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Don’t ignore your social media footprint, firms toldDon’t ignore your social media footprint, firms told

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Canada’s five big banks join anti-hate advertising boycott of Facebook Megan Harman Related news As financial industry firms cautiously navigate the social media realm, they need to recognize that they likely have a social media “footprint” whether or not they’ve created and approved of it, compliance officers were told on Wednesday. At a conference in Toronto hosted by the Strategy Institute, James Douglas, manager of solutions specialists at Portland-based social media archiving firm Smarsh, Inc., urged firms to familiarize themselves with their online footprint, regardless of whether they’re actively using social media. Keywords Social media TD Ameritrade launches trading through Twitter Fight for insurance benefits highlights dangers of social media Share this article and your comments with peers on social media He said many firms that have prohibited their advisors and employees from using social media for work purposes are surprised to find that many of their employees do, in fact, make reference to their firm on such social media websites as LinkedIn and Facebook. “Unlike before, when one person couldn’t necessarily broadcast a message that could be seen all over the world in seconds, now anybody can do that – and they can do that with your firm’s name on it,” said Douglas. By simply searching Google, Douglas said compliance officers can get a sense for how extensive a presence their firm already has in the social media landscape. And, through the use of more sophisticated services, firms can gain a more comprehensive understanding of their footprint. “Knowing your footprint, both before you implement a social media policy, after and during, is not only a really good idea; it’s frankly a responsibility,” he said. “If someone is putting your firm’s name out there and everybody can see it, one way or another, it can be perceived as a representation of your firm.” Indeed, as people become more comfortable sharing information on social media sites, many make frequent references to their employers – even on their personal profiles. Although employees may think they’re posting trivial information related to their firm, they could be inadvertently sharing competitive or confidential information. To avoid such situations, Douglas recommends that firms offer staff social media training to clearly indicate the type of activity that’s acceptable and unacceptable. “Help everybody at your firm understand what the implications are,” he said. Douglas admitted that there are a variety of compliance-related challenges to take into account for financial industry firms looking to embrace social media. However, he noted that there is a growing range of products and services available to help firms use social media in a compliant manner. “There are lots of options out there.” read more