IR Resolutions for 2017

When it comes to resolutions for the New Year, we all have various personal and professional goals that we are seeking to accomplish. Whether it’s a personal goal that will work to make you a stronger leader in your workplace or community, or a professional goal, like creating and launching an optimized online IR strategy for your company, this is time of the year when we are ready to get started on our New Year Resolutions. And if IR Resolutions are what you’re making, this blog is for you.

We’re excited about what is to come in IR for 2017. So excited, in fact, that we’ve compiled the IR resolutions that you need to know about now for this New Year. With a compilation of trends and insights we’re ready to see unfold, you’ll want to bookmark this blog and review in the upcoming quarters.

Here are the IR Resolutions for 2017 you need to know now.

 

Review and determine if your website needs a refresh.

39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load, so it’s time to ask yourself – does your website need a refresh? Furthermore, given 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds of people would rather read something well designed than something plain, and a bore to view.

Given the fact that visitors to your website are unlikely to spend 15 minutes on any given page, you have a limited amount of time to make an impression on your IR visitors.

In 2017, it’s time to review and determine if your website needs a refresh.

 

Video is King.

We’ve spoken about this at length, but 2017 is the year when it truly comes into play

59 percent of executives admit that they would rather watch video than read text, which means that your IR decision makers are looking for video content in the New Year. It should be an integral part of your website’s infrastructure, and can no longer be considered an addition to your IR strategy.

Integrate video content on your home page, your company’s about us page, your contact page and more. Ensure it is engaging content – and short! Aim for a video length of 0:30 to one minute in length.

IR Resolutions Video

 

Do you need to update your CSR strategy?

Although we have seen a great number of companies who have an understanding of how CSR can impact their IR strategy, showcasing your efforts will soon be the norm. CSR has been more of a trend seen in the European and Asia-Pacific regions, but 2017 will be the year that it becomes increasingly relevant in North America.

With this in mind, it’s time to review your CSR strategy and online presence in this New Year. Ask yourself – does the CSR section of my website accurately reflect our internal efforts?

 

Use social media to tell your story.

Although you very likely have presence online, and perhaps even use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram every single day, this is the time to review how you are telling your company’s story through social media. 62 percent of adults in the United States get their news on social networks, which is up from 49 percent in 2012. It’s clear that this trend will only continue in 2017.

As you are making company announcements or CSR initiates in this New Year, consider how social media can compliment your strategy.

 

From a website refresh to video, CSR to social media, your IR resolutions for 2017 range in topic, but will all play a significant impact on your business within this New Year. Take time this month to review your strategies currently in place, and consider the benefits of making optimizations now.

8 Digital Marketing Predictions for 2016

Introduction:

Happy 2016! We’re fresh and ready and excited to be back. We’re kicking off a year of great content with some digital marketing predictions for the next 12 months and letting you know what those will mean for your company’s own 2016 strategy and planning. We wrote a similar post at the beginning of 2015, where we talked about mobile, social media, and content marketing. A year later it seems many businesses have adopted many of these strategies and platforms, but how will 2016 tweak and transform them?

 

1. A mobile-driven world

As we’re sure you know by now from our Mobilegeddon campaign mid-2015, Google released a mobile-friendly update that boosted the search rankings of mobile-friendly sites. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s hard to find on Google. The Google developer blog also released a statistic reporting that 94% of people in the US with smartphones search for local information on their phones.

2016 will see an even bigger reliance on mobile, and arguably will complete our transformation to a mobile-first world. Newer developments and trends such as app indexing, where your app information shows up in search results, and social media and video advertising taking over the mobile space will push our smartphones further into our hands and into the forefront of marketers’ minds.

