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Three social media rules for bankers

Editor's note: This article first appeared on our Singapore site but applies here as well.

Social media has become increasingly pervasive in people’s lives and work. It has become quite convenient now to post resumes online and source for jobs.

Bankers, for the most part, are quite reticent on social media Web sites as it counteracts the conservative image of the industry. Things could be changing though. This week, Morgan Stanley allowed 17,000 of its financial advisors to use Web sites like Twitter.

Risky business

Still, due caution needs to be exercised when going online. ”Experienced bankers don’t usually build their career image via social media, but more on real market accomplishments," says Fabrice Isnard, manager of Banking and Financial Services division at Robert Walters Shanghai. "Unfortunately, if this is not managed properly, social media can tarnish your image and affect your career. Besides, it requires significant amount of time to stay current and entails risks that can tarnish one’s reputation.”

Despite the potential downside, having an online profile seems to have become an irrevocable trend, so it is advisable to have at least one career-related profile online. Isnard says, “Social media can be a powerful tool to spread your career image and increase the awareness of your accomplishments to other peers. It is cost-effective, usually free and offers global coverage.”

Katrina Khan, manager of Morgan Mckinley Financial Services Shanghai, adds, “On a personal level, having an active presence on relevant social media sites can help raise candidates’ profiles, set them apart from the competition and expose them to new professional opportunities, information sharing, networking and potential future jobs.”

Rule 1: Don’t look desperate

Declaring that you are “looking for a job” on your profile might decrease your chances of being contacted because it can sound desperate. Also, you are not looking for just any job, but one that will fulfill your requirements. Isnard says, “I would recommend developing the content and career description more to increase the chances of appearing in a search.”

Rule 2: Be discreet

Exercising discretion in information sharing is a must. Khan says bankers should be very aware of company policy concerning the personal usage of social media, especially when mentioning employer names. “By using the company’s name, they become an unofficial representative of the company and must ensure their online conduct – messages, photos and videos – fits in with their employer’s requirements,” says Khan.

She says social media generally doesn’t fit in well with the external communication policies of most banks. “Therefore, uptake is likely to remain relatively limited in the banking profession.”

Rule 3: Privacy settings exist, so use them

Privacy leakage is another potential threat to both bankers and firms. “Any personal social media profile should have correct privacy settings included so that information can only be accessed by those it is meant for. It’s advisable to avoid posting very personal material such as photos and family information and to avoid any mention of work or issues in the office,” adds Khan.

If you want to share information or participate in a discussion, Khan advises: “Try posting information that has already been publicly communicated such as news announcements or reports published, interesting articles read or research carried out in a particular sector of the market.”

AUTHORJing Yan Insider Comment

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