Solutions for the top 6 financial advisor social media risk factors

By Amy McIlwain

Financial Social Media Marketing

In the financial world, it’s understood that with every opportunity comes risks. This law is applicable to most aspects of business — including social media marketing. Because of the open and interactive nature of social media, there are several risk factors that financial advisors must be mindful of and prepared for when engaging on social media.

Negative comments: I know businesses as great as yours are never deserving of negative comments, but there may come a time when someone posts negative comments, thoughts, or opinions on your social media platforms. This may come in the form of @mentions on Twitter, posts to your Facebook wall, comments on your posts, group pages, or blog posts, etc.

What to do if this happens? Upon seeing these comments, you may feel inclined to lash back or click delete. But you cannot do this. Instead, you must take the high road and respond with poise and maturity. Promptly (within 24 hours max) acknowledge the negative feedback and offer a resolution to the issue. If the situation is too complex for social media, offer an email address or phone number where the individual can contact you. Remember, on social media, everyone silently eavesdrops and oversees everything you do. Knowing this, it’s important to handle difficult situations in a way that makes gives a good impression for your business.

Inappropriate comments: Unlike "negative" comments, inappropriate comments come in the form of profanity and offensive or threatening language. While it’s unlikely your business will face this problem, it’s always important to be prepared.

What to do if this happens? Any posts or comments containing rude, offensive, or threatening language must be deleted ASAP. Regardless, you should politely reach out to the individual (via personal message and/or email) to explain why the post was removed. Ultimately, everything posted on your social media platforms is your responsibility and any posts containing inappropriate sentiments will reflect negatively on your brand.

Compliance: Allow me to reiterate. “Everything posted on your social media platforms is your responsibility.” Your posts and your fans’ posts must adhere to the compliance policies set forth by FINRA and the SEC.

What to do if this happens? If somebody violates a compliance policy, it must be removed. This can be handled similarly to the way in which inappropriate comments are handled. Get in touch with the individual personally or publicly to politely explain why the post had to be removed.

Spam: Spam messages can be harmful to your company accounts in many ways. First off, they’re extremely unattractive and reflect poorly on your brand. Secondly, they put your accounts and the accounts of those involved at risk for viruses.
What to do if this happens: Delete posts that:
  • Weren’t written by a real person (totally off topic or were clearly written by a translator)
  • Ask for money or attempt to sell something
  • Include suspicious links (always take caution when clicking unknown links)
Errors in posts: I used to panic upon realizing I posted something with errors. But let’s face it: Everybody is susceptible to error. Breathe. It’s okay! While you should take every measure you can to prevent error (re-read posts, be careful not to confuse personal and business profiles), there are many ways to turn error into opportunity.

What to do if this happens? The action depends on the type of error:
  • Typo: The post can be deleted and re-posted.
  • If someone interacted with it: Comment on the incorrect post and/or aim to point out the error before someone else. The secret to doing this successfully is having a humble and lighthearted tone.
  • Portrays incorrect information: The post should be corrected and the correction should be noted on a new post.
Competitors: There may come a day when you notice your competitors are following you. Don’t be bamboozled. They are simply trying to assess why you are so successful. If and when this happens, there are a few things you should consider:
  • They can see your connections and prospects: adjust your privacy settings so they can’t.
  • They can see all of your content: once again, if you don’t want them to, just adjust your privacy settings.
As you delve deeper into the social media realm, it is essential to have an understanding of the major risks so you can have a game plan in place. As always, if you have any questions, please ask in the comment section below.