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Category: Compliance · 5 min read

5 Ways to Keep Your Social Media Compliant

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on October 2, 2018

author profile photo

on October 2, 2018

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Is your business on social media? It’s hard to beat the no-cost marketing, brand-building, and outreach that social media provides. 

But using social media to promote your financial business is different than your personal account. In our world of financial regulations, you have to be more careful than you may realize when it comes to what you post and share on your social media pages. 

Here are five best practices to help you stay compliant on social media. 

 

1. Don’t Post Recommendations or Advice

“Hey John! I’m not sure what do to. I need help with my finances. Can you give me any advice?”

“Help! I’m in a tough financial situation and need some advice. Can anyone help?”

Have you encountered anything like this on social media yet? At some point, you probably will. People need help, so they reach out on social media, hoping for a quick and simple response. 

But don’t do it. It may seem natural and tempting to respond to questions and give advice on social media, but it’s not compliant. Any recommendations, advice, or help you give on social media is public and visible to everyone, unless they send you a private message. You don’t want to be giving confidential and professional advice online. 

Instead, give them your office phone number and work with them to schedule an appointment. Tell them you can definitely help them, but it’s best if they come to your office and talk through their situation in person. This mitigates any regulatory risk, and gives you a face-to-face meeting with a new, potential client. 

It may seem natural and tempting to respond to questions and give advice on social media, but it’s not compliant.

2. Be Careful What you Post About Products

It can be tempting to post about the newest financial products, but think twice before you do. Is the product you’re going to post about one that you’re licensed to sell? If not, hit the delete button. 

To remain compliant, only post or comment about products that you’re licensed to sell. Think about this from the view of a potential client. They follow you on social media and see you post about a new product that is perfect for their financial situation. They decide to contact you and schedule an appointment with you to see if this product would really fit their needs. But, since you aren’t licensed to sell the product, you tell them the bad news and that you can’t actually help them, and they end up taking their business elsewhere. 

This may limit what products you post about, but it will keep you out of legal trouble and help you focus on clients you’re able to serve well. 

 

3. Don’t Post Carrier-Specific Content

Some carriers might have great, shareable content, but be wary about posting it on social media. This can make it seem like you are endorsing a specific carrier, instead of treating them all equally. You know that you’re going to find the best deal for your clients’ needs, but potential clients and regulators may see it as
a bias. 

Instead, look for shareable content that’s not carrier-specific. Or, if you feel confident enough, write your own content on the topic and post it. 

 

4. Treat it as Advertising and Follow These Guidelines 

Most likely, you created a social media page for your business to attract new clients and retain your current ones. So, treat it that way. Advertise your services, inform people about what’s happening in your business and in the industry, and create engaging ways for your followers to interact with you. This could be through contests, questions, or asking for reviews. Be personable, friendly, and exciting, but make it mainly about your business. 

At the same time, you want to make sure you’re following the appropriate guidelines. Here are a few important ones to abide by as you post: 

  • Be aware that you’re responsible for all communication that you post on social media, so post accordingly. 
  • Keep a record of your social media communications, like you do with your other communications. 
  • Don’t post anything misleading.

As you post, keep these two things in mind: Always view it as advertising and act as though you’re responsible for everything you post. 

Advertise your services, inform people about what’s happening in your business and in the industry, and create engaging ways for your followers to interact
with you.

5. Control Your Comments

The main reason why social media is hard to keep compliant is because of comments. You can’t control what other people comment, which is why it’s best practice to turn off comments and restrict people from commenting. However, in most cases, that’s not realistic. You want people to comment on your posts and interact with them! 

Your other option is to control the comments you get on your posts. Pivot all conversations and comments about client needs and products to private channels (phone call, email, or private message). 

If you get a vulgar or offensive comment, you have the ability to delete it. Use this only when necessary, and try not to make a regular habit of it. Your followers will most likely notice if comments are being deleted, and it can hurt your engagement and your reputation. 

 

Stay Social and Compliant

Social media is a valuable tool to build your business, but it’s important to keep it compliant as you use it. Implement these five tips to help put your social media pages on the right side of the regulators, and keep you communicating effectively online with current and potential clients. 

Brokers International can help you continue to keep your social media pages compliant through our Compliance Builder offerings. To learn more, contact our experienced staff today.  

 

For Financial Professional use only, not for use with the general public. #18-0640-072319

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Written By

Mark Williams

President and CEO

Mark Williams is the President/CEO of Brokers International. Over his more than 25 years of financial services experience, Mark has been both a producing independent agent in the field and a home office leader consulting to agencies and field marketing organizations. Currently, Mark is focused on the future of the insurance industry, from the disruptions of InsurTech and robo-advisors to the changing demographics and needs of customers. He also is an avid mentor, helping financial professionals navigate the industry.

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