How to use social media for investor relations

Introduction: If it’s just social not-working for you 

Social media’s wide influence on the world of investor relations is fairly new. Suddenly, there’s more than one place you can post new releases, investor presentations, and company updates, and there’s also a set of rules. The sheer overwhelm when it comes to social media can cause many public companies, IRO’s, and professionals to shy away from it all together. But what’s important to remember is that social media is just another form of communication. It’s a way to reach out to those in your network or those investors you’re hoping to get to know. Even though it may sometimes feel like a steep uphill climb, here’s some easy tips to help get you thinking and get you started when it comes to social media for investor relations.

Social media is just one part of your online presence. Download our eBook on 9 tips to improving investor communication with your website.


Using social media for investor relations

Tip 1: Know your cashtag

using social media for investor relations tip 1

No, we didn’t make a typo while trying to write the word hashtag. A ‘cashtag’ is a real thing, and although many people might be familiar with seeing them on Twitter, you may not really understand what they’re about. A cashtag is your ticker symbol with a $ in front of it and, just like your ticker symbol, your cashtag is completely unique to you. (Examples: $SBUX for Starbucks, $TWTR for Twitter). Search your unique cashtag on Twitter to see all the conversations going on specifically about your company in the IR world. To get even more specific, try checking out StockTwits. PR Newswire writes “StockTwits and Twitter are different. Keep that in mind as you review your cashtag streams. Think of StockTwits as a monitored sub-culture of stock-nerds from Twitter”. While Twitter includes every cashtag, StockTwits “automatically filters out pennystocks from the discussion stream and…members have identified themselves as ‘market participants'”.



Tip 2: Imagery and links go together like peanut butter and chocolate 

using social media for investor relations tip 2

Sometimes the key for effectively using social media for investor relations and getting more engagement is about adding a little something to catch someone’s eye. When posting content to platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, add an image to the post to give it a little more umpf. Sometimes the platform will generate an image for you from the link you’re posting, but if a preview image isn’t automatically supplied, consider uploading one yourself. Here’s a great example from our friends at NIRI. The Facebook post announcing their next IPO Focus Group is enhanced with a separate image also highlighting the event.


Tip 3: Formatting is fun

using social media for investor relations tip 3

Here’s another simple tip that you can take advantage of as soon as you finish reading this article. Stay looking clean and professional on your social media channels by having the appropriate formatting when it comes to company logos/banners/cover photos on your profile pages. Without the right sizing, your logo could come across blurry, stretched, or even partly cut off. The guys over at Constant Contact made a handy social media formatting guide. Effective social media for investor relations strategy means coming across as clean and professional on all social channels.



Tip 4: Take advantage of the real-time aspect

using social media for investor relations tip 4

Social media conversations are a million a minute, and if someone’s not liking something you’re putting out there, you’ll certainly hear about it on social media first. The growing presence of social media for investor relations is prompting public companies to always be on top of their game and to stay transparent. It’s no longer an excuse to not be updated. The social media consulting company TalkWalker writes that social media can be a good place to “take the opportunity to react in real time to user comments about you key events, such as the publication of your annual reports, or other corporate actions…this will give you the chance to reduce any message misalignments and the opportunity to encourage brand endorsement”. Now this doesn’t mean responding to every Negative Nelly. This tip is more about keeping a finger on the pulse of your industry’s conversation. Having a spontaneous flow of information can be spun to a company’s advantage. Use it to always be informed of what’s being said, and if any sort of crisis communications becomes necessary, having an understanding of the chatter of the masses really goes a long way. For a good example of how this worked for Starbucks, check this out.




using social media for investor relations tip 5

This tip is going to be short and sweet. Do not capitalize an entire news release announcement when posting it to social media. Trust us, you’ll turn some people off if EVERYTHING IS ANNOUNCED like you’re screaming . If you really want to add some capitalization when announcing important company info, try it this way:

NEWS RELEASE: This just in, capitalization of entire news releases can lead to major frustration.



