Mind Your Social Media Manners

Recently, while dining out with friends, our food server delivered the wrong order to our table.  The dish also happened to be topped with an ingredient of which one friend is seriously allergic. While thanking our server for the prompt delivery I calmly explained the situation. She was horrified and apologetic. We threw in some humor to provide levity and five minutes later the food we originally ordered made its arrival. When we received our bill, two meals had been taken off our total. It spoke to the effectiveness of courteous, respectful interaction. Being kind and engaging often just works.

This principle extends to all modes and areas of interaction. Minding your manners in the digital space is critical, but that’s often underestimated, unconsidered, or just plain forgotten.

Without The Tone, What is the Message? Internet communications— on social networks and in email correspondence—can easily be misconstrued. Without the benefit of observing social cues such as voice inflection, tone, and pitch, as well as facial expressions, it can be difficult to judge the actual tenor of a situation. Perhaps you’ve been there; maybe you’ve received an email and wondered about the sender’s true intent. Were they being sarcastic or were they expecting a serious reply? Be sure to review your own communications before pressing that send or publish button, (particularly given the regulatory hurdles financial advisors face) to ensure you are sending the right message. If your message is light-hearted, keep your jokes squarely in neutral territory; all other dialogue should be straightforward and sincere to eliminate any chance of confusion or misinterpretation.

Venue Change, Rules Remain: Connecting through a smartphone or laptop must be regarded as the Digital Age equivalent of a face-to-face advisor-client meeting. The existence of Twitter and LinkedIn don’t exempt us from social graces. Though many of our interactions now happen on these social media platforms instead of boardrooms or restaurants, we are still able to extend that metaphorical hand. Greet people, introduce yourself, be as respectful as if you were having coffee, and engage, engage, engage. This takes a little practice, but in short time, you can become quite skilled at relationship-building with a vast audience of people located all over the world.

Social networking platforms aren’t faceless communities; these are real conversations with real people. It is as important as ever to remember your ‘please and thank you’ when making connections and looking for business opportunities. Don’t hesitate to express gratitude for recommendations or introductions to potential new clients. Everyone appreciates appreciation.

Don’t Go Directly to No: With a presence on several social networks, I often receive connection requests from people with names I don’t recognize. Frequently, I don’t know the person at all, or maybe I met them once in passing, or perhaps they are associated with a mutual friend. I can choose to decline or ignore the request, but networking isn’t just about connecting with people I already know. Take a close look at those requests; initial haste runs the risk of overlooking a valuable connection. I usually respond to hazy requests with a note, asking the person for more information on why we’d make a good connection.

Never lose sight of the fact that your online personality and behavior are major factors people use to form first impressions about you and your business, similar to the way your physical presence and demeanor are influential. Be mindful and intentional, never forgetting that Virtual You is acting in alignment with behaviors Face-to-Face You embraces every day.

Social Media: What’s your policy?

We’ve all heard the stories of disgruntled employees who are pink-slipped after participating in some social media activity deemed unacceptable by their powers that be. Are the principles and standards that govern your employees’ use of Facebook clear and accessible, or are they undefined or too vague?

There’s no room for ambiguity here—particularly given all of the compliance-related issues you must address. In the same way you and your clients draft investment policy statements to define and confirm your clients’ financial objectives, a social media policy ensures your firm’s management and staff are on the same page about social media activity related to business. The policy eliminates any confusion, and can help protect the best interests and image of the firm and employees, by establishing and educating everyone about acceptable vs. unacceptable social media activity. Here are a few tips:

