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While social media use is practiced widely by Americans, many people simply avoid it. Some find the platforms unfamiliar or counterintuitive, while others see little value in sharing and engaging on the Web. Among financial professionals, however, the reasons for avoidance tend toward the technical and the specific. To look at why many in the industry feel held back in social media, let me just briefly touch on the “Four Multiples”:

1. Multiple Platforms – Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter all have growing value for our industry, depending on how those platforms are used. But if marketers are just now learning how to use these platforms, how can we expect compliance officers to also understand? Moreover, focusing on any one platform could be nearly a full-time job by itself.

2. Multiple Employees – If you have multiple employees on multiple platforms – or even one platform – how do you track and monitor them?

It's enough to make you stop tight there: Is it worth the risk to your compliance record? “Let's see how others do” is a common mode of action.

3. Multiple Regulations – Let's not forget the regulators. And this is problem one for many in the industry. You might be overseen by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or even the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). How do you cope with all of those requirements for approvals, archives, recordkeeping, and more? Of course, no professional concerned about his or her job would want to do anything until they get some green light from officials that it's okay to use social media. But as we'll discuss later, that's one of the common myths. The good news is that regulators seem to be moving more quickly as they, too, embrace social media for their own purposes.

4. Multiple Internal Layers – Thanks to regulations and legacy bureaucracy, particularly at large firms, many organizations have multiple approval layers. It takes time to work through those layers, not to mention instituting new policies to abide by regulatory requirements.

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