Pankonin, Secoske team up to simplify social media compliance
"A lot of people see us as tackling a compliance problem," Social Assurance co-founder Ben Pankonin says, "but we're really helping with a marketing problem."
Because of strict regulations, businesses in the financial industry can't tweet just anything. Messages have to be approved by compliance officers. Only now with all these different social media avenues, compliance officers have a lot more to review.
"We get asked, 'Can you make it easier?' " said Ben Pankonin (far left), co-founder, along with Matt Secoske (near left), of Social Assurance. "And that's what we do. We reduce the compliance review process."
Social Assurance aspires to simplify the workflow involved in, say, a bank's social media output. So a financial marketer would log into Social Assurance's web-based platform to monitor social media conversation, archive posts, or analyze reports for compliance issues. To post to a social media outlet, the marketer sends the message first into a moderation queue for the compliance department to review. Social Assurance's dashboard displays notification of approval, and then the marketer can choose to post directly to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, or distribute the message through sales channels. "Our hope is that financial marketers can proceed with more freedom (when) using our system," Pankonin said.
By ensuring that social media messages are compliant with financial regulations, Social Assurance aims to leverage the marketing and sales forces of financial businesses. "A smoother social media response would enable marketing and sales to win more likes and follows, which cultivates customer relationships, which brings in new clients," Pankonin said. "A lot of people see us as tackling a compliance problem, but we're really helping with a marketing problem."
Other startups offering solutions to industries that need to balance compliance issues with marketing efforts include Austin, Texas-based Socialware, who specializes in the financial services industry, and Overland Park, Kan.-based SocialVolt, who recently rolled out a new feature it calls "channels."*
Social Assurance aggregates a company's social media feeds, such as Twitter, and displays it as part of its web-based platform.
Pankonin, a business developer and consultant, first encountered Secoske, a chief software architect and BarCamp coordinator, at Big Omaha a few years ago. "We found a synergy between growing tech businesses and marketing," Pankonin recalled. "We wanted to help banks get beyond the initial challenges of social media."
Pankonin and Secoske began working on Social Assurance on a part-time basis, and they've bootstrapped the company so far. But the duo has a big future in mind for the platform. For example, Pankonin is one of twelve 2012 Pipeline fellows. Fellows are given access to a large amount of resources in the form of mentorships and intense modules that are several days long.
Pipeline selects companies at all stages of growth, and Pankonin is excited about what he can learn from the entrepreneurial immersion experience. "I want to see our business be successful," he said. Pipeline focuses on grooming businesses as much as the entrepreneurs behind them, so he may be in luck.
Update 1:10 p.m. – Added paragraph noting competitors.
Credits: Screenshot of Social Assurance homepage from socialassurance.com. Screenshot of Social Assurance dashboard courtesy of Social Assurance. Photo of Ben Pankonin from twitter.com. Photo of Matt Secoske from socialassurance.com.