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APPROACHES TO PRE-APPROVED CONTENT

Thinking that maybe the write-it-yourself option isn't for you? Financial businesses have multiple ways to provide their advisors with content that has already been vetted. Let's look at a few ways that they do it:

Pre-Approved Content Library – Firms that create a robust library of pre-approved content over a broad range of topics – retirement planning, college savings, Social Security strategies – can solve their advisors' problem of finding compliant content for their social media needs.

Pre-Approved Scenario Content – This is a subset of the previous option. Here, a firm creates a library of content approved by the compliance department based on various customer scenarios – complaints, a tech or service issue, or even compliments. A firm could easily have as many as 30 tweets or updates that could apply toward different scenarios. The goal is to have pre-approved content that can be used in real-time so the conversation continues without a pause or interruption.

Event-Related – You could also develop content for upcoming events. If your CEO is speaking at a national conference, you could write material in advance that's related to the subject he's covering, and have your compliance people look it over.

■ Company Profiles – If your company has a presence on Facebook or LinkedIn representing your brand or products and services, updates there could also be pre-approved.

Since advisors who write their own content appear to be more successful in engagement, however, let's consider the subject of firms that seek to make that happen.

A NEXT STEP: EDUCATION

Companies are now beginning to move to education and training to teach advisors and others about how to best utilize social media. This also includes ways to frame content and share it through the different social media. For example, firms that provide pre-approved content may still need to educate advisors on other aspects of preparing social media content, such as how to properly create status updates for their various social networks.

Education should include all employees, whether they're posting on behalf of the company or not. It should cover the purpose of using social media, the firm's approach and policy, governance, privacy considerations, and risks at different employee levels from CEO to manager.

Those employees executing the firm's social media efforts require more detailed training that should generally cover:

Social Media Best Practices – Using social media to build a relationship rather than a tool to advertise.

Dos and Don'ts of Social Media – Sample content and appropriate and inappropriate behaviors.

Personal versus Business – The differences between personal and professional accounts, content, and representations.

Oversight – This includes spot-checking and perhaps regular meetings at which the compliance officer would share examples from the archives of content. The discussion should cover what was questionable and why, and the suggested modification.

Internal Governance – Identify key stakeholders and the process for modifying the firm's social media policy, plus related education.

Writing is often seen as a solitary exercise; indeed, the feeling of isolation it sometimes engenders can make the use of pre-approved content all the more tempting. In the end, however, managing content for the best results on social media is really a collaboration between the firm and the advisor. The company that helps its staff master social Web skills creates an environment where both sides benefit.

 
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