Social media is now an integral of most business marketing. Marketing managers are routinely charged with posting regular updates to company accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Medium and a plethora of new emerging social media platforms as part of a standard business development strategy.

While tools that allow marketing managers to post content across multiple platforms make their jobs easier, these tools also create a whole other set of headaches for compliance officers charged with retaining business communications across platforms. Data compliance and archiving company Actiance recently introduced support for Hootsuite, a popular social media management platform allowing users to post content to multiple social mediums at once as a means to help companies use cross-platform publishing tools and still meet their compliance policies.

Barry Ruditsky, senior vice president of business development and global alliances at Actiance, said more of the company’s clients are looking toward automated platforms like Hootsuite that allow them to post to multiple social media channels at once.

“The ones in regulated industries, financial services, healthcare and others where everything is subject to e-discovery or other things, they have to capture what’s being posted,” he noted.

Amy McIlwain, Hootsuite’s global industry principal for financial services, said companies in highly regulated industries have been historically hamstrung from fully capitalizing on the potential of social media because of the steep costs of noncompliance.

“The original vendors in the space were originally a very compliance-first technology, with social as a very secondary component. What you were left with was a great compliance solution and a mediocre social tool,” she said.

Ruditsky said the partnership is an attempt to give marketing teams the leeway to use their preferred content publishing platform while still adhering to data retention policies.

“The whole idea is if you’re a marketer or a salesman using Hootsuite, and your company is in a highly regulated industry, you don’t want your users creating content to worry about compliance policies,” Ruditsky said.

McIlwain agreed that the partnership frees up content creators from the burden of keeping track of every corporate policy in the content they produce. “You can really even loosen the reigns as far as the content you’re publishing,” she said.

Ruditsky explained that capturing data and content produced within Hootsuite is not all that different than the way Actiance captures it directly from the social media platforms. Actiance uses Hootsuite to track which social media platforms a user is publishing to, and then applies its compliance data capturing to each platform.

“We’re basically capturing what’s being published, and any integration around what’s being published, leveraging those [application program interfaces],” he said. 

Because each different social media platform has different access points available for compliance software to monitor data, Actiance can sometimes apply relevant corporate policy to content prior to posting, but newer, less compliance-friendly social media platforms often force the company to assess and capture data after it’s been posted.

While the partnership does put a compliance stopgap in place to retain communications, freeing marketing staff to publish content without being as wary of compliance policies may give compliance officers some pause. A recent report from competing compliance software company Smarsh found that upwards of 70 percent of financial services companies have a compliance solution in place for their social media retention, but concerns around data retention remain fairly high. A separate study from kCura and Harris Poll found that even when social media policies are in place, 56 percent of employees don’t necessarily know what they contain.

David Horrigan, kCura’s e-discovery counsel and legal content director, previously told Legaltech News that observing policies is far more important than having a policy in place to begin with, even when partnerships like Actiance’s with Hootsuite can automate away some of the risk. “The one thing that is worse than not having a policy in place is not following it. Not following it is the worst-case scenario,” Horrigan said.

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