Social Media Governance in Regulated Industries – Part 2 – The Right People

Last week I introduced a basic model for social media governance in regulated industries.  This week I want to get into the details and the framework I’ve seen work and work well, starting with the people who will bring the guidance, wisdom, and authorization you need to both start and support a social media project. This post focuses on the people and roles that make up a solid governance model.

First and always most critical are the people who make up your internal support network.  Departments represent corporate goals and fulfill corporate needs.  Individuals can also understand and invest in your vision.  Selecting and on-boarding the right people to your governance team is crucial.  The model and roles may vary, but here is the general construct.


Your executive sponsor should have the authority to give approval for your individual social initiatives.  This person should fit well into your company’s authorization hierarchy.  In addition to signing authority, your executive sponsor should be on board with your vision, and possibly contribute to it himself or herself.  Lastly, the executive sponsor should have a strong internal network and understand the nature of your projects well enough to recommend other internal contacts to fill some of the remaining roles of the governance model.  This role is accountable for the results of your project even if they aren’t involved in the day-to-day decisions of how to execute.


Compliance for the purpose of this blog series means any corporate or industry procedure, policy, or written obligation of your company to its customers and government.  For this model, compliance falls into several categories:

      • Privacy – the acquisition, use, and publication of personal information
      • Product Complaints – ensuring that any product feedback and complaints are reported and dealt with appropriately
      • Legal – terms of use, partner contracts, legal statement review
      • Marketing – branding and corporate reputation
      • Purchasing – terms of engagement with partners and ensuring that partners comply with regulations

The review committee is established as a part-time entity that meets informally.  Formal gatherings and mandated meetings with formal status updates are discouraged.  One-on-one communication is strongly encouraged.

Each member is on-boarded from each department and given permission from line management to participate.  Their role is to first provide guidance before any formal requests are made to open new social spaces.  Their role expands into providing formal approvals and feedback when compliance requires it.  It is important to recognize that these individuals are brought into planning before any formal requests are made.  Use their wisdom when deciding what to do, and don’t wait until you need their signature to bring them along with you.  We strongly suggest that each member of the compliance committee have at least one personal and ongoing connection with a member of the local team. Each member of the compliance review committee should be a personal champion for your work.


Any engagement in a social space should have input from all aspects of the internal team.  This is even more critical when the social channels focus on innovation or crowd sourcing.  We recommend the following:

      • Project Owner – Someone on the team has to “own” the project.  This person is accountable to the executive sponsor and compliance review committee.  They own the internal voice.
      • Compliance Lead – Titles vary but it is important to have one or more members of your team who own the understanding and interpretation of compliance regulations, policies, and procedures.  The compliance lead has allindustry and corporate documentation on hand, as well as a close relationship with the compliance review committee and their collective wisdom.  It is the compliance lead’s role to be ready with an answer or know where to go find it as the local team plans new features or products.  They are the local subject matter expert (SME) and keeper of the documentation.  This person is accountable for the documentation and the connection with the compliance review committee.
      • Team Lead –  Most teams already have a designated team lead.  They should be brought into the high-level discussions on social media campaigns surrounding new features or seeking customer input. Team leads have a closer view to the work and have a unique perspective on user voice and probably the greatest need to hear user voice.


Social channels require content.  In a regulated industry, they require carefully crafted, honest, and compliant content.  It is important that you staff your social projects to provide the content accordingly.

      • Authors – We’ll discuss this at greater length in my post about local processes, but it’s important to have a group of people who can communicate freely as approved communicators without having every sentence monitored, and who can approve the content of others.  There may be company guidelines in place for this.  If not, make your own guidelines and standards.  Make them high enough to be above reproach.
      • Content Creators – Social media needs content and content takes time.  Not all of your content creators need to be approved communicators.  Depending on your social project and how prolific you want to be, anticipate one to two individuals to do nothing but create content for a blog platform and one micro-blog platform.
      • SMEs – Identify team members who are willing to be resources for your content creators and authors.
      • Monitors – In regulated spaces, content needs to be monitored to ensure compliance.  Someone needs to have the job of actively monitoring every social project you launch.  Every project, regardless of platform, has its own goals and should be monitored accordingly.

Social media can be tremendously valuable as a personal conversation with your customer.  Regulated industries have their own set of challenges surrounding those channels, but it can be done with enthusiastic internal support.  Tune in next week when we discuss the documentation that can make social less mysterious and dangerous and more transparent and valuable.


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