When there are stricter rules to abide by, people tend to be more cautious rather than risk getting in any sort of trouble. The same is true for organizations in regulated industries.
Typically businesses in regulated industries shy away from social media, and are even less open to the idea of employee advocacy. They aren’t receptive to any sort of changes to the way they operate because they don’t want to risk violating any rules. The trick is you need to share and engage on social media without giving out any information specific to your company, but still give value to your intended audience.
Skipping out on social media is a lost opportunity for any organization. You lose a digital touchpoint for people who are trying to learn about or connect with your brand. This could be prospective clients, influencers, applicants and even existing customers.
Avoiding employee advocacy in regulated industries is even more of a missed opportunity because it allows your social media and content marketing strategies to reach their highest potential. However, it’s completely understandable to have regulations be top of mind, and there are steps you can take to ensure there are no violations such as training and having clearly defined guidelines for your employees.
Additionally, high-quality employee advocacy tools have pre-written suggested messages for employees to use as captions in social media posts. These messages have gone through compliance review by the appropriate people in your organization, and make it easy to include employees in your social media strategy.
Regulated industries include legal, healthcare and financial services, among others. Unfortunately, as social media grows, many advocates in these industries find that interacting online can open avenues for fault. For instance, regulators have considered any customer clicking “like” to be an endorsement and testimonial. How can companies in these industries ensure their employees don’t land them in legal trouble?
The result is many organizations find themselves tip-toeing around regulations and avoiding social media and employee advocacy. But the truth is, organizations that take this course of action skip out on a major opportunity to expand their brand digitally and engage with new clients, influencers and more. Additionally, there are still many ways to participate in social media that are completely inbounds for these organizations.
Benefits of Employee Advocacy
Some tips to remember in order to engage on social media without violating any regulations include:
- Do not share sensitive information.
- Avoid giving direct advice.
- Avoid making endorsements.
- Add value through speaking on trends and challenges that are of interest to your intended audience.
To get your employees to follow these same rules, simply make this a sticking point in social media training sessions. You can train employees in groups, and on an individual basis when needed. You can include a crisis protocol as part of your training sessions as well, so they’re prepared if one occurs.
What’s important is you need to trust your employees because you hired them for a reason. Having your employees represent your company is extremely important because it’s statistically proven that they have more influence on your audience than your brand or your executives. There a number of benefits to having a successful employee advocacy program in your organization, including expanding your reach and engagement rate.
Regulated Industry Examples
There are ways to leverage social media and employee advocacy specific to each industry.
Financial service companies can share information in stock market charts, best practices, and insights. Simply avoid providing direct financial advice. Bring financial and technical information to the public by creating charts and using ‘dollar tags’ (like a hashtag) to relate to stocks. Even if you can’t engage directly on an advice or informational level, you can still educate on the industry.
Insurance companies can also utilize online communities by bringing together business advisors to share information and exchange ideas. Many premier insurance companies build online communities to help customers get through major life events, allowing them to collaborate with one another rather than providing direct advice.
Employee advocacy in law firms leads to higher awareness, reach and credibility of lawyers in your organization. When lawyers connect with influencers and clients on social media, it makes them look more authentic and personable, while also allowing them to show their knowledge and insight. This leads to stronger connections to existing clients, and more interest from prospective clients. Just remember not to give away any details on specific cases.
Employee advocacy programs allow organizations to expand their social media marketing and content marketing strategies in order to get the most out of their digital presence. It’s important to be mindful of regulations but training employees on how to engage on social media properly, will lead to success.