03 Mar Executive Social Media in the Financial Industry
In our previous article, we shared how executives in the healthcare industry can navigate industry regulations while still using social media effectively. In this article, we turn our attention to another industry with just as strict compliance rules: finance.
Whether an executive is in the private equity space, banking, investments, or another finance-related sector, just like healthcare executives, finance executives must be careful about what they share online through social media. However, there are ways to effectively establish a social media presence to support company objectives.
Keep reading to learn more about content that finance executives should stay away from, content ideas they can post, and how using social media in the highly-regulated financial industry is more accessible than you think.
Financial Compliance and Regulations
Certain industries have regulatory bodies that oversee what type of information can or cannot be shared on social media with the public. Because the financial industry deals with sensitive information, strict regulations exist that govern the type of information that can be shared on social media. Some of the important policies and regulations in the finance industry are governed by:
- FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority)
- SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)
- FTC (Federal Trade Commission)
- Internal organizational guidelines
Social Media Content Financial Executives Should Stay Away From
Here’s a quick list (that is by no means exhaustive) of content topics financial executives should stay away from on social media:
- Expected or overstated performance of specific stocks
- Inside information or anything perceived to be so (remember Elon Musk’s Tweet about Tesla that received a $40 million fine?)
- Misleading information or guarantees about investment returns
In some cases, executives may want to talk about specific companies. One way to do so is to ensure the language being used in the social media post isn’t misleading or making a claim. For example, consider these two examples:
Example A: Company X will grow by 50% over the next few years, so we highly recommend investors consider this stock for their portfolio.
Example B: We believe Company X may be well-positioned to take advantage of cloud computing growth over the next few years.
Example A isn’t compliant with industry regulations. It may mislead investors to invest their money as the post makes it seem like the company will grow by 50% no matter what.
Example B is an industry-compliant post because it’s not making any financial performance claims. It also uses language like “we believe” (denoting that this perspective is the company’s and not necessarily an industry-wide view) and “may” to further illustrate the fact that it’s not a 100% claim.
Suitable Social Media Content for Financial Executives
We covered what financial executives shouldn’t post, but what about the types of content they can post? Here are some examples of appropriate content to establish an executive social media presence in the finance industry:
General industry trends can be an effective way to position financial executives. For example, if their company is known for investing in food and beverage businesses, an executive of a private equity firm may want to share a third-party article about changing consumer behaviors when it comes to plant-based foods. Of course, articles being shared also have to be industry-compliant, such as not including any claims about future stock performance.
Some financial institutions may offer thought leadership content on their website, such as a blog article with three questions to ask your financial advisor about retirement. A banking executive may want to share this on their social media account, not only to drive traffic to the company website, but also to position the company as a valuable and knowledgeable leader in the space. The post wouldn’t explicitly say, “invest your money with us,” but the executive’s content still supports key company objectives like improving brand awareness.
Executives who want to share more about their company have other topics to choose from, not just service or product-related content. For financial executives, company milestones are a common topic that is generally safe to post online. For example, a CEO may tweet about the expansion of their company in a new region.
Social initiatives are an effective way to showcase what a company values. For example, the finance industry is a male-dominated space. If an executive is at a company that is actively working towards bridging the gender gap, sharing any initiatives online and celebrating International Women’s Day are some examples of relevant posts.
Lastly, sharing media appearances is another popular content topic that many finance executives post on social media. For example, market analysts are often invited to appear on CNBC programs to share their perspectives on the economy. However, while promoting their appearance ahead of time may be industry-compliant, the content of the interview after it’s been aired may not be allowed on social media.
Building a Financial Executive Social Media Presence
Whether a financial leader is looking to establish their executive brand or they have an in-house marketing team who’s managing it on their behalf, one of the most important questions is: how do we build a social media presence that is industry compliant?
One route is to develop a comprehensive social media strategy that takes all of the finance industry’s regulations into account. Of course, long-established regulatory bodies are just catching up to more modern social media platforms, so this process may be one of continuous updates. If finance marketers are launching their C-suite leader’s social media for the first time, there may also be some growing pains in terms of establishing streamlined processes that effectively get social media content from point A to point B.
Another route that has been effective for many financial executives and their teams is to partner with a social media content creation agency. Digital marketing experts specializing in building and maintaining executive brands in the finance space have processes in place to support those in highly regulated industries, such as having multi-level review processes that ensure content can be posted from a legal and compliance standpoint.
Ultimately, the industry an executive is in shouldn’t be a prohibitive barrier to strategically using social media. Financial executives have just as much to gain from being on social media as other executives in industries like consumer goods, entertainment, and so on.
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