  1. Understand the Playing Field. Any advisory firm should be aware of the compliance-related issues associated with social media participation. This information needs to be clearly outlined in your social media policy.
  2. Common Sense=Common Use. Despite disclosures and disclaimers, the public may still form opinions about your firm based on employee statements or actions. Anyone on the payroll who is allowed to speak about the company must write knowledgeably, accurately, and display top-notch professionalism. There’s no place for argumentative, offensive, or abusive behaviors or communications.
  3. The Internet Never Forgets. Thanks to search engines, screen grabs, cached files, archiving, and way back machines, every shred of content put forth on the internet lives forevermore. Coach employees to understand they shouldn’t publish any statement, photo, or comment they’ll be embarrassed to see five, 10 or 20 years from now.
  4. Confidentiality. Company information that’s not available to the public cannot ever be shared or discussed. This includes information regarding personnel. A confidentiality breach can expose your firm to liability.
  5. Privacy is an Illusion. The opposite concept to confidentiality is that privacy is a myth where internet activity is concerned. Behave as if any update, direct message, or communication will be posted on the front page of the New York Times. If it’s not suitable for the newsstand, don’t hit the publish button.
  6. Inform Management. Any employee who intends to create personal, non-company content (such as a blog) and reference their company or its current or potential products, employees, partners, customers, or industry competitors must inform management prior to posting, to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations. (The term “getting dooced” didn’t materialize out of thin air, after all.”)
  7. It Never Hurts to Ask; It Sometimes Hurts When You Don’t. Err on the side of caution. If an employee is ever doubtful of the appropriateness of a potential comment or post, ask them to consult with human resources prior to publishing.

These guidelines will get you started on the road to realizing the importance of putting a social media policy in place. However, you must consult with a legal professional to assist in the development of your official social media protocol.

There’s peace in knowing your social media outreach will be protected by a staff that has full understanding of the boundaries you’ve built around social media use.

Social Media: Listen In

Social Media: Listen In

Gossip: In high school, it was the worst. I hated being talked about in passed notes and hushed whispers. It felt so personal, and I never knew quite what was being said about me. How times have changed.

Today, gossip is a financial advisor’s best friend. We likely spend many hours talking about our firm and our solutions as part of our efforts to grow an audience that will listen to all we have to say. Some of these brand-building efforts can be taken online—where we can listen in on the results.

We all want to know what people think, don’t we? If I was aware in ninth-grade that Gavin Mackenzie* had a crush on me, I would have most certainly chosen him as my biology lab partner. Alas, my school was too big and that bit of gossip didn’t reach my ears until it was too late. In our businesses, of course we want to be as attentive and accommodating as possible to the people that use our services. We don’t want any of our clients to pair up with a different lab partner because we don’t offer what they like, want, or need.

Many financial advisors view social media as a one-way communication vehicle—a broadcast and marketing medium meant to sell services, share news, and post opinions and ideas. They miss out on the opportunities to research consumer trends, investigate competitors, and actively engage with clients and prospects through listening. Paying attention to the two-way communication in the social media space provides valuable information and feedback; it’s worth dedicating time to this effort lest we end up sitting alone in biology class.

Listening to your clients is easier than you think. What ten keywords do you want to track? Start with names: yours, your firm name, people in charge, and services or products you offer. Get specific. The first step in setting up listening channels is establishing an email address specifically used for email alerts. You won’t have to check a million websites and get distracted on Facebook; you can just order everything to your inbox and go from there. Don’t just make one email address; make two. The first is dedicated to your brand, while the second email address is dedicated to tracking the web conversations about your biggest competition. (Don’t you want to know who else Gavin Mackenzie has a crush on?)

The first alert you want to set up is the tried and true Google Alert [www.google.com/alerts].  Which are the most highly trafficked websites where you’d be likely to appear? Yelp, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, LinkedIn? Most mainstream networks offer a quick URL designated to set up email alerts.

RSS [rich site summary] feeds are another helpful tool. You can set up RSS feeds for your favorite websites, news sites and the blogs you read for inspiration (like this one!). A wonderful resource that teaches the basics of establishing RSS feeds is http://www.webmonkey.com/2010/02/rss_for_beginnners/.

