Can financial regulators fine You because of your social media? - Guest Editorial - FinanceFeeds

Can financial regulators fine You because of your social media? – Guest Editorial

Charlotte Day is Creative Director at leading electronic trading industry content marketing agency Contentworks. If you work in the finance…

Charlotte Day is Creative Director at leading electronic trading industry content marketing agency Contentworks.

If you work in the finance sector, you’ve got to be well-armoured. Heading out into the social media battlefield is no easy ride, but if you want to go head-to-head with competitors and stand out from the crowd, it’s an absolute must. Financial service providers are increasingly embracing digital trends, but as you navigate the online marketing world we ask – can financial regulators fine you because of your social media strategy? The answer’s a big fat yes!

The Finance Sector and Social Media Marketing

Despite coming late to the social media party, many companies are now using social platforms. A survey of over 400 million social posts revealed some interesting stats about the financial sector with Twitter being the go-to platform for communicating with followers in 2017 – closely followed by Facebook and trailed by LinkedIn and Instagram.

Of course, recent crypto/ICO ad bans on numerous social media channels including Twitter and Facebook have made it increasingly challenging for financial marketers looking to advertise their services, but that doesn’t mean social media is a no-go – far from it.

There are still many things you can do online to engage your audience, but remember compliance comes first, so what should you look out for? And how can you avoid a financial penalty?

Social Media Challenges: Know the Rules

Managing social media for financial services has inherent challenges, but knowing the rules will make the whole process so much simpler. Here’s what you should know.


  • Compliance and regulation


When it comes to compliance, you can’t run and you certainly can’t hide. Regulators bodies like CySEC, the FCA and FSA don’t mess around and keep a beady eye on social media activities. Making promises or guarantees, for example could land you in hot water and with fines running into millions it’s essential to implement a compliant content marketing strategy that the whole company understands. To do this, you should:

  • Do your research – there’s plenty of information out there including this FSA guide which addresses important issues such as how to add risk warnings to short tweets and how to display JPEGs. Feed this information to your team and come up with business practices that will keep you out of trouble such as building up a gallery of compliance-approved images.
  • Be careful – if there’s any doubt in your mind about the compliance of a particular marketing message – don’t post it or check with your company lawyer. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Have a social team – employing social media professionals who know the ins and outs of financial compliance could save you time and money in the long run. While the nature of social media is fast-paced, it’s worth having a sign-off process which involves two people giving social content the thumbs up. This won’t take long and is an extra safety step.



  • Bring Your own device (BYOD) and compliance


Within the financial services sphere, many employees bring their own devices to work. This is all well and good but as Sheelagh Howett, Chief Risk Officer at Cantella & Co.,Inc. said at the 2017 FINRA Annual Conference last May: “the content of the communication determines whether or not it’s a business communication, not the actual device being used.”

So, if you send a business-related tweet or Instagram post from a personal mobile device, the same compliance concerns apply as they would if you were sending them via an office desktop or another corporate provided device.

To help avoid BYOD compliance issues, you should:

  • Educate employees make sure everyone in your company understands compliance laws and prevent anyone from posting to social media unless they have permission and the content has been double checked and approved.

On a similar note, firms must be able to keep and supervise business communications – regardless of the channel. Therefore it’s really important to use platforms where communication history can be easily tracked and to know who in the company is interacting with consumers and from what device. Retaining text messages and WhatsApp chats, for example can prove technologically challenging as they’re easily deleted, so be aware of the risks in that aspect.


  • Product visualisation


Let’s face it; the financial sector can be rather dull at times and that’s largely down to compliance restricting creativity. Product visualisation in the online marketing world is extremely challenging. Why? Well because we are not allowed to show any images which give the impression of instant wealth, openly invite people to invest, make investment look easy or trivialise the risk factor.

Bringing your company to life and adding interest to your brand may be tricky, but it is entirely possible through clever techniques such as influencer marketing.

Here’s an example from Chase Bank:

Chase QuickPay: Stephen Curry V Serena Williams

While promoting Chase QuickPay – technology that allows customers to pay and receive money in real-time – Chase Bank called on the help of professional basketball player Stephen Curry and world-famous tennis champion Serena Williams to film an epic ad for their brand. During the commercial, the duo enjoyed an epic ping pong match which resulted in office carnage – but there was no need to worry as Chase had the QuickPay app on his phone to pay for the damage.

The campaign ad featured a social media teaser inviting the audience to choose between #TeamStephen and #TeamSerena. The teaser content accumulated over 2 million views on Facebook and Instagram.

Takeaways from the ad:

  1. Use influencer marketing to elevate your brand if possible.
  2. Create an interactive social media campaign that keeps people engaged.
  3. Utilise multiple social platforms to increase outreach.
  4. Avoid falling into the ‘boring’ trap – there are many ways to spice up your brand.
  5. Remember the basic rules of compliance to avoid a regulatory fine – remember, don’t make guarantees or promises and avoid making investment look easy.

The Contentworks team is fully clued up on all the latest rules and regulations and our packages are specifically tailored to brokers and banks.

The subject matter and the content of this article are solely the views of the author. FinanceFeeds does not bear any legal responsibility for the content of this article and they do not reflect the viewpoint of FinanceFeeds or its editorial staff.

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