Corporate Governance and compliance regulation has always been a part of business communications. Public Authorities, Financial Organisations and any other bodies who fall under the watchful eye of regulators have always had to monitor and produce copies of their business communications when it’s requested.
However, social media has been a little different. It’s only really been the last couple of years that has seen companies and public authorities begin to use social media to serve their business aims. The fast growth, and instant nature of social has meant that regulators have been slow to adapt and regulate the fast changing medium.
However, they have adapted, and businesses need to take notice.
Does Social Media Count?
Though some would argue that social media is a ‘real time’ communication tool and, therefore, not subject to the same regulatory laws as an email, for example – regulators disagree. Once a message has been posted, it is there for people to see from that point on. It might also be hours, days or even weeks before the message is replied to. For this reason, it is considered to be a communication that is subject to all applicable compliance laws, including freedom of information requests, advertising standards, financial laws and record keeping regulations.
What Is Social Media Archiving?
This last one is important.
Social media archiving is a relatively new concept that involves safely storing and collating an organisation’s entire history of social media activity. It effectively acts as a digital trail and secure record of all social posts and interactions your organisation has published. With so many social media platforms to keep a watchful eye on, it is a task that can be lengthy, time consuming and far from straightforward.
The most recent guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) states that:
“Firms should also keep adequate records of any significant communications. As well as helping to protect consumers, these records enable the firm to deal effectively with any subsequent claims or complaints. Firms should not rely on digital media channels to maintain records, as they will not have control over this: social media in particular may refresh content from time to time, with the consequent deletion of older material.”
In government and financial sectors, social media archiving has now become the law, and failure to put adequate safeguards in place to safely store and protect your social media history can result in fines.
As well as offering compliance, it provides additional advantages for your organisation including; increased digital security, efficiency and peace of mind, particularly during stressful periods such as external audits.
In the Financial Conduct Authority’s most recent social media guidance report, they call for a more robust approach to compliance requirements to limit reputational damage, maintain trust and uphold organisational credibility and branding.
As well as posting and monitoring, customer engagement and interaction is also a key factor in the area of compliance.
How many times have your customer services team responded to a tweet in relation to a complaint or query about one or other element of your business?
If you were inspected and asked to produce a comprehensive list of all your customer interactions, would you be able to locate this information quickly and easily?
These types of communication often exist in a number of different formats that can change over time, become easily invisible and ultimately difficult to locate. Another problem that continually faces organisations’, is what to do if a tweet or post is either purposefully or accidentally deleted, with no way to get it back. Social media archiving ensures all your social media activity is secure and easily accessible in the format you need, when you need it.
Please keep an eye out for the next part in this series that will be looking at who needs to be implementing social media archiving.
In the meantime, if you work within an organisation regulated by the FCA or FSA, or work for a public authority in the UK, why not let us help ensure that you are 100% compliant? We have a number of social media services, including social media archiving, which are designed to give you peace of mind.