Twitter is an obvious choice for listening, as well. Although there are tons of great Twitter applications that can be customized to your specific needs—when just starting out it’s easiest to use the traditional Twitter search bar. Type your brand name and your relevant keywords, and examine the results. Make sure you select to view “all” tweets and not just the top ones.

Follow your clients and any of the firms you do business with, too. Watch their feeds for clues about what they like, what they dislike, and any personal preferences they may express. You’ll learn other sites they visit online, topics that may interest them, possibly restaurants they visit and more.

For financial advisors serving the consumer market, Facebook provides a huge opportunity to get to know your clients on a very personal level. If you’re able to connect with them, you can learn a significant amount about their families, pets, restaurants they enjoy and their most favorite topic of conversation—themselves! Attend to what you learn by listening, and bring those facts and findings into your relationship. Show your clients you care about them on a level beyond business, and you can build brand loyalty and cement your relationship beyond your quarterly investment meetings.

Gossip has a new look. It’s not the mean-spirited, ambiguous chatter of yesteryear. Today’s talk is specific conversation we are privy to courtesy of resourceful tools that allow us access to the discussion. Instead of creating rifts, we’re using this dialogue to improve our craft and better serve our clients. It’s talk worth listening to.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Hash-What? Your Official Guide to Using Hashtags

Once you’ve created and curated content that best supports your brand strategy, no doubt you’ll bring it to the digital space. Hashtags, those pound signs (#) we often see on social media networks, are couplings that group our digital matter with other related, online content.

And, that is what hashtags do. They organize content and increase the visibility of your posts. For example, as media outlets stream online content related to the recent government shutdown to various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, they’ve largely agreed to tack the hashtag #shutdown to related social network posts. This collective tagging effort neatly organizes posts for interested parties who are following this event. Utilizing a #keyword search, users will receive a relevant search return of topic-specific posts. Also, hashtags keep track of trending topics—when people tag, we have insight into where the people’s interests lie. The hashtag also acts as an exclamation point to this social media post—a specific and striking hashtag is eye-catching and less likely to get lost amid your customers’ social media feeds.

Hashtags are also used at a variety of organized events. By tracking a hashtag associated with the event, attendees can interact with one another even while seated in a breakout session.


Where and How Hashtags Should Be Used

Used first on Twitter in 2007, hashtag capabilities exist today on most mainstream channels of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.  It is important to use hashtags sparingly and strategically, thus giving you the most bang for your buck.

Hashtags Tips

  1. Don’t tag article words such as #a or #an.  People aren’t searching for these words.
  1. Be judicious. One or two tags per tweet or status update is sufficient. Tag the relevant keywords that people will be searching; be strategic to yield the greatest impact.
  1. Tag complete ideas. Separately hashtagging terms such as #Financial #Solutions won’t categorize your content successfully. (Do you know how many “solution” bits of content exist on the internet?) Tagging #financialsolutions greatly increases the chance of reaching your right audience.
  1. A hashtag may be placed anywhere within a sentence; it can be postscript (Great game!  Another victory! #Dodgers) or incorporated within the text. (Great game. Another #Dodgers victory!)  Make sure not to use any punctuation or spaces in your hashtag.
  1. Realize that you can also use hashtags as listening devices. Consider a regular basis for terms such as #401k, #finances, #money, etc. (Twilert is a great resource for following a variety of hashtags on a regular basis.) There are many words that individuals use when describing their financial life. Listening in on those conversations via Twitter may provide some ideas for your client outreach, or content creation.


If you’re referring to a specific event or article, consider searching Twitter; most likely, there is a hashtag assigned and you’ll want to ensure you use the established version.  Creating your own obscure hashtag in relationship to a high-profile topic probably won’t benefit your social media visibility.

Hashtags are also a valuable resource in supporting your brand.  Creating a unique-to-you custom hashtag groups your content, but, if done creatively and mindfully, also adds an extra punch of brand voice to your online presence.  Before committing, research the tag you have in mind to confirm that it hasn’t been adopted by another party; you don’t want to align yourself with some unusual or unfortunate group.


