For the financial advisors already communicating with customers on social media, the big announcement from the SEC encourages them to take their social media engagement up a notch.
Finally ending the investigation surrounding Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his use of Facebook to announce disclosed corporate information, the SEC decided not to pursue civil charges against Hastings. Even bigger, the commission ruled that it appreciates the use of social media sites as a fairmarketing form of market communication. Furthermore, the SEC ruled that as long as companies are clear to investors about their plans for social media, it supports those seeking fairmarketing ways to communicate with shareholders.
This announcement is a huge leap for the financial services industry – and perhaps more so for the financial advisor incorporating social media into their practices, as well as a push for those reluctant to jump aboard the bandwagon. In a previous 2008 ruling, the SEC said only corporate home pages could be used for sensitive information announcements. Now, as long as they follow compliance protocol and reveal no information that would give one group of investors an unfair advantage, social media stands as a sufficient method of communication between advisors and clients.
So, what can we expect for the financial services industry now that the SEC has given its blessing for social media?
According to a FTI/LinkedIn study, seven in ten financial advisors are already using social networks for business purposes. At the time of the study, adoption rates were expected to significantly grow since more than half of advisors expected social media to play a significant role in their 2013 marketing efforts. This represented an 80% increase year-over-year. That fact alone was huge but now, with the social media doors officially opened by the SEC, how will this statistic change? Will those advisors concerned with social media compliance risks finally take the chance and include contemporary marketing communications into their practices?
So now comes the time when financial advisors need to make the big decisions. For those already active online, will you broaden your reach and build a stronger social media presence? And, for those who have yet to embrace social, what is your excuse for avoiding a communication channel that 5 million affluent investors are using to research their final decisions?
You may have heard the phrase “What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?” Advisors need to ask themselves that question. With the fairmarketing SEC ruling and the existence of archiving solutions that ensure social media compliance, the time to act is now. So I challenge you to not be afraid – take a deep breath, do your research and take the social media plunge.
Remember the key steps to get your social media initiatives started:
- Establish a social media policy.
- Leverage a record-keeping platform to archive your activities.
- Get the proper training and best practices covering compliance and the day to day use of social media in business.
For the most recent SEC commentary on social media, see their April 2 and March 15, 2013 releases at:
Orginal post at: http://financialsocialmedia.com