With Twitter, just as with other social-media sites, it’s important to remember those SEC and FINRA regulations. Here are 5 best practices for staying compliant while getting the most out of Twitter:

   1.    Don’t wing it, but do develop a social-media Twitter policy. You should make a social-media policy for every platform you use to ensure you stay compliant. Determine ahead of time which employees will participate on Twitter, along with your best practices and etiquette. You should not only clearly outline the types of content suitable for tweeting but also establish guidelines for connecting with other users and responding to comments.

   2.    Don’t tweet whatever comes to mind, but do make a schedule. You want not only to send tweets that are compliant but also to tweet engaging content which provides value for your followers. To ensure that the words you’re sending out into the Twitter-sphere do both of these things, create a content calendar. Making a schedule of exactly what questions you’re asking, what links you’re sharing and when you’ll share them will help ensure you stay on top of your Twitter policy. 

   3.    Don’t be disorganized, but do archive everything. While not every tweet needs to be submitted to FINRA, you’re still required to archive all communication on social networks. Once you have your editorial calendar, you’re one step closer to archiving. There are many archiving platforms allowing you to upload your calendar, schedule content and monitor outgoing and incoming communication. Archiving is a must for staying compliant.

   4.    Don’t have one-sided conversations, but do engage with other users. The whole point of establishing a Twitter presence is to grow your network and build new relationships. In order to do so, you must do more than simply tweet; you must interact with other users. Target specific people or interests and re-tweet and comment on anything you find interesting. When connecting with other users, refer to your social-media policy to choose content and comments that are both acceptable and that follow your strategy. 

   5.    Don’t be shy, but do promote yourself. It’s okay to talk about yourself. Go ahead and promote your firm’s products and services (as long as you don’t mention anything about investment merits or your ability to manage money.) Provide links to your website and add images or videos. 

Twitter provides enormous potential to grow your business, and FINRA has recognized that financial services should be able to take advantage of it. If you put the right tools and guidelines in place, staying compliant while using Twitter is a lot easier than you think.

Please note: This article is for information purposes only. We strongly encourage you to verify content with your compliance department.

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Amy McIlwain is a professional speaker on social media and President of Financial Social Media, an online marketing firm specializing in the financial industry. She can be reached through her website www.financialsocialmedia.com and on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.