Social Media in Highly Regulated Industries: It’s Complicated!

It’s increasingly evident that social media plays a huge role in today’s business world. Yet, there are a significant amount of highly regulated businesses that are slow to adopt social media because of fear.  There’s a lot of complexity regarding what a business can or cannot do as well as multiple layers of risk involved.

Industry-specific legislation and regulatory bodies have guidelines, (some explicit and some vague) about what kind of content can be shared through traditional media and social media channels, how private information must be protected, archiving standards, and much more.

Moreover, the rules regarding social media in these arenas are not always clear – and some are open to interpretation.

A fitting way to sum up social media use as it relates to highly regulated industries is with Facebook’s famous words…. “it’s complicated.”

Because of these risks, some businesses stop here. But, if you’re willing to navigate the waters, you can have the advantage over your competitors.

Here are some stats that could help convince you:

o    36% of consumers take action after viewing a financial services brand or product in another medium (Retail and Consumer Insights)
o    76% of potential clients use legal blogs to assess a law firm’s capabilities (Research Intelligence Group)
o    4 out of every 10 consumers use social media to find health-related reviews and one-third of consumers are using the social space for health-related discussions (IMS Health Report)
o    60% of doctors surveyed said social improves quality of care (Journal of Medical Research)

Education is fundamental to entering the social sphere. It’s important to know the rules and to establish a solid social media game plan – and social media policy – which outlines guidelines for use.

I’m planning to discuss this in depth later this week as I present an hour-long webinar with MetricStream.  social media training programs

I’ll cover a variety of topics including the role of technology and social media in today’s business landscape, regulated industry risks, universal best practices, best practices for regulated industries, establishing a solid social media policy, tackling confidentiality and security concerns, and some real-life do’s and don’ts of using social media.

While there is a lot of gray area surrounding social media in regulated industries, business have a unique opportunity to rise above their competition by implementing best practices. If you’re reluctant to embrace social media for your business, I invite you to attend this free webinar on Wednesday at 11:00 am EST.

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