The question for this blog post is “can financial service professionals safely use social media”?
The short answer is YES - many already are.
Statistically speaking, the majority of financial service companies are involved with using social media. In fact, research from LIMRA found that approximately 60% of these companies use social media in some form to help their advisors and representatives.
Many companies are also widening their scope and reaching out to consumers, as well for support for advisors. Of course, the scope of the social media presence, and what they were offering varied from company to company for a number of reasons. Those that had less experience did not offer as much in terms of support, for example.
Many of the companies researched by LIMRA are developing their own training and protocols for financial professionals working for them. They need to walk a fine line with social media, just as any business does.
In order for their social media outreach to work, it needs to be supported by the higher ups in the business, and the company needs to provide proper training for individuals who will be using social media and representing their company.
Is This a Good or Bad Idea?
When it comes to financial services, one has to wonder just how much they should communicate via social media with customers and the public in general. In some cases, they may have access to confidential information that they might leak accidentally, including private information about a client or about the company itself. There is always the danger that someone could post something deliberately via social media to hurt the company.
Of course, you could say the same thing for many other types of companies as well. A quick search online will show you just how much trouble other companies have been in via their social media accounts because one of their employees said or did something that they shouldn’t have.
Just because of the nature of the business is sensitive, financial services in this case, it should not necessarily prohibit companies from using social media. It simply means that there needs to be codes of conduct in place for anyone who is using social media and who is representing the company in any way.
Consider the fact that hospitals and clinics have social media accounts. They do not talk about sensitive information via their accounts. They use it to send out news and timely posts, as well as to help people who have questions. A social media account for a financial services company could act in much the same way.
Proper Training and Feedback
Those companies that have social media sites need to ensure that everyone who has access to posting on the sites knows the scope of his or her role. Someone who works in support, for example, will not give financial advice. With the proper rules in place, it helps to keep everyone on the same page.
That’s not to say that problems will not occur, as they still could. However, taking steps to mitigate the potential issues will help to keep incidents to a minimum. If there is ever a breach of the protocols in place, it is essential that the company provide feedback to that individual, as well as the rest of the company in general.
To some extent, social media is still the Wild West of the Internet, but in certain industries such as the financial world, regulations and guidelines are fast becoming the norm.
If you’d like to find out more about how to use social media to build your business, please contact us today.