It’s quite easy to say this topic is coming about due to the political stress and duress many are experiencing in America today. However, I assure you my concern has much more to do with your personal brand as a financial service professional than anything else. Before you hit “share” again, please take a moment to consider this bit of reputational marketing advice.
First, the set-up…
You open your Facebook or LinkedIn and you see a message about something or someone you don’t care for and you hit “share” as a way to give your opinion, express your concern, or even just to be funny. No harm in that, right? It’s your page and you can do with it as you damn well please! No matter what I say after this, please know this is still your right, but I want to offer a thought.
What if what you are sharing isn’t…the truth?
There’s actually a lot of harm in this, but I’m only going to be specific to you, the financial service professional, and what happens. I’m a firm believer in reputational marketing best practices and as an advisor, I think you should question every single piece of content to be sure it’s accurate to the best of your ability.
Whether you are a registered rep or not, when we work in the financial services sector we have layers of direct and indirect due diligence to consumers when it comes to being ethical. Not to say someone doesn’t understand ethics, but this means we agree to relate to moral principles in our dealings. One of the greatest moral principles in business is delivering factual claims. This includes the content we share.
Additionally, part of that promise is to provide fair and balanced responses and I urge the community to understand how this relates to the content you share either directly through a published post or indirectly by “liking” a comment or post. In a day and age of fake news items, fact-checking has quickly become a daily topic.
Specific to your practice, consumers want to know you can keep your cool and stick to just the facts when it comes to business. (As an example, it’s why the topic of a FinServ professional’s title as a financial advisor, financial planner, wealth manager, etc. matters to the consumer, their trust, and needs possible further clarification.) Regardless how chummy you are with a client, inevitably they want you to share real information and provide diplomatic opinions on matters which affect them…not you. Opinions are not facts, but when given with discretion and context they are then fair and balanced and can be digested.
…but I’m human and I want my clients to know this.
This response means so much to me and I want financial service professionals to be human but hear me out. I know politics can make all of us nutty no matter which side we fall on. I know people do things which make you crazy and you want to talk about the craziness. However, you are putting yourself and your business in a situation of reputational risk when you don’t fact-check your content which includes articles and your opinions on matters which are not verifiable. It’s really important to consider this in your social media marketing plan.
Be a person of action – Your long-term reputation and business growth depend on positive sentiment. This is how we receive referrals, additional business opportunities, etc. Do you have a plan of action in your social media marketing strategy to make sure what you are sharing is factual? Are you aggregating content from trusted news sources? As a very good friend of mine, Shadi Ziaei, recently shared with her followers, maybe a good measure is to ask yourself, “What will I do with who I am?”