 

2. Focus on personalization

Relevance is the word of the hour (or should we say the year?). With website users seeing thousands of pieces of content daily, it’s not just about thinking what they’ll relate to, but what they’ll IMMEDIATELY relate to and want to click. Some of the digital tools out there nowadays take out all the guesswork and easily allow companies and marketers to create in-depth audience insights by and tagging specific interests. The importance of personalization online will also lead to the rise of personalized marketing (also referred to as targeted marketing and one-on-one marketing). This form of marketing usually done through automation, makes a unique product offering to each customer.

 

Video marketing: sticking around and expanding

80% of all internet traffic will be video by 2019. (Source). I feel like we can just drop that statistic and end there. But I won’t.

This year, it’s not enough to create and promote a video ad on social media. Brands have gotten the hang of that already. (Seriously, have you taken a look at your Facebook feed lately? I’m looking at mine on my phone right now, and see a video ad for Wendy’s Gouda Bacon Cheeseburger, a Marvel sponsored ad about Netflix’s Jessica Jones, and a Universal Pictures trailer for the newest Tina Fey movie. All within a single swipe).

Video isn’t going away, and it will just get bigger. The ads will be even more prevalent than they are now, especially the ones “under-the-15-second sweet spot, long enough to convey a message but short enough to hold a user’s attention”(business2community). Just like app indexing, video ads are going to start showing up in Google search results more frequently in 2016. Seeing a trend?

 

Marketing automation

Staying ahead of the digital marketing game in 2016 means understanding marketing automation and experimenting with it. As social media expert Jeff Bullas writes, “human intuition and creativity is being enhanced by data”. Instead of randomly firing off a few marketing campaigns on social media and otherwise throughout the year, companies and marketers are now getting more strategic and more targeted with their messages. With billions of mobile moments happening each day, 2016 looks like the time to allow marketing robots to take over and expertly rapid fire your message out to the right people. You just won’t have the bandwidth to keep up with those companies going full robot.

Digital tools out there such as Hubspot, Marketo, and SimplyCast use their own algorithms to deliver email and social media campaigns, decide the best time to interact with users, and maximize the effectiveness of any other paid digital advertising campaigns. Looking into marketing automation is especially useful if you’re a smaller company trying to expand your reach and maximize your dollars.

 

5. Content Collaboration

User-generated content (or crowd-funded content) is on the up-and-up. We went to a great social media event at the end of last year with a panel of Vancouver experts in marketing and social media. The Global Marketing Director at Herschel Supply Co. Mikey Scott had a lot to say about how user-generated content promotes the Herschel brand. “The dream situation is when we can get users to create content for us…if we have product photos on Instagram, they’re from real users sending the photos to us. None of our #welltravelled photos to date are paid”. In speaking of the ‘well travelled campaign’, Scott refers to the company’s well-populated Instagram account that is “65-70% user generated”. “That’s how people get involved”, he said. “They didn’t even know they were marketing. There is a little thing about recognition that makes people want to help and do things for you”. 

As a company, think of ways to expand your content reach beyond just the daily blog post or company newsletter. Speak to your readers about generating content, look into relationship and influencer marketing (another big 2016 trend), and really reach people in the places they visit and read every day. Then offer to have them write about it!

 

Trusting data, not your gut

This goes hand in hand with marketing automation and how digital tools are now able to tell you everything from who’s looking at your site, to where they’re coming from, to what they’re into, to the next time they decide to come back. Phew. The sheer volume of data about your marketing campaigns, your customers, and your target audience is so great that most companies turn to other agencies who are experts at sifting through the info and figuring out what’s working best. One of the beautiful things about all the metrics being made available to us in 2016 is that companies no longer have to guess at what’s working with their digital marketing strategy and what’s falling short.

Getting all this big data is useless, however, if companies aren’t using what they know to make better decisions. The real prediction for this point should be: 2016, the year of the constant tweaking. Online metrics should be checked weekly, if not daily, and companies need to be making changes based on what converts better.