Tip 6: Make use of Twitter lists 

using social media for investor relations tip 6

Twitter lists are a great tool to organize your followers (or potentials) into public or private lists. Hootsuite writes about why you should make Twitter lists: “the beauty of Twitter is that it is very transparent. You can create lists of people you find influential in your industry or thought leaders within your own company. These lists can be a way to show off your employees or network of awesome followers”.

When you add someone new to a list, say you’ve called it ‘Industry Influencers,’ they will get a notification that you have added them. This is a great, transparent way to get a conversation going with potential clients, investors, or just people you’d like to get to know. Hootsuite writes, “this is a great way to increase your visibility with Twitter users who you do not follow”. The ‘private list’ option can also be useful, as it’s a great way to monitor clients and competitors.

Want more Twitter specific tips? We’ve done lots of research. Read our blog post about how to use Twitter for IR. Have some more time? We’ve also written an eBook on the subject.



Tip 7: Publish original content: If blogs are too scary, start with LinkedIn publisher 

using social media for investor relations tip 7

If you haven’t heard much about LinkedIn publisher by now, you should get on it. Yes, a blog is the most obvious way to share content to people in your community, but blog upkeep takes a lot of work. If you’re not there yet, think about LinkedIn publisher. Most all the people you’re trying to reach in the investment community or otherwise are probably on LinkedIn. With LinkedIn publisher, any member can write and circulate their own content. This is a great way to start establishing your company as industry influencers. Forbes writes that LinkedIn publisher gives members an opportunity “to showcase their expertise…and distribute quality content to their networks”.

LinkedIn publisher means you get to start off with a more specific audience. Blog posts tend to get lost in the hazy stratosphere of content creation, but publishing content to LinkedIn guarantees more targeted eyes. Forbes says “many professionals have no control over where their content is published or which audience it reaches. With LinkedIn, your content will at least reach your network and could reach other distribution channels”.



Using social media for investor relations: takeaway list

Get all that? It’s okay if you skimmed, just make sure to remember this:

1. Know your company $cashtag and make use of it (StockTwits is different, but handy).

2. Add images to your links.

3. Make sure all social media posts and images are properly formatted.

4. Use the real-time aspect of social media to keep a finger on the pulse of your industry.

5. Do NOT capitalize everything.

6. Look into Twitter lists of influencers, competitors, and investors, and make your own lists.

7. Start publishing your own content.

9 tips to improve investor communication with your website

Companies move towards brand authenticity in their marketing tactics

“It’s all about being authentic and unapologetic.”

These were the words of Arby’s fast food chain CMO and brand president Rob Lynch after Arby’s launched this very unexpected end-of-the-year ad. According to The Wall Street Journal online, ‘In early October, Pepsi reached out to Arby’s with a friendly reminder: You need to include us in one more ad this year. The problem was that Arby’s already had its end-of-the-year creative ready to go-and it didn’t include Pepsi”. Arby’s admitted that they just plain forgot.

Public company transparency is mandated, we know, but it’s important to remember to not only be transparent with your investors, but also authentic. Take a cue from the three videos below when thinking about being authentic to the interested parties in your company.



Arby’s creative partners (after a “directive from [the CMO] to ‘make him uncomfortable'”) decided that honesty was the best policy on the air as well as off. And people are loving it. The ad only premiered in Minneapolis, New York, and Los Angeles markets, but since then it has both gone viral online and done wonders for the chain’s digital marketing success.

Adweek calls Arby’s upfront and apologetic ad, ‘another gem from a growing vein of meta ads that poke fun at the marketing process, peeling back the curtain and inviting savvy consumers to take part in the joke’. The most successful of these gems is the infamous 2014 Superbowl ad that never was from Newcastle Brown Ale. Adweek writes that Newcastle knew they could never air a Superbowl ad, since they had ‘ a media budget for the whole year equal to about half the $4 million price tag for 30 seconds of airtime on the broadcast.” So they decided to be honest about their status.  Newcastle created an online marketing and ad campaign called “If We Made It” that ended up “crash[ing] the biggest advertising showcase of the year with refreshingly honest and hilarious online content”.
Watch actress Anna Kendrick rip into Newcastle and tell them to ‘suck it’ in the most popular ad of the campaign:

MediaPost online gives possible reasons as to why more companies are now ‘getting meta’ with their advertising and marketing process (and getting big successes from it too.) “It’s based on the understanding among marketers that social media has atomized marketing–everyone is a marketer now, really, at least to some extent, even if that medium is one’s Facebook page”.

