Will GDPR increase your use of social media?

GDPRThe General Data Protection Regulation comes into force on 25 May 2018.

It’s likely to change the ways firms approach their marketing – especially in B2B, which is where the new rules will arguably see the most change.

What will change for B2B marketing under GDPR?

To date, the regulations governing B2B data have been less prescriptive than those governing your personal data. But from next May, this distinction between business and personal data protection will be removed.

The Directive defines personal data as including:

  • Full name
  • Job title
  • Work email address
  • Direct telephone number
  • Any data relating to an individual’s actions or behaviours – eg, areas of interest
  • Computer IP address

Opt-in replaces opt-out

The other big change represented by the regulation is that ‘opt-in’ will replace the existing ‘opt-out’ rules when it comes to receiving marketing communications.

This means that your contacts have to proactively opt in to receiving your financial promotions and marketing materials.

You can read more of the details on the GDPR here. And read why it’s important to get it right – not least because some people have called GDPR the next PPI scandal.

If you work for a regulated business, the hoops you already jump through to make sure you’re compliant may give you a head start when it comes to the GDPR. Your corporate behaviours and processes should already be rigorous.

However, the Directive has requirements all of its own. This means that however well your current processes meet your regulator’s demands, you will still need to make changes.

Will GDPR increase your social media marketing?

A DMA survey in February this year showed that a quarter of firms were not on target to meet the GDPR requirements.

While this is scary – and they need to be prepared – there is a school of thought that suggests firms may just reduce the amount of email and DM they do. Instead, it’s predicted that B2B marketers will turn to social media to fill the void left by direct contact.

Why social media? There are several good reasons:

  • Your Twitter followers, Linkedin connections or Facebook ‘likers’ provide you with a ready-made audience. These people have all chosen to connect with you – to ‘opt-in’ to receive your marketing messages.
  • Increasingly, social media isn’t just about your own accounts.
    • Via Linkedin, for instance, you can identify groups by job title, industry, seniority and a host of other segmentation tools. Then you can send them targeted messages, with relevant content.
    • Promoted tweets and Facebook posts do much the same – identifying people by their interests, employers, job titles, geography and other factors to deliver tailored messages.
  • This approach isn’t a million miles away from buying data, or segmenting your own database, to create a mailing list. And social media platforms – probably because they are very aware of the implications of the new Directive – are expanding their marketing offerings all the time.

So while GDPR may create a vacuum in terms of available contacts, social media provides a way to fill this gap.

What do you need to think about when marketing via social media?

If you’re considering upping your social media activity to counteract the restrictions of the new regulation, there are a few things you need to bear in mind.

  1. You need a strategy. Ad hoc posts just won’t cut it. Read our tips on how to create a successful social media strategy to develop an action plan.

  2. Your content needs to be relevant. Social media is designed to amplify your messages – but you won’t achieve this unless people think your content is valuable and worth sharing. Our blog on how to make your content more shareable on social media has hints and advice.

  3. If you work in a regulated industry, there are a whole host of other considerations you need to bear in mind. You need to understand the FCA’s policy on social media compliance and make sure your approvals and record-keeping processes make the grade. You can read more on social media rules for regulated firms here.

  4. You have to continuously improve your content. Whether you’re sharing via your own account, or making use of sponsored tweets and other social media promotional tools, you need to constantly review and refine what you share on social media.
    Look at what gets most interactions and clicks. Are there common themes in terms of content; time or day of posting; key words used; length or imagery?

  5. Improving your social media processes is also important. If this is one of your primary channels, you need to make it as efficient and effective as possible. If you use an automated marketing workflow tool, the MI it provides will give you insights into how long it takes to get posts approved, what gets knocked back by your compliance team and what type of content gets the Compliance seal of approval first time.

Best practice social media for regulated firms

If the prospect of tighter restrictions under GDPR has made you want to up your social media game, you will find our free guide useful.

How to use Twitter for Financial Promotions - a 10 point guide has advice on creating compliant content for social media – essential within an regulated environment. The guide is free, and you can download a copy here.

Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.

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