Dealers should be sharing insights into F&I and steer away from posting and tweeting finance deals in order to both engage consumers and reflect the spirit of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), according to Simon Ryan, managing director of Social Advisors, a digital marketing agency.
Ryan will speak extensively on the role of social media in promoting F&I to consumers whilst at the same time complying with FCA rules at AM’s first Finance and Insurance Compliance Conference which takes place at the Oxford Belfry on 18th November.
He said: “F&I has always been a scary topic and even more so since the arrival of the FCA simply because businesses fear falling foul of the law.
“It is often just easier to steer away from the subject matter entirely but by embracing the field and exploring the topic in a more general sense, businesses are likely to better reflect the FCA’s ethos as consumers are provided with the information they need in a non-biased way.”
Most dealers accept broadcasting finance offers via social media does not engage consumers whilst the succinct nature of posts and tweets can increase the likelihood of such promotions failing to meet FCA standards since it is practically impossible to contain all the necessary information in such a small space.
However, blog posts or sharing snippits of information via Twitter and other social channels can increase engagement in F&I and enable dealers to stake their virtual claim in an arena which has yet to be saturated with content.
“We all know content is king,” continued Ryan. “Yet businesses are reluctant to grabble with the very topic in which consumers are genuinely interested in knowing more.
“With the majority of vehicles funded by finance and with products such as PCPs driving the new car registration success, consumers will be looking for information providing dealers with an ideal opportunity to educate, share and engage.
It is a question of having the confidence to write and post knowledgably and in a compliant fashion.
There is a genuine opportunity for automotive retailers to steal the content high ground and establish themselves as both experts and consumer champions in the F&I arena.”
Even the FCA noted some firms were being overly cautious in their approach to online communications and has provided social media guidance to help clarify the classification of content as ‘regulated advice’, ‘generic advice’ or ‘personal recommendation’.
The FCA’s statement that ‘general advice about financial planning is generic advice and is not regulated’ should in itself ease concerns and encourage the use of social to stimulate interest and understanding of F&I.
However, Ryan added a word of caution: “There is a genuine opportunity to engage consumers in F&I via social media and blog posts as long as it adds value to their decision making process. Dealers can ensure the interests of the consumer remain at the heart of every piece of content produced while still generating new business opportunities.”