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4 compliance tips for leveraging YouTube to grow your business

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We’ve all seen the stats that VIDEO is what people want to see. They are so prevalent that at some point you have probably thought about making your own videos to post on YouTube and embed on your website. However, in the financial services industry, there is a “right” and “wrong” way to use YouTube. 

The right way is to address the compliance issues and concerns up-front. Any other approach may land you in the proverbial doghouse with your Compliance Officer and potentially lead to fines for marketing violations. To help you navigate this confusing compliance landscape and make the most of your video efforts on YouTube, follow these few guidelines.

1. Understand the rules of engagement.

First and foremost, contact your Compliance Officer at your broker dealer to ensure you understand your BD’s social media compliance guidelines and confirm that you are approved to use YouTube. Ask them what is expected of you for video compliance submissions.  Each BD’s response may vary. If you haven’t done so already, understand FINRA’s guidelines on the use of social media marketing. 


2. Don’t wing it in front of the camera.

Since most of us probably lack the charisma to get in front of a camera and just dazzle the audience without fumbling our words, it is recommended that you carefully plan out your video. What do I mean by creating a plan? Write a script! I know, it’s easier said than done, but writing a script will help you create structure around what you are trying to accomplish with the video and ensure that you are achieving your goal. Next, submit your script to compliance. This may expedite the process of review after you shoot the video and minimize the risk of having to re-shoot or edit the video due to future compliance changes.

s3. Leverage the power of your words.

I understand the purpose of creating video is to appeal to everyone’s sense of entertainment and learning style; however, not all audiences are created equal. For this reason, some advisors post their script alongside their video. Why? It helps appeal to multiple learning styles of the audience (as I explain in my recent post, Leveraging the power of media diversity for your business). Additionally, from a compliance standpoint, it actually serves as written clarification for your audience of what was said in the video, minimizing the risk of someone potentially misinterpreting your words. 


4. Turn off comment functionality on your YouTube channel.

Since most broker dealers don’t allow it, I recommend that you turn off the comment functionality on your YouTube channel.  You can do so by going into your account settings.

For great examples of how to effectively use video for your business, check out the websites of Jeff Rose, CFP ( and Dave Grant, CFP (  Both advisors have found creative ways to showcase their personalities in their video and resonate with their audiences while remaining compliant. They are proof that it can be done. When will you take the next step toward building compliant and engaging videos for your business?

For more from Todd Greider, see:

Image: Stage crew workers prepare the set for a keynote speech by YouTube at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)