5 Things Financial Institutions Need to Know to Reduce Risk when Using Social Media

Author: Rekha Mohan | June 21, 2016

If you work for a financial institution, you’re very familiar with regulations that affect every aspect of your business. Social media is no different. Managing a social media account comes with risks just like any other marketing activity. The newly released 2013 Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Guidance on Social Media Risk Management offers some much-needed information on social media expectations for financial institutions. Below are five key takeaways from the Institute for Public Relations that financial institutions should be aware of when using social media.

  1. Social Media Is Advertising: It’s taken a few years for businesses to get the hang of social media and understand how it fits into the marketing mix, but companies are using social media more successfully than ever before. Although it’s still evolving, social media has become a standard advertising tool, and financial firms should think of it as such. Marketing rules and regulations apply to social media, too—you should still stay up-to-date on them and ensure that you’re in compliance.
  2. Monitor Your Mentions: Whether you have a social media presence or not, the Guidance on Social Media Risk Management requires all financial institutions to monitor social media for mentions of their brand. While it may seem unnecessary if you’re not very active online, monitoring social media is a significant part of reputation management. Beyond just your business name, remember to monitor the web for mentions of your key employees, services and products.
  3. Implement Institutional Guidelines: Regardless of the number of employees at your firm, it’s crucial that everyone is on the same page when it comes to creating, commenting on and sharing posts. People’s personal lives and work lives are blending; this is even more apparent on social media. How should your employees interact with advertising posts? Implement clear firm-wide guidelines to ensure that your company remains in compliance with advertising regulations.
  4. Think About Third Parties: In addition to their own employees, financial institutions need to be aware of what third parties are posting about them. Firms may be held responsible for what other contractors and affiliates say. Make sure that your social media policy extends to all of the partners you work with—it’s good practice for reputation management and a good way to protect yourself from regulatory claims.
  5. Amp Up Cybersecurity: You probably have policies in place to protect confidential online information and thwart phishers and hackers, but has your financial institution thought about social media security? Employees can inadvertently disclose private information by sharing photos of their offices or posting updates about their work routines, making it easier for followers to locate vaults or figure out your firm’s vulnerabilities. Ensure that your social media policy has very clear expectations for any work-related posts that employees may share.
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