Hashtags Gone Wild

To fully understand the reach of hashtags, it’s important to realize that outside the scope of financial marketing and organizational applications, hashtags are also used in social media to gather memes, images, content, and engagement surrounding many other genres such as pop culture and humor (#failedchildrensbooktitles, anyone?).

Hashtags:  They may seem irrelevant—another thing to do—but actually they’re quite important.  Hashtags are the complement to your well-crafted social media strategy; they come in the form of a user-friendly tool that steers your digital presence onto the online streams of your key targets.  Visibility to the right audience=#win.

Start at the Finish Line: A 6-Step Social Media Strategy

AdvisorTweets’ parent company, Smarsh, is based in Portland, Oregon, a city known for its great beer, fabulous food, and quirky approach to life. Portland’s unconventional style is never more evident than when grown adults agree to hurl themselves down a local hill in homemade soapbox carts.

Portland’s PDX Adult Soapbox Derby, around since 1997, features a brave group of racers willing to face speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, enclosed in a tiny vessel. Prizes and bragging rights are awarded for categories such as Best In Show, Lifetime Achievement, Best Engineering, Crowd Favorite, Best In Art, Most Original and, you guessed it, Best Crash. But, before a racer even begins to head down the hill they may wish to have a clearly defined strategy. (Who would ever consider careening down a hill with a curve named “Blood Alley” without one?)

The same goes for social media. Regulatory hurdles have created challenges for firms in the financial services industry, placing many advisors at the bottom of the leaderboard. Now many firms want to simply hop in the cart and get into the race. In some instances, you may get lucky; usually, you’ll leave prospects on the sidelines wondering about your brand, your customer commitment, or what you’re selling.

Your strategy need not be overly complicated and complex. By adopting a simple plan with a built-in that allows for the unexpected, you’ll be in the race instead of watching your competitors zip past you on the social media autobahn.

1. What is your social media goal?  This is the most critical component of your strategy. If you haven’t clearly defined your true purpose for using social media, you’ll likely miss the finish line altogether. Social media is such an expansive arena; identifying a goal may be difficult. Keep it simple. Perhaps start with one or two achievable goals and expand as you gain confidence. Here are some ideas for initial strategy:

  • Competitive intelligence
  • Lead generation
  • Customer service
  • Brand awareness
  • Public relations

2. Who is your audience? This is a natural complement of the purpose and goal factor. When defining your audience, be specific as possible. While many advisors’ practices tend to court either individual wealth clients (business-to-consumer (B2C)) or institutions and organizations (business-to-business (B2B)), these are broad definitions that won’t serve you as effectively. Can you narrow your scope to clarify by gender, generation, socio-economic group, or by business type, size, or location? These specifics will guide you in the process as you create content, reach out to influencers, and grow your group of followers and connections.

Tune into the right channels.  There are hundreds of social networks worldwide—the exact quantity is ever-changing as networks frequently enter and exit the internet. Your audience, as well as compliance restrictions, will provide you helpful clues as to which social platforms are appropriate for your business needs.

Facebook:  The average user of the largest social media network—67% of online users are active Facebookers—is a 30-year-old female, city dweller who commands an annual salary of at least $75,000.

Twitter:  In 2012, Twitter—the fastest growing social network saw a 116% increase between Q2 and Q4 in the 55 and over user demographic and an 81% jump in the 45–54 age range.

LinkedIn:  The financial services realm is second only to information and technology (IT) in industries represented on LinkedIn, a platform that offers opportunities for B2B and B2C, alike.  The average LinkedIn user earns $109,000 a year and visits the site to research companies and products.

Google+:  Don’t underestimate this social network; Google+ has more active users than Twitter.  G+ boasts a largely male-dominated audience (two-thirds) with a worldwide reach.  The network interaction tends to focus on technology-centered topics of dialogue.  The opportunity to create impact is here and waiting.

