The Financial Conduct Authority guidelines released in March were an attempt to delineate the parameters that dictate what firms operating in financial services can communicate to consumers through social media.
But after much ambiguity surrounding a number of key points, have the FCA now made it clearer, or have the seemingly restrictive regulations discouraged some within the financial industry from partaking in social media activity altogether?
We can certainly see why firms might feel as though they are treading along the compliance tightrope. Social media is inherently a free-flowing and informal outlet for financial firms to engage with consumers, which is both part of its overall attraction and also the reason why many might lose themselves in the FCA’s regulatory labyrinth. Posts, tweets and updates can often – sometimes unintentionally – portray a misleading message which can create an expectation in the mind of a consumer that is unfair, unclear and misleading. In a nutshell: any social media post that is inducing consumers to buy or invest is required to have the necessary associated risk warnings.
Whilst this seems all well and good from a consumer perspective, for businesses the reality of complying with these guidelines means that creating content consumers will want to interact with has become even more challenging. It’s clear that financial promotions don’t perform particularly well in the social sphere in terms of engagement; for the most part, social media audiences respond to either entertaining or educational content. Furthermore, considering the effort that’s required to comply with these guidelines, it may be no surprise that firms choose to refrain from engaging in social media that’s been moulded into such an unattractive prospect for the financial industry.
However tentative the regulations have made your social presence, here at Dusted we have gained invaluable experience working with B2B clients, a number of which are subject to these rules. Whilst there’s no escaping the difficulties that regulation has created, we believe in finding solutions to problems by developing not only tailored social media strategies that adhere to the rules and FCA policy, but by ensuring that the content is all-round awesome too.
Pictures or infographics like the above, are possible ways to adhere to the regulations on character limited platforms such as Twitter. In addition, they are much less likely to present difficulties since they can include all the necessary information needed to be compliant whilst remaining an attractive proposition to potential consumers. As you can see, the example contains the necessary compliance information so not to mislead consumers, while not infringing on the message.
So maybe it does make sense, after all. You wouldn’t go into a supermarket and see an offer for 12 doughnuts for £1 and not expect a message on the packaging explaining how they should be consumed as part of a healthy balanced lifestyle.
You still want the doughnuts though right? We like doughnuts too.
- Digital Marketing.