Guide to Social Media Archiving for Advisors
For some industries like financial advisors, social media archiving can be challenging. What content can you use, and what are the legal ramifications? Find out in this post.
Advisors can build trust with their customers and demonstrate their expertise by engaging with them directly through social media and publishing on a frequent basis.
However, social media advertising, like other forms of marketing, raises regulatory issues including archiving.
In this article, we’ll discuss how advisers may make the most of social media while still meeting all of their legal obligations.
What are the legal requirements for social media archiving?
The most important thing to remember when making content for social media is that it is advertising, and as such, it is subject to the same regulations as any other type of advertising. You shouldn’t share anything on social media if you wouldn’t share it on your website or in promotional materials.
Despite the uniformity of the standards, there is often a gray area in their implementation. Since social media marketing is still relatively novel, authorities have had difficulty applying existing laws in a way that makes sense for the medium.
The SEC finally issued the long-awaited Investment Adviser Marketing Rule in late 2020.
The regulation was amended to account for the growing trend of customers providing feedback in the form of online reviews and recommendations, and to allow advisers to take advantage of this growing market.
According to this rule, if the testimony has been paid for or there are any potential conflicts of interest, that information should be revealed to the audience.
The SEC’s new rules are more in line with FINRA’s, which also let businesses use testimonials so long as they reveal whether or not the person giving the endorsement was paid.
Another thing to keep in mind is that social media advertising is no different from traditional advertising in terms of the need to retain records. Records of advisor advertising are required by both the SEC and FINRA. The implication is that advisers must develop social media archiving strategies and follow them.
What are the consequences of non-compliance?
Advisors who fail to archive their social media content may face legal consequences.
Although it’s clear that everyone is required to be compliant with the rules, advisors who aren’t in compliance face no uniform penalties.
The results of an audit or examination by the SEC might go either way. The auditor in charge of your examination may choose to make an example out of you by fining you significantly, or they may simply issue a deficiency, which carries no repercussions.
However, it’s simply not worth the risk to take the latter chance when there are easy preventative measures to take instead.
Maintaining compliance is always preferable, regardless of the stakes. While most advisors do their best to look out for their customers, strict regulations are necessary due to the small minority of unscrupulous players. Regulating the industry is unfortunate, but essential to prevent the few unscrupulous actors from harming their customers.
What should be archived?
Similar to how they should archive their website and correspondence, advisors should also archive their social media posts.
The term “social media,” however, encompasses a wide variety of online communities and means of expression. It’s important to know what records advisors should keep.
Keep in mind that whatever you share on social media might be considered an advertisement, and as such, should be documented.
Additionally, advisors should remember that not only social media postings but also comments are part of their advertising and should be archived.
How to archive social media?
In order to keep everything organized and up to date, advisors should use social media archiving software.
Social media archiving platforms are convenient, as they automatically archive all social media postings, comments, retweets, etc. in one place.
This means that advisors no longer need to manually navigate their social media feeds to find posts from years ago.
Additionally, social media archiving platforms make it very easy to produce reports of what has been archived, as well as produce reports with specified date ranges, accounts, and phrases.
This way, advisors can keep track of their compliance and audit their social media archives.
Social media archiving platforms also keep a history of everything an advisor has shared on social media, which provides evidence that their social media content was compliant.
What are the benefits of social media archiving?
Of course, archiving social media content is necessary to keep advisors compliant with regulations, but there are a few additional benefits of social media archiving.
If you employ social media archiving software, your compliance and legal teams will have an easy way to respond to e-discovery requests and utilize the platform as an e-discovery solution. Legal hold can be automated, a full audit trail may be viewed, and data validity can be shown in court with ease.
Additionally, you may use social media archiving tools to keep an eye on your company’s official social media channels, ensuring that your staff and the general public are adhering to your social media rules and best practices.
Advisors who are serious about archiving their social media content should invest in social media archiving software.
This will allow them to keep track of what materials they have shared on social media, as well as produce detailed reports with specified date ranges.
Advisors who fail to keep records of their content risk both regulatory sanctions and lawsuits from customers. While there are no guarantees, properly archiving your social media accounts is a good way of staying compliant with the law.