaneous remarks in highly regulated fields can be dangerous. Vigilance is required. Prepare a written approval process that ensures all content is reviewed and approved in advance of publication. Loop in supervisors, managers and even C-level administrators if need be so everyone on the ladder has an opportunity to weigh in on what’s appropriate for your business. Like talking points, consistent use of an approval process prevents off-hand comments from damaging your brand.
4. Reuse content.
Depending on the size of your organization, the approval process is often lengthy and can conflict with the short-turn necessity of blogs and other digital formats. Ignoring the approval process is not an option, so what’s a person to do? Reuse previously approved content in new ways. That eBook could be broken into some blog posts. Those Keynote presentation slides are infographics just waiting to happen. Longer format items are an obvious choice for reworking, but shorter content (think blogs) could be mined for Tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn fodder.
Industry regulations don’t dictate your social presence, but they are critical influencers in how you use social media. Remain cautious to remain compliant.