Instagram:  Two-thirds of the top one hundred brands have a presence on Instagram, the photo- and video-sharing social media network; ninety-eight percent of brand photos are user-shared to Facebook.

3. Who will create and curate content? Notice the subtlety in this question? Creating completely original content at all times, is an unrealistic goal, considering the staffing levels at most firms. Thankfully, many social media geeks suggest a ratio of 30–40% of original content posting combined with 60–70% made up of sharing and interaction. This approach goes hand-in-hand with the intention of giving before getting. Here are some additional considerations:

  • Who will manage your social media effort? Will you use internal or external resources? In either scenario, do they have the necessary expertise – and financial services marketplace knowledge – to portray your firm’s voice and expertise?
  • How will you oversee the content development and compliance reviews? Your name is likely on the door or otherwise associated with a valuable book of clients and relationships. Your social media efforts must positively reflect the vision of the firm.
  • A quarterly or annual editorial calendar will help you get a bird’s-eye view of monthly or weekly themes and can provide context for content development.
  • What smarts are you going to give away? Social media is a prime opportunity to define yourself as the expert in your field.  Sharing your “know-how” can put you in a position of the “go-to.”
  • What compliance guidelines must be taken into consideration? There are strict regulatory guidelines associated with social media participation for financial services firms; depending on your business structure, you may also have broker-dealer policies to abide, as well. Before you broadcast anything, ensure you’re fully aware of, and in accordance with the rules and regulations.
  • What is your call to action? What do you want your audience to do as a result of engaging with you? In some cases, you may simply raise awareness, educate, or interact with your community. However, as you consider sharing your proprietary content, it’s important to keep profit clarity.  How will this affect your bottom line?

4. How will you interact? As you conceptualize your online presence, do you envision your persona portrayed as a person or a company logo? (In financial services, people buy from people. Keep this in mind as you consider your options.) Will your voice be playful or professional? The platform may help you make this decision.  Facebook campaigns are often humorous, visual, and more casual in nature; LinkedIn posts are centered on business, personal or professional development topics.

5. How will you adjust course? Preparing for the unexpected is an important aspect of your social strategy. You’ll want to have flexibility built in to help you shift focus if the economy takes a turn or if an extraordinary life or world event happens. Social media is social, and keeping the human element of interaction in mind builds authenticity and credibility. For example, you wouldn’t want a stream of your automated business-centered posts to continue on when local families or business are in the midst of, or recovering from the aftermath of, a natural disaster.

One of the more daunting tasks of social media management is handling the possible online presence of negative commentary regarding you or your firm.  There’s always potential for a less than favorable review; having a social media or online presence doesn’t preclude that.  In an optimal situation, any issues of client dissatisfaction would be resolved prior to the broadcast of details on the Internet; unfortunately, it can’t always be avoided.  By addressing issues publicly, in an authentic, credible voice, you send the message that your firm cares about providing a high level of service.  Accolades are easy to receive; having the tough conversations while people are watching may help you map out a plan of necessary changes to decrease the chance of future mishaps.

6. Document your success criteria. Social media is a segment of your overall marketing outreach strategy. Like marketing, it will take some time to learn the landscape and make an impact.  In the past, many firms simply focused on the quantity of followers or connections. These days, trends point to quality: quality of leads generated, quality of engagement, and quality of web activities.

It may seem counterintuitive, but starting at the finish line—the place you want to be when a social media plan is established and functioning as intended—and working backward, offers great insight into having valuable conversations in appropriate platforms, using an effective voice.  By defining your route and the various avenues to pursue (via the guidance of a sound social media strategy), you’ll reach your destination safe and sound.



Social Media Compliance – What You Don’t Allow Can Hurt You

The proliferation of new communications channels, from social networks to file sharing platforms, has tested compliance professionals who need to ensure all business communications are appropriately retained and supervised, as required by FINRA, SEC and other regulatory bodies.

