Financial advisers should have some sort of social media presence. Think about it. There are more than 1.8 billion active users on Facebook alone. It is the most popular app used on smart phones.
However, as great as social media can be for your business, it can damage your business beyond repair if used incorrectly. Remember, anything you put on social media is permanent. Even if you delete it, you can't control who might have saved or "snapped" a photo of your post and shared it with their friends.
Don't say anything negative on video, send a scathing email or post anything on social media that can hurt your professional reputation. Whatever you feel you are going to gain from the post, is not worth the risk of it carrying over into the reputation of your business.
With that in mind, I've compiled a list of the top seven things financial advisers should never post on social media.
1. Product promotion. Never promote your favorite financial products or your business investments on social media. It drips of shameless promotion and is an instant turnoff for clients and prospects. If you want to give sound advice, connect with people in person, get to know their needs and then give them a holistic recommendation.
2. Bashing your competition. Your social media channels are for you and you alone. You can engage with clients and prospects, highlight your company's personality and increase your brand, but you should never talk ill about a competitor. Why put their name anywhere on your page?
3. No political comments. This is a timely piece of advice. You never want to offend people on social media. This is why you should stray away from your political views when using the various social media platforms available for your business. Political topics are sensitive topics, and it's nearly impossible that every one of your clients and prospects share your exact same view.
4. Predict the future. It's great to share what you believe or your philosophy when it comes to investing. But never try and predict what the market or any investment is going to do. Predicting the future, whether you believe it or not, is an impossibility.
5. Regulations. Some financial advisers believe that posting a small testimonial on social media isn't a big deal. Similarly, some believe that the act of sharing personal client information won't be noticed. However, these acts break regulations within the financial adviser community. Make sure that your social media posts don't violate any laws.
6. Don't give investment advice. Remember from the points above, don't give broad-stroke investment advice. Each person is unique and needs specialized advice. There is no one-size-fits-all piece of investment advice. Make sure you don't give advice on social media, which is a broad channel.
7. Elicit an emotional response. Everyone is emotional. However, financial advisers should never be emotional on social media. Don't engage in the trolls or try to fight fire with fire on social media. Remember the saying: If you fight with an idiot, no one can tell which one is the idiot.
(More: Meet the Social Media Adviser)
Remember, it takes years to build a successful business and a great reputation. But it only takes one careless social media post to destroy it all. Always be sure what you post or put in writing is compliant and in line with the image you want to display.