You’ve grown your firm and are trying to stay on top of social media even though a new platform seems to pop up weekly. In a rapidly evolving digital realm, you want to emphasize your reliability by sharing all of the great things your clients have to say about you, but it can be easy to make a misstep. Good news! We’re here to make the ins and outs of the latest SEC regulations feel less like a maze and more like a straight shot to strengthening your image.
A personal touch goes a long way in establishing reliability (no bots here, thank you!). Share the names of your loud and proud clients, along with photos where applicable.
No need to reinvent the wheel. Letting your clients tell others how much they love you in their own words gives your business an authentic stamp of approval.
COI (Center of Influence) Comments
COIs are established, trusted authorities. Piggyback off their brand reputations by including what they have to say about you.
There’s no shame in a humble brag. You’ve worked hard for recognition, so don’t bury your wins!
DON’T SLEEP ON DISCLOSURES
Clarify Whether the Testimonial Is From a Client or 3rd Party
Disclosures give the full picture, but that doesn’t mean you need to take to a podium. A simple indication of who is doing the talking reassures clients that you’re not trying to pull a fast one.
Include Material Conflicts
If there’s the possibility of bias, being the first to point it out lets your clients know that they can relax because you’re already on it. You can even take the opportunity to add a bit of personality: “‘Kalli Collective is my FAVORITE digital marketing company!’ – Clementine, resident pup and a very good girl indeed.”
WHERE TO SHARE
If It’s Static Content, You’re Good To Go.
Testimonials belong anywhere that your content appears in the same way to all users. Think websites, brochures, banners, signs, case studies, and newsletters. A good rule of thumb is to ask whether or not data is being collected from the audience. If the answer is no, you can (and should!) add testimonials.
DO NOT PASS GO
RIA legislation prohibits any publication, circulation, or distribution of advertisements (“advertisement” being defined as a public statement to more than one individual). Under SEC regulations, LinkedIn recommendations fall into this category, putting them solidly in the “avoid” column.
Facebook Ratings and Reviews
Nope out of there for the same reasons as listed above.
Testimonials Based on Performance
Most are not allowed, and the exceptions are highly specific (involving things like net performance disclosures and performance results for specific time periods). Play it safe and steer clear of these.
3rd Party Business Listings
This includes sites like Google, Yelp, and Angi (formerly Angie’s list). Unless you’re providing disclosures and meeting particular criteria, these are no’s.
Any Engagement With Social Media Comments
We know it’s easy to get, err, “entangled” in the comments section, whether you’re responding to positive or negative sentiment. However, posting a testimonial in direct communication with an individual is also considered advertising, which makes this a no-go.
Related: The Social Selling Benchmark: How Do You Measure Up?