Clara Shih, the CEO of a company that provides social media services to financial service business, wrote a nice article for the most recent edition of the ABA Banking Journal entitled "6 Steps Every Financial Professional Should Take Before Using Linkedin." As the title states, it's geared toward "financial professionals," mainly financial advisors, but the "6 Steps" are a valuable list of considerations for a wide variety of financial institution personnel who plan to use LinkedIn and other social media in their business, as well as personal, lives. They are:
1. Understand the regulatory requirements (even if they don’t directly apply to you today).
2. Undergo requisite training on social media risks, and make sure this training is documented.
3. Identify where to draw the line between your personal and professional identity.
4. Keep your profile current so you are not at risk of misrepresenting your affiliations.
5. Use LinkedIn to strategically grow your business.
6. Educate clients and prospects with helpful information.
Clara does a nice job of fleshing out each point and I'd recommend the article to anyone who's interested in mitigating the risks of using social media in the course of his or her job as a finance professional. In addition, in the middle of the discussion, the Editor dropped in the following note:
[Editor’s note: In a recent community banking meeting, a CEO said examiners told her that federal banking regulators will soon publish guidance concerning use of social media.]
It would be nice to have some guidance from the banking regulators. Until now, we've had to rely upon logic and reasoning by analogy. If we can get a regulatory pronouncement, we can start doing what we do in other areas of bank regulatory practice: throw logic out the window and acclimate ourselves and our clients to the view through the looking glass. At least we all have a comfort level with that approach to life.