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Opinion: Financial promotions on social media must have all the facts, car dealers are warned

Sponsored post: First Response digital marketer Richard Pygott sounds the alarm about a Financial Conduct Authority consultation

Time 9:00 am, December 11, 2023

I like to keep myself up to date on what’s happening in the motor trade, especially when it comes to all things regulatory related.

Earlier this year, I read a consultation paper published by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) called ‘Financial promotions on social media’.

Over the past few years, I’ve observed that when the FCA releases consultations like this, it typically signals upcoming rules it will implement.

I strongly suggest taking proactive steps to develop positive habits around your financial promotions now, so you won’t be caught off guard when the FCA does introduce these as new regulations.

I can fully appreciate time is in short supply when it comes to running a dealership, but I have found in my day job that having a thorough sign-off process for any social media promotions is vital.

When I post on social media for First Response Finance, I always ask myself, ‘Am I promoting advice around a financial product?’, ‘Has the advert been reviewed and fully signed off by someone else?’ and ‘Does my advert follow the Advertising Standards Agency rules?’.

Having a thorough checklist to go through before posting any online adverts can play a crucial role in guaranteeing that all your financial promotions give customers the information they need and comply with the FCA’s expectations.

Doing so can also reduce the risk of you posting non-compliant adverts and even stop minor errors such as grammar mistakes appearing in your adverts.

I would also recommend that in your sign-off process when it comes to promoting any finance offers, check that your online advertising is fair, clear, not misleading and gives customers all the facts they need to make informed decisions.

This is even more important now that Consumer Duty has come into play.

In addition, I’ve found it really helpful to keep a record of my online adverts in a Word document or spreadsheet.

This not only provides a useful archive for potential audits but also allows me to track their performance effectively, and if the FCA ever comes knocking, I have a paper trail I can easily refer to and give to it.

While the FCA doesn’t always directly relate to all aspects of the motor trade, it really does pay to stay in the know about its stance on social media.

It has recognised the power of platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and X (formerly known as Twitter) in financial services.

Therefore, my best advice would be to stay informed about the regulator’s regulations and current focus area and maintain a thorough sign-off process for all your online advertising.

If you would like to discuss any of this with me further, feel free to drop me a message on LinkedIn.

This column appears in the current edition of Car Dealer – issue 189 – along with news, reviews, features and more! Read and download it for FREE here.

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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