As finfluencers start filling up people’s social media feeds, is what they’re saying too good to be true? Here are the key pitfalls that employees should watch out for – and what employers can do to help reduce the risk of misinformation.
You’ve heard of social media influencers. But have you heard of ‘finfluencers’?
These are – you guessed it – financial influencers who share financial advice, usually in bitesize content and videos to grab people’s interest. They might share information on anything from budgeting and savings tips to promoting investment products and cryptocurrency. And millions are logging into social media platforms like TikTok every day to consume this content and get their financial advice fix.
Finfluencers have been gaining in popularity over the past few years, especially amongst younger audiences. In fact, the FCA reports that 58% of under 40s who have invested in high-risk investment products say their decision was based on hype on social media and the news. Not only that, 62% of those aged 18-29 follow finfluencers online and 74% say they trust their advice.
Are people placing their trust in the wrong hands?
Just how trusting should people really be of unqualified strangers who are sharing financial advice - and who in some cases are being paid to promote specific financial products?
The fact is, anyone can set themselves up to be a finfluencer on social media. You don’t need to be regulated, or have any financial knowledge, experience, or skills. This means a finfluencer could say just about anything they want.
This is obviously cause for concern, so much so that the FCA has released new guidance to help clamp down on finfluencers - and help improve the way financial products are promoted on social media.
But what can people do in their day-to-day lives to avoid the potential pitfalls of following finfluencers’ advice? Knowing what to look out for is a great first step - here are a few rules that could help employees sort fact from fiction:
Finfluencer checklist: What your employees should watch out for
- Be questioning: Employees should always question what they’re watching. Popular videos with thousands or even millions of views or likes don’t necessarily contain good or accurate advice – so they should take everything with a large pinch of salt.
- Do independent research: Employees shouldn’t take what they see at face value and rely solely on what a finfluencer is telling them. It’s always best to check that the information stacks up, so they should do their own independent research and cross-reference with regulated advice.
- Be wary of ‘get rich quick schemes’: These could be scams in disguise, especially if it’s promising high returns for little risk. Remember: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
- Get the facts from regulated firms: They’re legally required to treat customers fairly and provide information that’s clear, fair and not misleading.
How employers can help cut through the finfluencer noise
If you’re worried that your employees are being fooled by finfluencers, there’s loads you can do to help:
Raise awareness of the risksLet employees know what to watch out for when consuming finfluencer content. A handy checklist that outlines the risks could help employees stop and think before they follow financial advice from a finfluencer. Promote this across your internal communications and send regular reminders to keep it fresh in employees’ minds.
Our free Ready to Go campaign materials can help you get started with an internal communications strategy – and help make it simpler to raise awareness across your entire workforce.
Promote trustworthy tips and toolsOne of the reasons why employees may be drawn to finfluencer content is that it’s digestible and accessible. The major downside is that, unlike regulated financial advice, it could be misleading or inaccurate.
So it’s important to point employees towards financial content that’s both regulated and easy to understand. That way, they can feel safe in the knowledge that they’re getting legitimate information in a way that suits them.
If you have a workplace pension scheme with Standard Life, your employees can access trustworthy content through Money Mindset. Our digital platform includes tips and tools to help them create budgets, set savings goals, and get personalised nudges on how to make the most of their money.
Signpost to credible contentHelp turn employees away from social media for their financial advice and towards credible content that’s designed to be clear, balanced, and puts their needs first.
Free and impartial services like Money Helper and Pension Wise are a great starting point, so signpost employees to these in your internal communications.
Money Mindset also includes loads of bitesize financial education content and videos to help employees learn more about finances.