According to a recent survey , advisers understand the important role that social media can play in engaging with clients. They may develop their brand and driving referrals. But there’s one overwhelming deterrent while one decides to adopt to new strategies and methods of business. The fear of compliance! A number of organizations have banned the usage of at least one social media platform including use of canned content. It makes it essential for advisers to be careful with compliance.
Investment advisers and their firms shouldn’t shy away from social media. The rewards can greatly outweigh the risks if you take a strategic approach that takes you out of the sights of compliance officers.
Here are a few tips to help you start your own social media program that will work within compliance guidelines.
Get all stakeholders on board from the beginning – Your social media efforts will not succeed if everyone is not on the same page from the get go. Plus you need the expertise from a variety of departments to bring a different perspective to the effort. A few departments that need to be on team include communication, HR, legal, compliance and IT. If you’re leading the charge, build a strong business case for the need to include social media as part of your firm’s communication tactics.
Develop a social media strategy
Why are using social media? Is it a recruiting tool? A way to connect with potential clients? An opportunity for you to develop your brand? A way to stay connected with current clients? By understanding why you’re using social media you’ll be able to better identify which platforms are appropriate for your objectives and target audiences. Go a step further and develop a 6 or 12-month content calendar. Of course, social media is real time, so you’ll want to have an action plan to help you deal with timely news that impacts your industry.
By having an outlined strategy, your team will be on the same page and post information according to the strategy in a way that builds brand consistency and thought-leadership. Setting up your social media program and not delivering relevant content is just as bad as not having one in the first place.
Do your research
A good place to start is to see how other regulated industries use social media. Look at some pharmaceutical companies, energy and other financial services. This can spark some ideas on how your firm should use social media. Sometimes by seeing what else is out there you can define what you like and what you don’t and build your program accordingly. Read more about the importance of social media compliance here
Develop a social media policy
While you want each member of the firm to feel empowered to approach social media in a manner that works for them, you have to set boundaries that respect the firm’s approach to social media. Your strategy will guide those decisions including acceptable platforms and brand messaging. Authenticity is key to social media, so don’t suggest or support canned material. You can allow advisers and other staff to develop their content within the constructs of a brand messaging platform. This internal tool can provide guidance regarding tone of voice, personality and can even supply sample messages to help those with writer’s block. This ensures that your brand message is consistent but allows it to be communicated authentically through each individual.
Understand the regulatory requirements
This should quickly follow or be incorporated into the research phase. Your entire social media team needs to understand what is expected of them as an individual and as part of the firm. This will serve as a checks and balances system and help you avoid fines. You can also download this comprehensive report for more advice on best practices and how to prepare for regulatory exams
Indulge in employee training
Training is essential to your success. During training, all staff needs to understand the strategy. They should get familiar with the content calendar and understand the regulations. It has consequences for non-compliance. During your training, show practical examples of dos and don’ts. Discuss best practices and provide guidance for properly setting up profiles. There will be varying degrees of expertise within your organization relative to social media knowledge. But, the bottom line is everyone needs to understand their role.
By approaching social media in the same strategic, logical manner you would a client’s investments, you can ease compliance concerns and work on developing a strong brand for your firm that authentically engages clients, prospects and potential employees.Add to favorites