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How Can We Use YouTube?

Before the birth of the Internet and social media, there was an elusive barrier between those who were on television and radio, and those who were not. In fact, the barrier was so profound that it elevated those on television and radio to a certain stardom. Without such access to the media, it was unlikely that you'd generate a robust and committed following.

With the development of social media, however, there is no longer a barrier between the bleachers and the playing field. With a mere video recorder, camera, or even cellphone, you can upload videos to your very own YouTube channel in a matter of seconds. This simple ability has transformed the way that we, as a global community, communicate. It's quite remarkable, for it has increased democratization and established a unique space for people, businesses, and organizations to spread their messages.

YouTube is a platform for original content creators and people all across the globe to connect, inform, and inspire others via short videos.

I'm sure you're wondering – So what? As a financial professional, how can I use this platform for my business? What type of videos would I upload? How can I stay compliant?

Why should you be on YouTube?

■ More than I billion unique users log onto YouTube each month.

■ More than 6 billion hours of YouTube videos are watched every month.

■ More content is uploaded to YouTube in a 60-day period than the three major U.S. television networks created in 60 years.

■ Sixty percent of boomers and 40 percent of seniors say watching online video on sites like YouTube has become an important part of their day.

■ Seventy-five percent of boomers and 68 percent of seniors report taking some sort of action after viewing a video.

■ Forty-one percent of seniors were encouraged by an online video to share a link of the video with someone.

Does the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allow financial companies to use YouTube for marketing?

Yes, of course. But just like other social media platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, there are guidelines. It all comes back to the static versus dynamic content conversation. Static content includes your advisor website and social media profiles (not the feed). Videos can also be considered static content since they are a singular event that is unchanging. Static content needs to be approved by your compliance department before publishing it.

Most social media activity is considered dynamic content, as it is unscripted and usually involves some type of real-time interaction. Any communication that can be commented on is usually considered dynamic also. This type of content does not require pre-approval, but it does need to be archived. As you can see, YouTube is in somewhat of a gray area because it's both a video and part of a social media platform.

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