If you’re like me, on just about any given workday, you receive LinkedIn messages from colleagues in your social network. Maybe they’re congratulating you on a promotion or reaching a significant work anniversary. And maybe you return their messages with some positive messaging of your own.

But what if those LinkedIn messages take a more sales-driven turn, and you and your colleague start talking about a business opportunity? Can you be sure that your communication complies with government regulations?

Changing landscape. The tricky part of social-media compliance is that the digital space changes so quickly. Even the SEC acknowledges the ever-shifting landscape as the use of social media by the financial services industry accelerates. This certainly is the case with LinkedIn, which is the most popular social-media site among advisors.

First, check with your company’s compliance officer to determine if your firm has an explicit policy limiting third-party use, including messages on LinkedIn. Second, my experience shows that many people in the advisory industry want to use LinkedIn’s messaging tool to communicate with both clients and prospects. Yet the SEC requires advisors keep records of communications between themselves and their clients. So the best way to capture those third-party communications is via a digital platform.

Socially compliant platforms. Nowadays, there’s no shortage of products to help you stay compliant, including:

Smarsh

Actiance

Erado

Global Relay

Hearsay Social

Socialware

These vendors participate in LinkedIn’s SEC- and FINRA-compliant Certified Compliance Partners program, which is designed to remove barriers to social-media adoption by advisors.

As for LinkedIn messages sent between you and clients and prospects, don’t worry. These archiving vendors capture LinkedIn posts, video and status updates as well as messages.

LinkedIn messaging can be a very useful prospecting and client communication tool. So don’t let compliance scare you away. Know what your compliance department recommends and start utilizing this platform as soon as possible.

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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.