The relationship between social media and the banking industry has grown cozier over the last several years. However, while social media is proven to be a powerful marketing tool, the strict boundaries of compliance in banking present a potential roadblock. A financial institution’s social media marketing success largely depends on how easy it is to define “compliant” — and how difficult it is for loan officers and other employees to consistently adhere to those rules.
For example, a loan officer’s social media posts won’t align with the company’s branding strategy if the officer isn’t in sync with, concerned with, or even privy to that strategy. Furthermore, loan officers might confuse or conflate their personal and professional social media accounts. It’s common for even high-ranking executives to promote their companies, communicate with business contacts, and post about work-related events on social platforms — making compliance even trickier to enforce.
Besides meeting compliance, it’s also rare for a single employee to know how best to target different audiences on different social networks. Within the marketing department, you can segment your social audiences to deliver the most appropriate messages. Why not do the same with employees and distribute branded content that’s most relevant to their audiences?
Look at Compliance Differently
Generally, financial institutions are wary of the risks that their employees’ social media activity could pose to their sales and marketing efforts. To mitigate those risks, regulatory bodies now require all institutions to establish a policy for approving content and a compliance staff to execute on that policy before employees can post anything.
Social media can be a big driver of referral traffic, yet it’s rarely a high-priority item on the compliance staff’s list. Also, what constitutes “appropriate use” is too nuanced to define for every individual loan officer and employee. This can make defining and enforcing compliance seem daunting.
Luckily, it isn’t impossible to consistently publish compliant messaging to your bank’s social media channels, then distribute those posts to team members’ individual channels. This instantly and exponentially increases your bank’s audience and reach while boosting support for the sales team’s social strategies.
Rather than constricting social media’s potential, compliance can be used as a guideline for staying on-brand across every channel. With these three tips, you can ensure that loan officers and employees stick to that guideline as well:
1. Automatically filter certain keywords. Some content can be filtered out by specific keywords and phrases — much like the filtering software used for monitoring emails. Either build a list or add to the one you already use for email monitoring. Then, input the list into your social media compliance software. Any posts containing any item on the list will automatically be flagged before they go live.
2. Implement approval processes in the workflow. Set up compliance checkpoints within each marketing and sales team, preferably ones that match your bank’s overall compliance structure. You can narrow down filtering and other compliance functions by department and employee role, and each department head can review his or her team members’ social media messages before they’re sent for a final compliance check.
3. Give sales teams the opportunity to respond. Listening and responding to your audience on social media is just as important as posting branded content. Give sales team members the opportunity to respond to all feedback — positive and negative. More than ever, today's consumers expect to be able to interact with brands on social.
While social media and compliance in banking still have a lot to work through in their relationship, solutions exist to help make it a much more symbiotic one. Gremlin Social’s integrated social marketing software can not only make each of these steps easy to implement and manage, but also make social media marketing a powerful tool in your branding efforts.