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THE RISKS OF PRE-APPROVING CONTENT

Okay, so maybe you're still thinking you want to pre-approve content. There are some downsides, including:

Unreal-time – The online conversation may have to be paused if an approval of content is needed first. Like the cocktail party example above – and perhaps your own experience when you're kept on hold – how would it make you feel about the firm or advisor if you asked a question and didn't get an answer right away? Would you want to reach out again? Would it affect your trust in them?

Impersonal – How do you react when you see, “We're sorry for the inconvenience”? Content developed and essentially cut and pasted can come across as canned and generic. It lacks authenticity.

Degrees of Separation – If content is created by folks who aren't close to the customer – an outside consultant, perhaps – this can also create issues; for example, an inability to give specific answers. There can be several degrees of separation between the author and the customer – and too many can just lead to a bad customer experience.

A STEPPING STONE: THE PROS OF PRE-APPROVING

Still, for a variety of reasons, pre-approving content might make sense. Perhaps you're a large bank with multiple employees in several divisions using social media, or a wealth division with hundreds or thousands of advisors. Pre-approval can allow you to group content by categories and give you a greater sense of control as you venture into social media.

For small firms, pre-approvals are uncommon since advisors generally serve as their own chief compliance officers (CCOs). But even those who have small staffs may want to pre-approve as employees get up to speed. Pre-approval generally takes two forms:

1. Employee-Driven Content – Employees or advisors create the content, and then it goes into a queue for vetting. Once approved, it can be scheduled for posting.

2. Company-Driven Content – The firm provides content without employee input. However, the company could hold a monthly content meeting to provide employees the opportunity to share what they think.

Bottom line, pre-approving can make perfect sense for companies who have not yet engaged in social media. Using this gradual approach to more real-time engagement can:

■ Help establish systems

■ Increase confidence by the compliance department

■ Develop a writing style and voice for social media

 
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