For those who work in regulated industries like financial, legal, insurance, or health, it can feel like an impossible task to craft a plan to use social media. After all, these industries have heavy rules and requirements, and, especially for a small-business owner, it can feel like more trouble than it's worth.
However, the opportunities for companies in these sectors to use social media marketing are vast. It's just knowing how to proceed that makes all of the difference.
Here are some tips for businesses that are heavily regulated.
1. Educate your employees. Every single employee in your company should know the regulations around social media. It's not just about the person who manages your social--it only takes one office manager tweeting about a patient to bring an entire medical office down. As employees of the company, they need to be made aware of how regulations like HIPPA or the SEC impact the social presence of both the company, and the individuals who work at the company.
2. Listen across all networks, join a select few. Social media can feel totally overwhelming for any business, let alone one in a regulated one. The question frequently comes up: "How many networks do I actually need to be on?"
The answer for a regulated brand is often, be on a select few, but listen on all of them. The reality is that people are discussing their health, their legal issues, their finances on social media every day. The insights you can gain from that listening are far greater than figuring out how to talk on each of these networks.
3. Conduct fire drills. Do you know what your business would do if you had a blog post about an adverse event? How about a tweet about confidential financial information? Run scenarios that test instances that you might see happening on social media if something went wrong-- and involve your whole company.
4. Be useful. Many times, as a regulated company, you can't engage with your followers. You can, however, craft content that provides value. Think about how you can create content that helps educate the community about your sector.
5. Report regularly on insights. As you are developing your social strategy, you'll find that you'll learn a ton from looking at the results. The question is, what do you do with those results? Are you optimizing? Changing things up when they don't work? Think about how you report on the insights you receive from being on social media--and consider how you might make changes based on what you've learned.
Are you in a regulated industry? How do you engage with customers?