How to Use Social Media to Amplify Your IR Efforts
2 December 2020
By Vanessa Hartung
Social media has become a vital part of increasing the reach and impact of investor communications. For IR teams, it is an invaluable tool for sharing your company’s achievements, communicating financial information, and showcasing your management’s vision — not to mention, increasing traffic to your investor relations website and earnings calls.
Social media can be particularly helpful to small and mid-cap companies who often struggle to reach investors through traditional formats. At a minimum, your team should be posting event dates and links to earnings press releases, investor day information, and registration links to drive stakeholder participation. If your team has the bandwidth, your team can consider incorporating tweets into the actual earnings cadence to encourage engagement with your company’s story.
Amplifying your IR efforts with social:
Social provides an additional channel for distributing your content and message. These platforms can help increase the impact of your IR efforts and reach more investors. There are approximately 330 million global Twitter users alone (nearly the population of the U.S.). And while they’re not all your target investors, that doesn’t mean they can’t share your posts to extend your reach. Use these best practices to gain more visibility and stand out from the crowd.
- Develop a distinct social media identity for IR, separate from the corporate profile that focuses on product and customer service. Keeping these pages separate helps ensure that content is relevant for followers of each page, and makes it easy for specific audiences to find what they want.
- Leverage hashtags and tagging to help posts show up in the right feeds. Taking it one step further, some also leverage their company’s ‘cashtag’ (a corporation’s ticker symbol preceded by a dollar sign) — to direct their social audience to relevant conversations, while monitoring what people are saying about the brand, detect patterns in sentiment, and react quickly when necessary.
- Use social channels to showcase news and updates, drive event attendance, reference execution against key objectives and metrics, and engagement with press releases, earnings call scripts, and other relevant information.
A social media visionary on all fronts, Twitter’s IR team does this all better than most. The team ensures their stakeholders and investors can easily find them on social media by integrating live feeds of their social channels on their IR website. They also mention their Twitter handle and cashtag in the opening remarks of their earnings call, to encourage Q&As and a two-way conversation on multiple channels. In fact, they’ll invite participants to Tweet questions @TwitterIR using the #TWTR, brilliantly demonstrating the power of their own platform for engagement.
How to Connect with Investors on Social:
Social etiquette dictates that the sooner you respond to social comments, the better. A quick response gives you the opportunity to control the conversation before any other weigh in. This level of public transparency and engagement helps to build trust. Providing another channel for potential investors to see and engage with your company also increases the likelihood of finding the right investors, but it’s important to approach this channel strategically.
- Define your policy, process and goals to ensure you’re meeting disclosure rules, designating appropriate and effective social media spokespeople, and establishing a clear cut process for approving content before it’s published.
- Make a commitment to transparency and work to be proactive about worst-case scenarios, establishing practical crisis management plans.
- Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring success with goals that include increasing visibility, transparency and brand awareness.
- Craft your content strategy, closely considering which social platforms are the best fit for achieving your IR goals.
- Integrate your IR social feed directly into your IR website to make them easy to find and encourage engagement.
- Work to create compelling, succinct content, coordinating social posts with scheduled press releases, earnings calls and investor conferences. Make references to the key metrics and information of most interest to investors, and try to include quotes from and link back to press releases, earnings call scripts and other previously disclosed information.
- Leverage graphics, video and other media to emphasize key updates and achievements and facilitate engagement. Get creative and try experimenting with multiple media to see which kind of content resonates most and distinguish you from your peers.
- Be sure that your social content is in sync with your company’s brand guidelines and aligns with all of your target audiences, messaging, and overall tone.
Understanding the Value of Each Social Channel:
Every social channel serves a different purpose, and the style of your content should reflect that.
LinkedIn, as the world’s largest professional network, is one of the best suited social platforms for IR, with approximately 99% of Fortune 500 companies on the platform. With a large, highly educated user-base, this LinkedIn is best leveraged for sharing corporate content such as slide presentations, blog posts, thought leadership, and market updates.
With 96% of the Fortune 500 companies actively using Twitter, it has proven to be a platform in which companies should focus their social media efforts. It’s ability to facilitate real-time updates, makes the social platform a highly valuable channel, especially during earning announcements and for sharing your most up-to-date news.
On the other hand, while 95% of the Fortune 500 are represented on the platform, Facebook is better left for consumer and culture-focused content (as opposed to financial or investment information).
While slightly fewer F500 companies have a YouTube account (90%), it has been ranked among the top destinations for domestic and global web traffic. With more than 1 billion users, and more than half of those users utilizing YouTube from a mobile device, having a YouTube presence can provide an ideal destination for your video content, which has the potential to significantly increase investor engagement.
- Make it a priority to respond to questions in a timely and diplomatic way to ease concerns, mitigate negative impacts, and maintain investor confidence.
- Tools such as Hootsuite, HubSpot, and Tweetdeck can help monitor activity across platforms and most have built-in page analytics offering insights that can highlight which content is performing well to inform your ongoing strategy.
- Observe the social media accounts of your competitors as a low-cost and easy way to learn how they’re engaging investors, gauge their shareholder reactions, and gain insights on what may be on the horizon for your industry and your company.
- Leverage social channels as a tool for increasing the reach and impact of investor communications, as well as nurturing a strong rapport with shareholders. Social can help increase traffic to your corporate and IR websites and may even play a critical role in crisis management.
- Embrace social as a regular (often daily) part of the IR routine of connecting with investors and elevating your ever-evolving brand story.
Social media’s ability to help IROs expand the reach of their efforts, open an additional channel for investors to connect with the company, and gain insight on competitors is undeniable. With 98% of investors report using digital sources to conduct research, building a strong presence across all digital channels is critical to reaching investors. To learn more about how Twitter leverages social to amplify their IR efforts, click here.