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Background

In May of 2009, YES bank, India’s fifth largest private sector bank joined Twitter. Today, it has 27.5k posts and has 2.19 million followers. It has the largest following on twitter after World Bank. Corporations have been using this platform for a long time now, so why are we discussing social media compliance?

social media complianceWell, for starters banking is a highly regulated sector. The Reserve Bank of India regulates any and every activity. Banks have to be careful about every post, picture, video or check-in regardless of the kind of platform they use.
Employees must be careful of what they post on twitter, Facebook etc. Employees’ posts even after their working hours can have a devastating impact on the company.

It is necessary to incorporate  a social media compliance policy in the base framework. It is built as a collaborative effort by all departments of the organisation. The policy should outline how the interaction between the company and its stakeholders must be carried out.
Training the employees, especially the marketing and sales team is important. It teaches how use these platforms effectively, without disclosing any sensitive information, is a must.

For example, the TATA group of companies has developed a social media guideline for its employees, its subsidiaries’ employees and any third party. It states that employees must “show proper respect for laws governing copyright and and fair use of copyrighted material owned by others”. It has strict guidelines for information sharing as well. All communications made via platforms like blogs,micro-blogs,online forums etc. must be accurate, complete,valid and relevant. This is a good way to educate and train employees.

SEBI

The Securities and Exchange commission(SEC) an independent body in U.S . It has drafted a federal law for all employees. Under this law, the employees shall have to manage their business communications on social media and  archive it for at least three years.

SEBI is the Indian capital market watchdog which might propose regulations to bring company disclosures on media under its ambit. It proposes to keep a tab on usage of social and digital media to misguide investors.

social media compliance

 

Pharma and Healthcare

But not every industry uses digital media for communication. One such industry is pharmaceuticals and healthcare. It regulated by strict norms and that is why only a handful of companies like Abbott, Sanofi, Merck Serono, J&J have been using social media for the purposes of branding, talent acquisition, product promotion etc. Nilofer Memon, Digital Marketing Manager for Sorento Healthcare says that because of compliance restrictions and legal barriers, MNCs in the pharma industry prefer not to promote their products online.

social media compliance

The world is rapidly developing and so is its system of communication. Organisations like Goldman & SBI bank is proof enough that this practice is here to stay. But benefits of social media bring along a host of non-compliance problems and its serious consequences. Thus, it is vital that both corporations & regulatory authorities cooperate and coexist to reap benefits of this useful medium.

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