Compliance and Social Media: A Useful Compliance Tool

The rise of social media use has created many compliance challenges, and has kept the legal and compliance teams on their toes.  (Read, Compliance and Social Media: The Corporate Risks and Compliance and Social Media: Top Five Best Practices). Social media can conversely be used as an effective and powerful tool in your compliance and ethics programs to promote compliance messages, help detect potential issues, and to support important business objectives.

Internal Communication

There are many ways in which internal social media platforms may be used. Consider using internal social media channels to communicate about compliance and ethics issues, to promote ethical practices, and to create a culture of compliance by:

  • Engagement Forums – host intranet compliance forums where compliance team members post information, answer employee questions, and allow employees to comment.
  • Educational Webinars – host internal webinars to educate frontline staff, and to give managers talking points to help them address compliance and ethics questions directed to them from team members.
  • Informational Dashboards – create and manage dashboards that provide boards and senior management with important updates, risk assessments, and infractions.

External Communication

External social media channels are great tools for communicating with stakeholders, such as investors, regulators, customers, and potential customers about your compliance program, best practices, and lessons learned.  Many companies are doing just that.  Some of the ways that this can be achieved (1) via blog posts about the company’s values, ethical practices, compliance tools, and privacy practices; (2) creating video messages delivered by employees or stakeholders that share positive stories related to ethics, integrity and compliance; and (3) using Facebook and YouTube to share stories of corporate responsibility, integrity, ethics, and the steps your company took to mitigation the impact of publicized breaches.

Communicating that you have a strong compliance program can also be a competitive advantage. Consider the following:

  • Customer Brand Confidence – The right compliance message can convey to customers that their confidential information is secure, creating confidence in your brand.
  • Investor Brand Confidence – Publicizing a state-of-the-art compliance program could impact the value of your brand by fostering investor confidence.  Because of the risk of incalculable fines from compliance breaches, today investors are concerned about the effectiveness of your compliance program, especially if you are operating in a highly regulated industry.
  • Government Brand Confidence – Broadcasting the strengths of your program could put government officials at ease, mitigate fines for breaches, or be the differentiator that wins your organization a government bid.

Detecting Misconduct

Social media if used properly can be a great monitoring and reporting channel in the following ways:

  • Detecting Misconduct – Monitoring social media sites can be an effective means for detecting misconduct and potential misconduct.  Keep in mind that such monitoring activity must be conducted in a way as not violate employees’ right to privacy.
  • Alternative Hotline Channel – Social Media can also be a way for employees to report compliance and ethics issues.  For example, some companies offer texting as an option for employees to report actual or suspected compliance issues.  These text messages are then routed to the internal or external hotline.

Go where the action is and get social with your compliance program!