Doing it for the likes: Advertisements using social media

As credit unions continue to find different ways to reach new members, their use of social media continues to increase. The NAFCU compliance team occasionally gets questions on the requirements for using social media to advertise products and services. Today’s post is a roundup of the key issues related to advertising on social media.

As a research starting point, credit unions may find it helpful to review the FFIEC’s social media guidance. For purposes of the guidance, “social media” is “a form of interactive online communication in which users can generate and share content through text, images, audio, and/or video.” This includes platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, YouTube and LinkedIn. The guidance was written in 2013 and the FFIEC understood that new technologies could develop in the future, so it pointed out that credit unions may need to assess these new technologies and determine whether they fit within the definition of social media. If a credit union determines that the platform it uses is considered “social media,” then the considerations in the guidance, and those discussed below, will apply. Credit unions may also want to research state law for any additional requirements relating to social media.

NCUA’s Official Advertising Statement

One of the common questions the compliance team gets is whether the official advertising statement required under section 740.5 can be provided one-click away for social media advertisements. Unfortunately, the answer is no. While other advertising rules clearly allow certain disclosures to be provided one-click away, the NCUA’s rule does not. NCUA recently considered comments on how to make the official advertising statement more social media friendly but ultimately decided against amendments to the rule. The official advertising statement must be displayed in social media advertisements in the same manner as for any other advertisement. Given the character constraints of many social media platforms, many credit unions opt to use the “Insured by NCUA” version of the official advertising statement. However, don’t forget about the many exceptions that might apply.


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