The Canadian telecommunications company Telus has tapped into this ‘honest social media vein.’ They knew that a scathing Facebook review or angry Tweet against their company may very well be seen by hundreds. Instead of ignoring the inevitable complaints, Telus brought the angry tweets to the people in a new online segment on their YouTube channel. The company smartly turns the complaints into a strength at the end of the spot, showing that they don’t hide criticisms, but they’re doing better and now have less complaints against them.

Companies that have discovered a healthy sense of self-deprecation and a ‘joke’s on us’ attitude are getting people listening. MediaPost writes, “meta-ads…work by commenting on themselves, on how they target the target by playing on stereotypes about the target; by being exhibitionist about their social-media strategy…in some cases affecting an ironic, jaded tone is effective”.

Bloomberg Businessweek also applauds the Arby’s ‘Oops, we’re sorry Pepsi’ commercial for their “no bullshit approach”. The man behind the refreshing Arby’s ad talks about what he calls “brand authenticity” and how more and more companies are “slowly catching on.”

This tactic won’t work for everyone, as Bloomberg also states. If every company tried this meta, brand-authentic approach, “shoe companies would have to tell you that wearing their sneakers won’t make you an athlete, and most beauty products would be out of luck entirely…but as long as most companies still pretend that their products will make you happier…a straightforward pitch for drinking Pepsi at Arby’s will grab your attention.”

This internet bank turns customer concern into a marketing tool

Nordnet wants to be your new internet banking buddy. Last week the online banking company, operating out of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland, cleverly addressed in a series of comedic ads a big concern of today’s banking customers: the lack of bank transparency and the hesitation (as Nordnet shrewdly puts it) ‘to trust complete strangers on the internet with all your savings.’ Their new ‘transparent banking’ ads blend meta-humor with a brilliant ‘anti-marketing marketing tactic’ that’s getting a lot of attention. Agbeat writes how, ‘transparency is an abused buzzword in the public and private sector, and we barely even pay attention to the promise anymore, but Nordnet wanted to stand out and prove themselves’.

When it comes to public companies, transparent is less of a cutsey marketing tactic and more of a mandated element. But Nordnet can still teach pubcos a lesson here. The bank knew that their target market’s main concern when it came to banking was selecting a bank that would be honest with them and work with them when it came to effectively managing their money. To poke fun at this worry and to stand out from the crowd, Nordnet focused their commercials directly at the customer concern. As a public company, whether in times of crisis or trying to win new investors, addressing the public’s concerns head on and without being asked can really be an effective investor marketing tool.


Check out this actor in the Nordnet commercial ‘hav[ing] a cup of coffee with another actor’ he’s ‘never met before’.


This next one is aptly titled, ‘Trust random people on the internet with all of your savings.

They’ve released four commercials in total, and all are getting great responses online. In addressing consumer concerns head-on, Nordnet establishes an immediate connection and trust with potential clients. While the actor on-screen jokes about transparency, Nordnet’s really saying, ‘Don’t worry, we get it. And we’re different.’ Though the buddy system seems a smart move, AGbeat takes a look at the downside of such promises: “The anti-marketing marketing tactic can work well, but of course, it does set the expectation that a company be completely transparent from head to toe, which is a tall order for a financial institution”.

Nordnet’s ‘transparent banking’ campaign comments on an important element for public and private companies alike. Transparency in marketing and IR communications could win more votes in the long run, and it’s important to ask the question of whether or not it’s more beneficial to immediately address a widespread concern within a company or industry before it causes harm. In Nordnet’s case, they took banking’s lack of transparency and made their ads so transparent that the actor reads straight from scripts and talks about the teleprompter. This clever way to spin an issue into their own expertise is what causes the campaign to stick in the brain.