 

Finding your social network niche

When customers are spreading their time evenly amongst Facebook, Twitter, email, LinkedIn, Instagram, text message, Snapchat, Periscope, Meerkat (you get what we mean), it’s more important than ever this coming year to be able to talk to them on the channel of their choosing. Instead of spreading yourselves thin and posting everywhere, conserving resources and focusing in on where your target audience hangs out will be crucial in the New Year. Although social media automation like Hootsuite helps with this, what’s the use of maintaining a dedicated Pinterest account when you’re looking to target 50+ year old investors?

On the other side of that, however, are companies that are focusing their marketing efforts on newer, less saturated social networks such as Snapchat and Periscope when old faithfuls like Facebook and Twitter are getting too crowded for comfort. Understanding where your company operates best, whether it’s ‘in with the new’ or the tried and true, will be beneficial for you moving forward.

 

Moving beyond the listicle

Ironic, we know, as you’re reading this in a listicle post. (Hey, we’re only five days into 2016, these predictions stretch out the full year). While the 15 Ways to Bake Incredible Things with Cheese posts are still top performing internet content (thanks, Buzzfeed), we predict the rise and popularity of more long-form content websites such as Medium. Inc, and Mic.com. We’re still firm believers that quality work over quantity will succeed at the end of the day. Although our attention spans are shrinking, people are still willing to read quality pieces, as evidenced by the wild popularity and viral attention of many longer articles on Medium. Plus, we think it’s time people need to start sucking it up and read paragraphs again.

 

 

What did you think about our list? Agree? Disagree? We’d love to know either way. Shoot us an email at info@blendermedia.com or talk directly to us on Twitter @BlenderMedia.

 

Blender Client Spotlight: an interview with NOVAGOLD

Introduction:

Our favourite part about what we do is the awesome client relationships we develop and the great people we get to work with each day. Full of insight, good stories, and interesting tidbits about the investor relations world and beyond, our clients are always a great source of learning for us.

Mélanie Hennessey, the VP of Corporate Communications for NOVAGOLD and Erin O’Toole, NOVAGOLD’s investor relations analyst, are no exception. NOVAGOLD’s new website launched this September and has brought much success, including winning the CSSDesign Special Kudos Award. Fresh off the heels of their new website, we sat down with Mélanie and Erin to ask them more about their roles in investor relations, the changing IR world, and the influence of elements such as social media and the push for more CSR initiatives. We hope you enjoy the read!

 

NOVAGOLD interview

 

1.    Tell us about NOVAGOLD’s investor relations team. What does an average day in the NOVAGOLD IR world look like?

The one thing we can count on is that an average day does not exist in our world. Our days often require multitasking and a lot of prioritizing as we wear many hats. Being resourceful, flexible and adaptable to various situations is key to getting the job done effectively.

 

2.    NOVAGOLD’s newly redesigned website places emphasis on the ‘We Care’ section and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Why is it important to emphasize CSR when it comes to investor relations?

Being a good neighbor has been ingrained in NOVAGOLD’s corporate culture from the beginning. We called the section “We Care” because we see CSR as so much more than just obtaining a social license to operate. For us, it’s about making lasting connections and building collaborative relationships with our partners, investors, community residents, First Nation and Native Corporations, Board of Directors and other stakeholders.

Our projects are located in remote areas inhabited by communities largely dependent on subsistence living and traditional ways-of-life. It is our job to continuously enhance our knowledge of and ties to the people of the region and various stakeholders. This is what led to the production of our four-part Alaska Video Series.

NOVAGOLD interview

3.  NOVAGOLD is very active on Twitter and regularly tweets out news releases and conference call reminders. How has incorporating social media into your IR strategy helped your company?

 

Social media has been a daily part of NOVAGOLD’s communication strategy since 2010. By being an active participant in these outlets, our audience knows that the Company welcomes an open discussion. The key to keeping audiences engaged is being consistent, reliable and personal. Social media brings in a human element to a company’s brand which is far different than a prescriptive approach where a disclosure is meticulously vetted.

