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Recapping The Financial Services Forum and Hearsay Social's Social Media and Compliance Event in London

The following post was written by Ellie Kirk of The Financial Services Forum and Anita Moorthy, Head of EMEA Marketing at Hearsay Social. 
The first part of 2015 saw The Financial Services Forum and Hearsay Social collaborate on a project to help educate the financial services industry on social media and compliance best practices. UK event_1
Following a series of interactive breakfast meetings, an industry working group was formed that included senior marketing and compliance decision makers across the UK financial services industry. Later, a social media and compliance best practices guide was presented to the FCA for comment. This culminated in a Social Media and Compliance event on September 24, hosted very aptly at Facebook’s London office where speakers from the FCA, Killik and Co, Shawbrook Bank, Hearsay Social, and others were in attendance.
Below are highlights and key takeaways from the event. Names of individuals were omitted, as the conference was held under the Chatham House Rules.
The Social Media and Compliance half-day event revealed some interesting data: affluent millennials — the most prominent generation at present — are up to five times more likely to seek financial advice via social media than any other generation. This is news that may frighten some financial services providers, whom we acknowledged are known to be late adopters of new technologies. This set the scene for the rest of the day: with more consumers seeking advice on social media, it’s critical that your company is present on social media or risk being left behind.
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This is, in part, why Hearsay Social and The Financial Services Forum teamed up to create a Social Media and Compliance reference document for compliance in financial services, which is in line with the FCA requirements for social media. The team behind the reference document are also creators of the LinkedIn Social Media and Compliance for UK Financial Services Companies, a private group where financial professionals can continue the discussion around compliance and keep an open dialogue amongst peers.
It was clear during the session that not only does it make perfect business sense for financial services companies to adopt social media policies that can be rolled out company-wide, it will become inevitable. With strong audience participation, everybody agreed that financial services companies should embrace social media (as long as they remain compliant)! UK event-image 3
Moreover, the benefits of social media in financial services companies should not be overlooked. From giving a place for start-ups to reach their target audience, to allowing large financial industry players to reach a wider audience, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can — and should — be used responsibly to help the industry keep the customer at the heart of their businesses.
From the presentations, we learned that the key to using social media successfully is to use it to communicate with customers, not sell to them. Social media allows companies to define their voice, tone, and way of doing things. It’s their chance to position themselves as a friendly and approachable business; not a hard-selling, faceless machine.
Furthermore, while compliance may be daunting for some, it’s important for marketing and compliance teams to work together to drive social media forward in business, including by providing training and mentoring to best educate these teams on new digital technologies. While the framework should be compliant with regulations in the UK, social media as a tool to give a human face to a business should not be ignored. Therefore, it’s more critical than ever that financial services companies don’t get left behind!
To continue the conversation online, join the LinkedIn group for Social Media and Compliance for UK Financial Serv Companies.
To learn more about implementing a compliant social media program in your financial organization, download the Social Media and Compliance Reference Guide.
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