In this environment, which compliance professionals are more confident about their practices surrounding the oversight of social media? Those who allow social media and have policies governing its use for business purposes – or those who prohibit it?

Findings from the just-released Smarsh 2013 Electronic Communications Compliance Survey are striking. Surprisingly, they show respondents who indicated they allow and govern social media use are nearly twice as confident in their ability to provide specifically requested messages, within a reasonable time frame, for compliance purposes.

On the other hand, respondents who prohibit social media were less confident in their ability to prove their policy of prohibition works. This was true across almost every type of communication, including public and enterprise social media, and text messaging.

Why is that?

One can infer that firms that prohibit the use of social media want to avoid any compliance issues by banning the medium altogether. However, these firms still have the burden of proving their policy is being followed by employees (most important in an audit scenario). That can be challenging when non-sanctioned social tools are adopted by employees for personal and corporate communication (Facebook, Twitter, instant messaging, enterprise social media platforms). Without clear social media policies and enforcement, compliance professionals have the difficult task of making sure there are no rogue social media users and tools in their company.

The reality is your employees are going to use social media, in some form, in the workplace. The survey confirms that it’s a good idea to embrace social media as a valid form of business communication, and have a proactive policy in place to enforce proper use, similar to your company emails.

Even better – have a social media archiving solution that lets you capture, supervise, review and produce employee communications when they are requested, with ease.

Find more information about social media compliance trends in the Smarsh 2013 Electronic Communications Compliance Survey Report.

For more information about Smarsh archiving and compliance for social media, email: sales@smarsh.com.

Third Annual Smarsh Survey Reveals New Trends in Electronic Communications Compliance

Smarsh released the third annual Electronic Communications Compliance Survey Report at FINRA’s 2013 Annual Conference on May 21, 2013.

This year’s report shows us that while compliance professionals still experience challenges in the oversight and retention of electronic communications, professionals in financial services have become more comfortable with greater regulatory scrutiny, new communications tools and channels, and the increasingly complex demands of email surveillance.

Compliance professionals are also adjusting their policies and procedures to adjust to the proliferation of social media and mobile devices in the workplace, too.

As compliance professionals move past the initial fear and uncertainty of using these for business communication, they are becoming more comfortable and familiar with the day-to-day, practical challenges of managing oversight of social media and mobile devices. The survey also reveals they are more confident in their ability to meet compliance obligations related to social media and mobile, too.

In the report, you’ll also find out…

  • What social media platform leads the way in adoption by financial services professionals, with nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents now permitting its use.
  • How many survey respondents say they have policies regarding the most popular social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, AND how many have a corresponding archiving/supervision system in place to support policies.
  • Who is more confident in their ability to provide specifically requested social media messages within a reasonable time frame during an audit (it’s not who you think).
  • What types of company-issued and personal devices are on the rise at financial services firms, according to survey participants.
  • Why policies governing the use of company-issued and personal devices are only part of the compliance solution (and firms need a follow-up step to ensure they meet compliance regulations in this area).
  • Which respondents have more confidence in the capture and archiving of business communications on mobile devices, and more.

Find more insights about compliance and electronic communications trends in the Smarsh 2013 Electronic Communications Compliance Survey Report. Download it now at www.Smarsh.com/2013ComplianceSurvey.

Smarsh Report Reveals Challenges in Oversight of Electronic Communications

Smarsh recently released its second annual Electronic Communications Compliance Survey report, revealing the findings of a survey of compliance professionals in the financial services industry. The report examines the concerns of compliance officers in today’s demanding regulatory environment and indicates significant challenges in practice for electronic recordkeeping and supervision, particularly for mobile devices, social media and websites.

“This year’s survey findings illuminate the shifts underway related to electronic communications compliance,” said Stephen Marsh, CEO and founder of Smarsh. “The retention and oversight of electronic communications has becoming increasingly complicated as employees are presented with a growing number of options to communicate-from instant messages and mobile devices to websites and social collaboration tools-and compliance officers must adjust quickly and comprehensively to mitigate risks to their firms.”

