Apr 182014

Few would argue that social media is not important when it comes to engaging customers for advertising, PR, sales, service, and other CRM activities. Yet due to compliance considerations, many organizations have real concerns when it comes to using social media in such capacities. Consequently, it’s hardly surprising that they are looking for guidance when it comes to planning and executing their social media initiatives in a manner that meets their compliance needs.

Social Media Meets Compliance

An enterprise social media strategy requires defining practices and policies to ensure that employee social media activities comply with internal company and industry regulations (HIPPA, PCI, FINRA, etc.). Hand in hand with this effort are training programs to educate employees in how to use social media so that they are in accordance with the established policies. Depending on the size of the organization, as well as the number of intended social media users, organizations will probably want to use Web-based aids (self-paced tutorials, instructional videos, etc.) to maximize training efforts while limiting costs.

Social media compliance efforts should also include reviews of employee social media activity by administrators, compliance officers, or other trained personnel. Again, depending on the size of the organization and number of social media users, this will likely stipulate the use of tools designed to monitor employee social media interaction and facilitate records retention and review.

Social Relationship Management Platforms

Due to such requirements, some organizations are turning to using social relationship management (SRM) platforms designed to automate the management of employee social communications across different departments, channels, and even mobile devices. SRM platforms are available for implementation on-premise or as managed/cloud-based services. They can also integrate with standard CRM platforms like Salesforce.com and SugarCRM. If you haven’t taken a look at the latest SRM solutions, I think you’ll be surprised. They are quite advanced. (For starters, I recommend you check out Hootsuite’s offering at www.hootsuite.com.)

SRM platforms provide various functionality for managing employee interactions on social media and ensuring that their activities remain in compliance. This includes automated classification of user-generated postings and messages based on company and user-defined policies for categorizing social content for archiving, records retrieval, review, reporting, and other purposes.

From an end-user perspective, SRM platforms enable administrators to define role-based user permissions for employee social media accounts and let compliance officers and others in supervisory roles review, approve, or block employee social media postings. Other features are designed to prevent employees from (inadvertently or intentionally) publishing unauthorized company profiles, employee profiles, and other sensitive company information via unapproved third-party applications — for example, by cutting and pasting from the company portal or other enterprise applications into a Facebook page.

SRM Platform Key Functionality

SRM platforms automate compliance policy enforcement by applying text analysis and natural language techniques to identify noncompliant language (swearing, sensitive information, suspicious attachments, etc.) in inbound and outbound social media messages and other user-generated content (pictures, etc.) before they are published to social media sites or enter the organization’s network and other systems.

Upon discovery of possible violations, the SRM system will alert compliance officers of violations and remove and archive the noncompliant content. By scanning for viruses and other malware in social postings and messages, SRM platforms can help prevent malicious software from being distributed via company social media accounts, thereby assisting corporate security efforts.

SRM platforms also monitor popular social media sites in order to find fraudulent Facebook pages, websites, videos and images, and so on, designed to embarrass a company or organization by mimicking their legitimate social media accounts. Such functionality is important because cyber criminals are increasingly using fraudulent sites to confuse consumers into giving up their personal and sensitive account information, which is then used for identity theft, hacking, fraudulent purchases, and other illegal activities.

Finally, I would love to get your feedback on enterprise social media and compliance. We are conducting a (survey to identify trends pertaining to practices and technologies organizations are adopting to ensure that social media interaction by employees complies with company and industry regulations. I urge you to take our survey, and I will report back to you social media compliance trends in upcoming posts.


Curt Hall

Curt Hall is a Senior Consultant with Cutter Consortium's Data Insight & Social BI and Business & Enterprise Architecture practices. His expertise includes BI, data warehousing, data mining, and other analytical technologies and products.


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