If my headline caught your attention, then I'm betting you are responsible for advertising and social media compliance in a regulated business. You may be in the financial sector (a mortgage, securities, or banking company) or other regulated industry (like a pharmaceutical or medical business), but the challenge of selecting the right solution for your web and social media governance program is the same for everyone:
What tool do I need to achieve corporate web and social media compliance?
There are three tools you need to consider to run a good compliance process. Once you understand the web and social media tools landscape for regulated businesses, you will know which tool is your priority starting point.
The web is an ever-changing environment that is difficult to manage without the help of the right tools. I know you want the one digital or social media management tool that delivers total compliance for the company and your employees — it just doesn't exist. But when you understand the social media tools landscape, you will be better equipped to select the right tools, in the right order, to achieve your corporate objectives. Let me explain...
Social Media Management Tools Landscape
Social media management tools are a general group of SaaS solutions that help you manage and monitor any aspect of what occurs on social media involving your brand, campaigns, and people that relate to your business (such as employees, partners, and advocates).
Tools can be categorized as either Content Management or Presence Management tools.
For the past decade, the social media tools sector has been focused on what is called the content stream. This is the area of a social media property where you post your messages and photos and (hopefully) begin a good conversation with customers about your services and products. These tools include solutions for publishing, content management, listening, archiving, and various forms of data analysis.
Focusing on the content stream is a big task (over 30 billion pieces of content shared on just Facebook each month) and these tool vendors need to stay current with each social network they support. As you know, social media is constantly changing, so staying on top of this is no small feat. This is one of the key reasons why these vendors can only support a handful of social media networks and tend to focus on the most popular: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and (for some) LinkedIn. The tool vendors that address listening, archiving, or analysis need to look at ALL content on a social network and tap into what is commonly called "the firehose". That should give you an idea of how much data these tools need to handle.
Now that social media has been around awhile, and large corporations are well-aware of the need for ongoing social business governance, a tool category has emerged called web presence management. Presence management tools search for, inventory and monitor properties that associate with your brand...and not what people are saying about your brand (that's the content stream). These tools are able to support many more forms of web presence (as they do not require access to the content stream) and inventory any social network, website, or blog that is associating with your brand.
A presence management solution focuses on the asset elements of a social media property. These asset elements include the descriptive properties (e.g. name, the URL, description data, referenced websites, and all the other elements that people fill-out when they are setting up the account), the relationship of the property to your organization, the contact responsible for or associated with the property, and even how and where the credentials are stored. If you think about it, this is the area that is created as the "storefront", or "billboard" and in business it represents a company, product, or campaign. On personal properties (such as your employees Twitter accounts), people can associate themselves with your brands and identities in their profiles, such as stating where they work.
A presence managment solution considers any web property that assocaites itself with your brand(s), no matter if they are a corporate, employee, partner or counterfeit property.
3 Social Media Compliance Tools that Matter Most
For regulated businesses, the tools that you should be considering for a sound web and social media governance program include two from the Content Management category and one from the Presence Management category.
- A Content Publisher focused on regulated industries,
- A Content Archiving solution, and
- A Presence Manager.
Publishing: Publishing tools are a special breed for the regulated business. These products can lock-down an employees social site so they are not able to publish content that does not come directly from an approved library. Each solution in this category has unique offerings that you will need to analyze, so you can align your corporate goals with the tool offering. As mentioned above, these tools focus on only a handful of social networks, so make sure they publish and deliver approved content to the networks you need. If you are searching for a solution here, try Socialware or Hearsay Social.
A publishing solution is the heaviest investment with on-boarding the corporate and employee accounts, training all users, and requiring ongoing content production from the marketing department. This is the highest resource commitment from the company (of the tool choices), but if your corporate objectives include strong social media activites by your sales and marketing staff, then the investment may be worth it.
Archiving: Archiving in a regulated business has been a requirement for some time, so adding social media archiving is no surprise. You want to make sure the archive solution can handle the social networks that are critical to your corporate social media goals. You may want to check with your IT department to see what other archiving solutions are in place with your company (such as email archiving). The same vendor may have a social media archiving solution. If not, you may want to look at companies such as Smarsh, ArchiveSocial, and Erado.
Presence Manager: This solution allows you to discover, inventory, and monitor ALL the properties you need to focus on for thorough compliance. A presence manager conducts an audit on a wide range of social networks so you have more required properties in your inventory. A presence manager like Brandle also allows you to inventory and track any property that is associated with your business (blog, website or microsite).
The Brandle Presence Manager provides presence and identity management of twelve social networks plus domains and websites. Brandle also has the ability to provide presence management for any general web property the company wishes to track. For example, the image below shows a custom set-up from a mortgage customer that wanted to add more categories than the already-supported networks:
The CFPB requires compliance on mortgage loan officer's websites and industry sites (Zillow, RedFin, etc), so a web presence manager is the best tool for monitoring compliance on a comprehensive inventory.
This keeps a thorough inventory of everything that a regulator considers "digital advertising" and under regulatory guidance. A presence manager works as the foundation to other tools because it can show you which accounts need to be archived, and which accounts need to participate in the publishing solution.
Select the Tools that Achieve your Corporate Goals
If your budget can afford all three tools, fantastic! With all three solutions, you will have the most comprehensive web and social media governance program in place. If you do not have the budget for all three, then you need to consider your social business objectives and how you want to focus your resources to meet those objectives. Then you need to create your web and social media governance program which includes tool selection (and how you will govern the area of social business that must wait for tool selection).
Your governance program should include a web and social media policy, and have a written process of governance and review schedule within your organization. For some ideas on governance and risk management procedures, check out our blog on Social Media Governance.
Don't forget that the budget and governance program needs to include the workforce to manage each function.
In our opinion, if you are budget constrained, then a presence manager and an archiving solution are the most important tools to start your governance program. Publishing can then be handled by providing good content, policies, and training from the marketing department (until you have the budget to add the tool).
The key steps to selecting the best direction and ensuring your company is compliant are:
- Decide on how your company will be prioritizing social media activities to meet objectives. How will each department leverage social media? How do you want employees to use their own accounts or use corporate-owned accounts?.
- Create your governance program including policies and tools selection.
- Work the tools and the program.
If you'd like to see how the Brandle Presence Manager can help you with your social media compliance challenges, please reach out for a demo.