The finance sector is governed by a host of rules and regulations such as MiFIDII which are ultimately designed to eliminate scams and make the industry a safer and more transparent environment. That said; ICOs and cryptocurrencies have been somewhat overlooked by regulatory bodies across the world who are now grappling to prevent fake accounts, scam crypto exchanges and other malpractices from threatening legitimate tokens and business ideas.
Social media channels – the latest financial services regulator?
While there are no unanimous crypto guidelines monitoring global crypto activity, advertising giants such as Facebook, Google and Twitter are clamping down on financial services promoting unfair or misleading products that may be harmful to the consumer.
There has been a lot of news circulating about this and rightly so as it seems social media channels are becoming the latest financial services regulator. The recent policy updates have made crypto marketing a minefield and while the reasons behind the ad bans are clear, knowing what you can and can’t do to launch an ICO can be particularly tricky – but it’s not all doom and gloom. Indeed, the regulation changes are designed to keep you, your clients and your business safe – it’s just a case of navigating your way through all that red tape (in a lawful and professional way, of course).
With this in mind, here’s how to successfully launch your ICO online with the help of a network-by-network breakdown and some handy content marketing advice.
Facebook: An ‘Intentionally Broad’ Policy
Social media giant Facebook were the first to announce their new policy prohibiting ads that ‘promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency.’ This means that even if your ICO is legal and legitimate you will not be able to promote it on this platform. The rules apply not only to Facebook’s core ads platform, but also in other places where Facebook sells ads such as Instagram and its ad network.
Facebook Product Management Director, Rob Leathern, said:
“This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices, and enforcement will begin to ramp up across our platforms including Facebook, Audience Network and Instagram.”
What you can’t do
- Say what you want
Throwing a load of rules our way is one thing but thankfully Facebook has also provided some true to life examples of things you shouldn’t be saying.
- Ignore the rules
If you ignore the rules, there’s a high chance your Facebook account/s will get blocked – and getting them unblocked is a timely and frustrating process, so don’t take the risk.
What you can do:
When it comes to navigating Facebook blogs there are still things you can do, such as:
- Producing great content
Over half a billion people watch video content on Facebook every single day, so it’s well worth investing in shareable video content with a well-written script. Facebook Live is also a good idea and as great content can include graphs, pictures and infographics it’s important to rise above the restrictions and put your creative marketing hat on.
Whatever you decide – be compliant. The idea is to draw attention to your business without being too specific about your ICO launch or using buzzwords that could get you in trouble.
Also, remember that Facebook is a social site – so generate content that’s easy to pass around friends and family.
- Embracing the art of storytelling
Marketing financial services doesn’t have to be dull or boring. By embracing the art of storytelling you can humanise your brand and create an emotional experience that resonates with your consumers. So, instead of shouting about your new crypto token, how about creating a video of how your company was formed or live streaming a video from the office – anything that will promote your business without focussing attention on ICO terms?
- Keeping an eye on developments
Facebook has specifically said they “will revisit” their revised policy as they work out exactly how to handle crypto/ICO ads on their platform and eliminate fraud.
Takeaway: Content is king. There’s plenty you can do to stand out from the crowd without specifically talking about ‘banned’ products or using crypto-related keywords that will be picked up.
So how else can content rescue your ICO launch efforts? Let’s delve deeper into the policies of other social platforms and look at content marketing solutions.
Shortly after Google announced that it had removed 3.2 billion ‘bad ads’ in 2017, the search engine giant issued an update to its advertising policy page banning crypto and ICO ads. In a similar move to Facebook, Google also made it clear that come June, all related content such as crypto exchanges, crypto wallets and crypto trading advice will be prohibited from its ad platforms alongside binary options and synonymous products.
Google Ad Executive Scott Spencer said in an interview with CNBC:
“We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies … but we’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution.”
YouTube is owned by Alphabet Inc (AKA Google). It therefore makes sense that recently policy updates will affect YouTube ads as well as those placed on third-party sites via the company’s ad platforms. That said; ICO-related video content has not been banned on YouTube – yet. So, this popular social media channel can still be used as a marketing forum.
Since Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey replied: “We are on it” to a tweet complaining about crypto/ICO-related scams it’s been assumed that Twitter will follow suit and make similar policy changes to Facebook and Google. The site is now reportedly preparing to revamp its regulations placing a ban on crypto and ICO ads as well as references to token sales, crypto wallets and crypto exchanges. At the time of writing there had been no official confirmation of the policy change but there’s likely to be in due course.
Content marketing – More Top Tips
When launching an ICO, obeying the rules is an absolute must and while not being compliant is a big no-no; high-quality content can save the day once again.
- Focus on press releases
With a well written press release you can generate buzz around your ICO launch and increase engagement – just be sure to address your target audience.
Top tip: Think about your outreach and focus on distribution channels that will get more eyes on your PR material.
- Produce blogs with well-placed keywords
Blogging is a tried and tested marketing technique. It’s a great way to talk about the USPs of your ICO, increase brand awareness and drive traffic back to your webpage. Be sure to make use of well-sourced keywords as this will improve your search rankings for specific topics.
Top tip: Always write for your audience and don’t cram in keywords for the sake of it. Your content should be SEO friendly without sounding clunky or awkward.
- Embrace LinkedIn thought leadership
If you’re looking to spread the word about your ICO project, LinkedIn is ideal for placing professionally-written content that people will want to read. While the content you produce doesn’t necessarily have to be directly about your ICO it should contain a link back to your ICO page.
Top tip: Be an industry thought leader; someone people go to for useful information and advice. The more followers who look out for your work on LinkedIn, the more eyes you’ll get on your ICO launch.
- Create a pitch deck and white paper
Both are essential for an ICO launch and both require high-quality content – after all, a pitch deck and white paper are marketing tools that introduce your business concept in a bid to attract investors. They’re extremely important and should be completely on brand.
Top tip: Slow down and ensure you’ve included all essential information. Use relevant facts and statistics where necessary.
- Think about clever Google ad placement
As discussed, Google will ban crypto ads, so it’s important to get a little clever and come up with different marketing angles. Instead of talking about your ICO directly, perhaps create content around the evolution of the blockchain or other topics that haven’t been blacklisted.
Top tip: Keep up-to-date with all the latest crypto/ICO news. The last thing you want to do is violate rules and regulations without knowing.
Launching an ICO online with the help of social media is not as straightforward as it used to be but with exceptional content and innovative marketing ideas, you can get around many of the ICO ad bans and generate a buzz around your business concept.