Analysis

Fintok and finfluencers go mainstream but don’t let your brand see red

George Rogers

The emergence of ‘fintok’ (financial TikTok) and the ‘finfluencer’ (financial influencer) in 2021 has led financial services providers to weigh the role of TikTok in their brand communications. Communicators are now facing a new set of challenges with a platform too big to dismiss but experiencing its own issues in the personal finance space.

A quick scroll on fintok and it’s easy to see why this latest trend is appealing to brands, consumers, and finfluencers alike. Tugging at the heart and purse strings of viewers, we see bitcoin experts explaining new coins; money coaches revealing the importance of multiple income streams; even renovation gurus gaining views and followers with their top tips to save for a home. While the cynics may dismiss fintok as another fad, there is no doubt that this content resonates.

Personal finance has traditionally been seen as a dry subject with brands and influencers battling to command the attention of consumers and achieve cut-through. In turn, traditional financial bloggers have always struggled to achieve the engagement that finfluencers can now accrue on platforms like TikTok. As consumers tussle with the information overload of everyday life, TikTok is captivating many with visually engaging content. Within fintok, this is no different with viewers receiving their personal finance fix in only 60-seconds from people audiences identify with.

Numbering over half a billion views, #fintok moves into 2022 as one of the most informative and active corners of the platform. Engaging a historically hard to reach audience of primarily gen-z and millennial viewers, finfluencers are moulding the next generation’s financial views. For brands, this raw affinity between easily digestible finfluencer content and digitally enabled audiences presents opportunities to brand communicators. However, challenges for this young platform and those looking to benefit from this trend remain.

In the investing space where #investing has 4.2 billion views on TikTok, social media figures share trading knowledge with their young following on the platform. Research from Hargreaves Lansdown found that over half (56%) of 18–34-year-olds investors get ideas from social media channels including TikTok. However, many finfluencers are unqualified and underplay the risks involved with investing. It is easy to see why some refer to fintok as the ‘Wild West’ with scams, “get rich quick” schemes, and misleading viral videos on the rise. Now, regulators including the Financial Conduct Authority and Advertising Standards Authority are applying more scrutiny to this pandemic phenomena.

For brands looking to communicate via fintok, protecting consumers should be central to any promotions or content. Capturing the inclusivity and buzz around financial conversation is important but this comes hand in hand with ensuring that content is subject to the highest standards of vetting and compliance. Equally, bad advice will be remembered by consumers and leave your brand going viral for the wrong reasons. Financial services firms need to facilitate a more inclusive conversation around money and TikTok is a vehicle to achieve this. However, content needs to be positioned correctly with the appropriate influencer talent and tone of voice.

2022 will no doubt turbocharge fintok’s growth as finfluencers grow their voice on the platform and people look for quick and easy guidance from fintok. The problem is financial affairs are rarely quick and easy. Personal finances are often complex and fragile; something a 60-second video will always struggle to fully cover. Money matters more and more, the opportunity is there to be seized for a brand that understands its contribution to fintok and makes a name for itself by elevating financial discourse.