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Banking on social success

Digital Services

Social media is now an accepted part of customer interaction for the UK’s retail banks.  Take Twitter, for example – the top 10 retail banks have an average of about 20,000 followers each and 40,000 tweets posted.  There is wide variation within this – for example the most followed bank has 14 times more followers than the least.  The total number of tweets for this group of banks is over 500,000.  No wonder the FCA has recently issued guidance consultation on financial promotions in social media. The guidance is intended to help clarify existing rules, and so help firms to overcome problems in meeting them. The FCA’s own press release on the consultation can be found here.
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The guidance has been created for those businesses in the regulated community using, or wanting to use social media for communications with customers.  For example, the press release says that each social communication should be considered individually and comply with the rules on a stand alone basis.  The regulator has instigated a hashtag (#smfca) for those wishing to discuss the publication on Twitter.  The FCA does not want to limit use of social media, in fact it says that providing it is used in a customer focused and responsible way, social media can be used to enhance competition, eg by making it easier for consumers to switch providers.

The guidance is not by any means limited to Twitter but also includes other forms such as blogs/forums, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and image sharing platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Vine and Pinterest.

Some of the points raised include:

  • Promotions for investment products should be readily identifiable as such eg by the use of the #ad hashtag.
  • It encourages banks to consider the appropriateness of space or time limited media, eg Twitter (140 characters) and Vine (6 second videos).  Image advertising is one way of dealing with these constraints.
  • Being a follower on Twitter does not necessarily constitute an established client relationship and therefore social media should be considered within the context of the FCA’s cold calling rules.
  • Communications should be fair, clear and not mis-leading even if they end up in front of a non-intended recipient (eg through sharing) and it suggests businesses use appropriate methods to target particular groups precisely.
  • Targeted consumer testing is encouraged.

If you would like more information about tailored social network audiences, please contact me directly paul.kennedy@callcreditgroup.com.

Author: Paul Kennedy

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