3 Tips to Avoid Social Media Compliance Crises

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In 2012 Gene Morphis, the former CFO of Francesca’s Collections, revealed sensitive company information on his Twitter account in advance of the company’s annual report to the SEC. It was later revealed that the CFO had often communicated inappropriate company information on social media, which led to his termination from the company.

Even more recently, data and analytics company Selerity live tweeted Twitter’s Q1 earnings two hours ahead of the official release – causing Twitter to halt trading, and stock prices to drop 18%.  Whoops .

It goes without saying that anyone handling company social media accounts for regulated industries should be well versed in the guidance set forth by the SEC, FINRA, and FFIEC. But what should you do about employee social media use?

  • Provide social media education. Before setting employees loose on social, have your social media professional (whether that’s in house or an agency) conduct a few sessions outlining social media best practices. Most importantly, have one session that outlines the company social media policy, what it means, and potential consequences of social media violations.
  • This includes the C-Suite. Executives are busy people, and may not be completely comfortable with social media. Schedule a session with the brass to make sure they fully understand how to leverage social media from a leadership position.
  • Consider a tool for moderation and approval. Words like “board” or “revenue” can be restricted or completely blocked from posts. Or, posts with these words can be sent to an administrator for approval before going live.

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Or, in the case of Twitter’s recent misfortune, an ounce of prevention is worth $4 billion in stock valuation. Providing social media education, and having the right approval processes in place will keep your social media strategy healthy indefinitely.

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