Because social media is all about interesting content and individuals earning followers, authenticity is of utmost importance.
So when Morgan Stanley announced that the firm was offering our 16,000 financial advisors "pre-approved content," many skeptics questioned how "canned" messages were going to play out in the social space. This was so anti-social, they argued. It may seem that way on the surface, but there are actually some benefits to having pre-approved content.
There are three key reasons why having a content library is actually a competitive advantage:
1. FIRM INSIGHTS
Morgan Stanley has talented researchers and wealth management and retirement experts internally. The firm produces many pieces of content weekly and shares that content with our clients and prospects in various forms already -- both print and digital. We view social media as yet another way to share this content, so creating pre-approved messages that accompany this material is a logical and efficient way to manage it.
2. MORE EFFICIENT
Financial advisors at the core are money and relationship managers. They are not bloggers, and the majority aren't experts at social media. If we didn't provide this content library, they would need to spend a portion of their day looking for interesting content to share. Given the market volatility and the need to manage their clients' portfolios, having a content library is a much more effective use of an advisors time and produces well-thought-out, interesting content which is at the core of an effective social media presence.
3. MORE EFFECTIVE
Finally, the content itself is more effective. Library messages get four times more engagement on the social networks, as measured by actions like "likes," re-tweets or comments. I would argue that this is a byproduct of the first two points.
So all in all, pre-approved content has its advantages. It is best paired with the ability of advisors to send their own messages that get reviewed before being posted, which Morgan Stanley advisors can do on LinkedIn (not currently on Twitter).
We've also expanded our content library to include a more diverse set of subjects, including intra-day capital markets, top news from Reuters, and messages from the lifestyle magazines Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, Golf and Departures. Our goal is to provide our financial advisors with the most interesting and engaging content to share over social media and be as authentic as possible in doing so while still meeting regulatory requirements.
Lauren Boyman leads the digital strategy for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, the first major wirehouse to allow advisors to use social media in a compliant way. She is responsible for client web and mobile, as well as advisor mobile and social media programs. Follow her on Twitter, @LBoymanMS.