Mobile devices and communications a top concern
Over the last year, there has been a significant increase in the number of firms that allow a variety of mobile devices for business purposes. Extending compliance practices to oversee these communication devices is a top three compliance concern, cited by 63 percent of survey respondents. More than half of firms now allow iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets on the corporate network.

Last year, FINRA issued Regulatory Notice 11-39, stating that firms are required to retain, retrieve and supervise business communications regardless of whether they are conducted from a work-issued device or personal device. Archiving and supervision practices governing communication from these devices, however, lag behind those in place for laptops and desktop computers. Today, the majority of compliance professionals (65 percent) said they would have minimal to no confidence in their ability to produce text messages during examinations.

Firms adapt to social communication channels
New communication channels remain the second biggest concern for firms. However, organizations are adapting and increasingly taking steps to formalize their position on social media use. Nearly eighty percent of respondents indicated they have written policies to address use of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, a significant increase from the year before, when less than half indicated they had a policy in place. However, the findings reveal that when it comes to putting archiving and supervision systems in place for social media, most firms (more than 60 percent) have not yet taken action.

“Social media is following a similar adoption path to instant messaging and email,” said Marsh. “As with those communications channels, we are seeing firms first put policies in place. Then, they turn their attention to enforcement and how they can effectively and efficiently supervise and archive the communications – ultimately leading them to employ a technology solution.”

Websites in use, but retention and supervision systems lag
Most financial services firms have an online presence through their websites, which have become increasingly interactive with videos, slideshows, Flash and other interactive elements. Respondents indicated that website content was the second most requested communication type during regulatory examinations, second only to email. At the same time, 41 percent of respondents indicated having minimal to no confidence in their ability to produce website content during an examination, and only 35 percent reported having an archiving and supervision system in place for websites.

The full survey report is available for download at www.smarsh.com/compliancesurvey.

Calling All Compliance Officers for the Smarsh 2nd Annual Electronic Communications Survey

The Smarsh 2011 Electronic Communications Compliance Survey shed light on the electronic messaging compliance concerns of professionals in the field in a year that saw emerging challenges like social media and mobile messaging add complexity to the compliance landscape. In fact, almost four in every five survey respondents were concerned about new communication channels and methods of communicating. A year later, FINRA has reinforced its focus on social media and electronic communications in its 2012 examination priorities letter. The SEC also recently released a Risk Alert on social media after charging an Illinois-based adviser with selling fictitious securities on LinkedIn.

How are your peers supervising social media use at their firms? What are the top priorities for compliance departments with regard to supervising electronic communications, and how have these changed since last year? The time is clearly right to reexamine the attitudes and concerns of compliance professionals!

Smarsh is calling on compliance professionals in financial services to provide insight through a short questionnaire for this year’s compliance survey. Enforcing policy and supervising organizational use of electronic communications is an important part of a compliance department’s responsibilities, and the information culled from the day-to-day experience of those tasked with managing these growing challenges will truly shed some light on the related pain points and best practices.

Take the Survey!

Respondents to the survey will be the first to receive a copy of the survey results report when it is released, and for each qualified registrant, a donation will be made to one of four selected children’s charitable organizations:

Be assured that all answers are completely confidential and anonymous, and will only be analyzed in aggregate. Learn more about the survey at Smarsh.com/ComplianceSurvey, and please forward on to any of your colleagues in the industry.

The Future of AdvisorTweets

Using Wordle word cloud, this is a visual representation of the most common language used on the AdvisorTweets blog. Pat Allen did a fantastic job at analyzing what was happening in the world of financial advisors on Twitter, and Smarsh would like to continue that tradition on the AdvisorTweets blog.

With that said what would you like to see on AdvisorTweets? Want to submit a guest blog post and lend your voice to the community? Email info@advisortweets.com or send a tweet my way at @AdvisorTweets.

Adam Bullock