If you have already begun your research into getting a website as a financial advisor, you will undoubtedly have heard of the Financial Industry Regulatory Association, or FINRA. They regulate the financial services industry, including what financial advisors are and aren't allowed to post on social media. So we've crafted this handy guide to help you navigate the world of social media while remaining compliant!
Business vs. Personal Profile
The first thing you need to recognize is that there is a difference between business profiles and personal profiles. If you are posting content from your website such as your blog to your own personal Facebook account, then there is no issue. However, if you are posting to a page affiliated with your business, that is when FINRA steps in. Make sure to always double check which pages you are sharing to! Managing several different social media accounts can become a little overwhelming, so it's normal to lose track of which account you are publishing to. Consider automating your social posts to save time and confusion!
When it comes to sharing content which comes from your own website such as your blog posts, that is a different story. Before posting anything on your social profiles, they will need to be approved with your compliance officer beforehand! As soon as that approval is reached, then it is possible to go ahead and share it. A general rule of thumb to help keep track of what needs approval and what doesn't is to ask oneself if this is conversational or not. For example, a twitter post asking a question or sharing an article with a call-to-action would count as conversational and be acceptable. However, see the last section below on sharing for more details!
This is probably the easiest and clearest way to know whether you are posting things that are compliant with FINRA: is your content honest? Anything you write yourself is sure to be honest and accurate to your knowledge, but you must consider any third party websites or articles you might be sharing. To the best of your ability, make sure to monitor all of your content to assure that it is as honest and accurate as it can be.
Sharing not Advising
While sharing links to third party websites can be fun, it must be done with caution. The reason for this is that your clients may take an article which you thought of as fun and entertaining as solid advice. Therefore, if that article is found to contain false information, this could create negative repercussions towards you. Make sure anything you share is reputable and truthful, and if you'd like to go the extra mile with caution, consider adding some sort of caption somewhere (perhaps your bio) with a disclaimer.
So there you have it, our two cents on keeping all social posts compliant. Usually, using your judgement and critically evaluating any social posts will do the trick. If you'd like something a bit more accurate and straight from the source, you can study the rules straight from FINRA's website.