1.) The thwack of several notebooks hitting the conference table in united frustration,
2.) A collective grumble from the people around the table, or;
3.) Nervous laughter.
Rarely is the idea of working with the regulatory and compliance (RC) group greeted with a round of applause and viewed as an easy task. This has always baffled me. The goal of your RC team is not to put up insurmountable roadblocks to getting a social media program off the ground. Dealing with RC should not be akin to a root canal. Their goal is to help you. More importantly, their goal is to protect you.
Here is the thing about social media people: They are creative types that like to push the boundaries. That's all well and good, but a little dose of reality is always welcome (remember the yin and yang of social media?). Left to their own devices, many social media marketers will run afoul of regulatory boundaries, either from recklessness or ignorance. Neither excuse is acceptable. This is an incredibly nuanced space and every detail needs to be considered. For example, discussion around how to include important safety information on Facebook, how fair balance can be achieved on social media platforms and what happens when a piece of content is shared outside of the social media channel are all relevant. In these types of discussions, it's not simply useful to have RC in the room; it's mandatory.
The good social media marketers among us understand that a reckless approach to social media is not a successful one. The best social media marketers realize that RC is not trying to block social media engagement; it is the only avenue to making it happen. Think of the RC team as a catalyst to social media engagement. Next time you are sitting around the table discussing an idea, make sure RC is present from the outset for early input. This will make for an easier approval process, ensure RC is part of the idea-generation phase and allow for a more cohesive team.
RC is not your biggest roadblock to social media engagement. In fact, it might be your biggest ally.