5 best practices to keep you compliant on Twitter

By Amy McIlwain

Financial Social Media Marketing

One piece of advice I like to give financial advisors who are new to social media is to remember that your professional self is different than your personal self. I know that this is somewhat stating the obvious; however, when you take the compliance regulations from the SEC and FINRA into consideration, this advice is an important reminder. It’s even more important to have all your social ducks in a row in your business account, more than you normally would for your personal account. Here are five dos and don'ts to keep you compliant and help you get the most out of Twitter for your financial business.

DON’T: Wing it.
DO: Make a Twitter social media policy.

You should make a social media policy for every platform that you are using for your business. This is going to set a foundation, which will be based on your firm’s mission and marketing goals, for everything you do on Twitter to ensure you stay compliant. Lay out who will be participating on Twitter, best practices and etiquette. Not only should you clearly outline which types of content are OK for tweeting, but you should also establish guidelines for connecting with other users and how to properly respond to different types of comments. To view a sample social media policy, click here.

DON’T: Tweet whatever comes to mind.
DO: Make a schedule.

Not only do you want to send tweets that are compliant, but you also want to tweet engaging content that adds value to your followers. To ensure that the words you’re sending out into the Twitter-sphere do both of these things, create a content calendar. Making a schedule of exactly what questions you’re asking and what links you are sharing will help ensure you are staying on top of your Twitter policy. Click here to see how the latest regulation reform broadened your tweeting possibilities.

DON’T: Be unorganized.
DO: Archive everything.

While not every tweet needs to be submitted to FINRA, you are still required to archive all communication on social networks. Once you have your editorial calendar, you are one step closer to archiving. There are many archiving platforms that allow you to upload this calendar, schedule content, and monitor outgoing and incoming communication. Start archiving and stay compliant.

DON’T: Have a one-sided conversation.
DO: Engage with other users.

The whole point of establishing a Twitter presence is to grow your network and build new relationships. In order to do so, you can’t simply send tweets; you have to interact with other users. Target specific people or interests and re-tweet and comment on anything you find interesting. Refer to your social media policy to guide the type of content and comments that are both acceptable and follow your strategy when connecting with other users.

DON’T: Be shy.
DO: Promote yourself.

It’s OK to talk about yourself. Go ahead and promote your firm’s products and services, as long as you don’t mention anything about investment merits or your ability to manage money. Provide links to your website, and add images or videos. Twitter provides enormous potential to grow your business, and FINRA has recognized that financial services should be able to take advantage of this opportunity. If you put the right tools and guidelines in place, staying compliant while using Twitter for your financial business is a lot easier than you may think.

Please Note: This article is for informational purposes only. We strongly encourage you to verify any content and information you use with your own compliance department or legal counsel.

See also:

Social media and compliance: Do you have a policy for your firm?

5 takeaways from a Twitter tour

When should local businesses launch Twitter marketing campaigns?