Blogs, microblogs such as Twitter, social and professional networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn, forums and image and video-sharing platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, are just a few social media channels offering free ways for you to reach out to your clients.
Determining which form of social media to use from this plethora of choice will largely be dictated by the nature and purpose of the message that is intended, says Michael Ruck, senior associate for law firm Pinsent Masons.
It may be for instance that the form of social media is determined by the length of the message as each of these methods impose varying character limits or the specific audience the adviser is seeking to contact, he says.
Jay Naylor, head of marketing at Personal Touch Financial Services, says Facebook lends itself to financial promotions better than Twitter, as sufficient space is given to provide sufficient warning disclosure.
Each post must be treated as an individual promotion and where required, Mr Naylor says risk warnings should be entered.
He says it is worth noting, where client testimonials are used, at Personal Touch these must be submitted to the financial promotions department along with the client authority for use, unless the testimonial is written by the client directly to the social media page.
LinkedIn is probably the best place to start when trying to build your social media profile, according to Sue McLean, technology and outsourcing lawyer at international law firm Morrison & Foerster.
She says many investors will undertake internet research before making investment decisions and the same goes for selecting their financial advisers. Ms McLean says LinkedIn, as a professional social media forum, is increasingly being used as a contact book and professional profile in one.
After your website, Ms McLean says LinkedIn may be the first port of call for potential clients who want to learn more about you and your credentials. If you don’t have a profile, she says you may be discounted straightaway.
From the perspective of the firm, she says whatever form of social media is used it is important to have a social media policy and related training in place to ensure advisers use social media appropriately and comply with all appropriate legal and regulatory requirements.
Moreover, Ms McLean says given the rate of change, firms need to regularly review their social media policies and training to ensure they take into account emerging best practice and the latest regulatory guidance.
Ms McLean says firms also need to consider carefully the question of ownership of any social media accounts. She says disputes can arise between employers and employees over the ownership of Twitter or LinkedIn accounts that are used for business purposes.
Ideally, Ms McLean says the firm’s social media policy should establish a process or protocol for opening and maintaining company-related social media accounts, to minimise any ownership disputes in the future.
Richard Ardron, marketing director of SimplyBiz Group, says advisers should also remember the social media channels they use today should not necessarily be the only ones they use forever.