Despite the concrete evidence that social media can serve as a powerful marketing tool to increase brand recognition and build relationships with prospects, many firms avoid social media because they fear their online activity could pose a compliance risk. While there are certainly regulatory restrictions to be aware of, it is absolutely possible to use social media within those regulatory boundaries. The key is establishing a social media policy.
Having a social media policy in place allows a firm to leverage the power of digital marketing and expand the reach of their brand among their target audiences while being compliant, accurate, and consistent across the firm’s footprint.
When it comes to creating a wealth management social media policy, there is absolutely no room for ambiguity. The policy must ensure that everyone at the firm understands how their social media activity connects to the business. To eliminate any confusion, the policy must include specifics about who can post, what to post, and when.
We recommend that advisors consider the following guidelines when creating a social media policy for their firm:
1. RESEARCH POTENTIAL PITFALLS
It is critical for your wealth management firm to be aware of the many social media-related compliance rules. While rules regarding the nature of the content are often the first to come to mind, make sure your policies also include guidelines for setting up social profiles and communicating within a social media platform. Two important components to familiarize yourself with are defining testimonials and avoiding specific investment advice.
2. DETERMINE YOUR SPOKESPEOPLE
Decide who among your firm is allowed to speak on behalf of the firm and post on the official company page. Make sure those who are allowed to represent the firm publicly – whether on digital platforms or traditional public platforms – represent your firm knowledgeably, accurately, and professionally.
3. CREATE A REVIEW PROCESS
Before any content is posted on behalf of the firm, it should be thoroughly reviewed and approved by management and compliance to ensure that the post is compliant with state and federal regulations, as well as the company’s brand and content guidelines. Clearly define your process of review so that everyone understands the workflow and nobody posts something that they come to regret.
4. MAKE POLICIES PERSONAL
While regulators are typically concerned only with communications related to conducting business, that doesn’t mean that personal posts are without risk – in this case risk to your brand and reputation. Search engines, screenshots, archives, and cached files have created a digital world where every piece of content lives forever. It is crucial that everyone at your firm acts as if all of their updates and comments will be posted on the front page of a newspaper – even if their profiles are private. Consider including this simple rule among your policies: if it is not suitable for everyone to see, do not click the publish button.
5. CREATE RECORD-KEEPING PRACTICES
The record-keeping rules for business communications apply to social media as well. Decide how to handle record-keeping and spell it out in your social media policies to ensure each post is accounted for.
These guidelines can help you get started in creating an effective wealth management social media policy. Embracing a robust and specific social media policy can alleviate compliance-related concerns while allowing you to strengthen your brand and professional reputation across all digital channels. Contact our experienced social media team to learn more.