What financial professionals need to know about social media

By Amy McIlwain

Financial Social Media Marketing

Regulatory rules, compliance concerns and a lack of knowledge in new technologies are begging the question, what do I need to know to use social media? We’ve created some helpful tips and guidelines to help you successfully use social media.

With social networks growing in number by the second, it’s no wonder why more and more businesses are hopping on the social media bandwagon. What better way to market your company’s brand, create relationships with prospective clients and nurture your current client relations?

So why do two out of three financial professionals say they are reluctant to use social media?

Regulatory rules from FINRA and the Securities and Exchange Commission have been preventing financial professionals from fully harnessing the power that social media holds. Compliance concerns and a lack of knowledge in the new technologies are begging the question, what do I need to know to use social media?

We’ve created some helpful tips and guidelines to make you successful in the social media ecosystem.

First things first, you need to get compliant. Yes, it sounds daunting, but most advisers are not participating in social media because they are unsure of what their company’s policies are, or how to regulate their own company’s social media strategies. Check to see if your company has a social media policy in place, as well as a compliance software solution that can monitor and archive your company’s social media footprints. Remember these tips:
  • Any of your social networking profiles are considered Web pages. Check with your firm before posting any static content on your profile, you’ll probably need approval.
  • Do not give financial advice.
Utilize social networking platforms for what they’re worth: unremarkable marketing tools you can’t find anywhere else. Don’t just post your resume or contact information and expect to see results. The key is to optimize your profiles much like you would your company website.

You want to create a high-quality personal brand that’s represented in a professional public sector. Utilize keywords to optimize and boost your profile in search engine rankings. Ask yourself, what types of words and phrases are my prospects searching? Here are some insider tips:
  • Head to Google, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other social network and start searching for professionals in your field. Do some research and find out what kinds of keywords and phrases your competition is using that are causing them to land high in searches.

  • Add personality to your profile — include hobbies and interests to give your profiles a personal touch.
Content is king! I’m sure you’ve heard this term before, and it’s true.

Content is huge when it comes to sharing online. It’s how your brand is represented, how you position yourself as an expert and how you interact with other users.

What do I mean by content? Blog posts, news, articles, videos, photos and status updates are all examples of interactive content. The more quality content you post to your networks, the more users you will attract to return to your site.

And don’t forget to join the conversation. You may have a large amount of followers and are kicking out great content on a daily basis, but until you start jumping into the conversation with your users you won’t see a great return.

Make it a priority to engage with your users on a daily basis by sharing, commenting and liking their posts. Take note of these tips:
  • Be wary of what’s posted about you and your business online. Reputations can be easily tarnished in cyberspace. Have a great time at your work party and have photos to show for it? You can have these easily removed so that your current or prospective clients don’t get the wrong idea of you and your business.
Finally, it’s best to start small. If you’re unsure of the social media world that’s right at your fingertips, take the time to do research and educate yourself on the best practices of how to be successful.

Start with one social network, learn the ropes, and branch out from there. Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools, and it would seem that it’s here to stay. Utilize social media to identify opportunities to grow your business.

If you have questions about compliance, best practices or social media education, don’t hesitate to send me a message.