It is important to remember that whether or not a company is active in social media, all companies receive mentions and discussions between users that are posted for mass consumption. By closely monitoring these discussions, we can track the sentiment surrounding the stock, as well as address any rumors or misperceptions.

NOVAGOLD interview

4. What advice would you give other public companies who are looking to add digital elements such as live-tweeting and webcasts to their future investor relations initiatives?

Start small and don’t bite off more than you can chew. If your company has never used social media or any other digital elements, start with just one or two initiatives such as a Twitter account and a quarterly webcast.

Consistency also is key. Whether you plan to post once a day or three times a week, make sure you stick with it. Nothing looks worse than an abandoned profile. It is also important to set realistic goals and have a plan on how you will be monitoring your efforts. Through a bit of trial and error, you will be able to identify what works best for you and your company. what works for you.

And, don’t forget to have fun with it!

NOVAGOLD interview

5.    What are some key challenges you see investor relations teams facing in the next few years?

A main challenge for an IR professional is always knowing the audience and staying one step ahead in an environment where a company’s stakeholders can change rapidly when compared to market trends 5 years ago. Having a thorough understanding of your stakeholder base, both who they are and their needs, is crucial in developing an effective communications strategy.

Communication is a two-way street and we utilize many different channels to stay in touch with different stakeholders. The goal is to keep our brand fresh but consistent. Finding the right balance and flow of communication takes time but definitely pays off.

NOVAGOLD interview

6.    What excites you about where the investor relations profession is headed?

It is exciting that smart companies are recognizing the tremendous value-add of having a communications and IR strategy. Contrary to popular belief, marketing and communication efforts are measurable, and the outcomes are extremely beneficial to the overall performance of the company.

Attracting new investors while maintaining our current shareholder base, building collaborative relationships with local stakeholders who understand our vision and objectives, and consistently delivering on our business plan are examples of positive indicators that efforts are paying off and our strategy is successful.

NOVAGOLD interview

7.    Is there a specific website you visit or IR tool you use that is crucial for IR success?

Our group relies on a number of platforms and tools that help us stay on track and accomplish our objectives. On a daily basis, we use research databases, market surveillance platforms, content management systems, social media, and our own network to name a few. We consider our network a central tool that includes our Board, subsidiaries, analyst, fund managers, government officials, other IROS, and local stakeholders. It is important for us to regularly seek input, enhancing our knowledge base and continuously improving the work we do.

Bonus Question:

8.    What’s one element about your job that would surprise people?  

NOVAGOLD interview

To effectively do our job we have to be chameleons meaning that we need to be generalists in our knowledge of the company, assets and industry, while being able to quickly adapt our approach to the audience at hand. From the bush of rural Southwest Alaska to the Board room, we need to successfully deliver our message and tell our story. Being attune to our environment, reading people’s body language as well as their reception to information are skills that we rely on daily. Again, it is all about building and maintaining connections.

It’s a dynamic, fast-paced role. We never have a dull moment… and wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

Thanks for your wonderful insight Mélanie and Erin, and we’re so happy to work with you and the rest of the NOVAGOLD team. And don’t forget to check out NOVAGOLD’s new, award-winning website!

Why General Electric is the smartest brand on social media

What if a 100 year old person was better at social media than you? A lot of brands better be asking themselves this question, because General Electric is 123 years old this year and are rocking every social media platform from LinkedIn to Vine. It’s not just about the brand’s commanding presence on social media, however. We’re more interested in the way a century-old company who most people know best through lightbulbs and refrigerators can take every aspect of social media, from GIFs to infographics, and integrate them seamlessly into their strategy. Here are some main reasons why GE kills it daily on social media.

1. They encourage conversation and participation

GE always has a social media contest going on. Last year they took to Vine to get people talking about science. Their #6SecondScienceFair invited everyone to interact with their brand by capturing a 6 second video of the coolest science experiment they could create. GE posted their favourites on their own social media page, and created a tumblr account for all the best videos. Like the experts they are, GE made sure to tie the fun contest back to their main message of influencing science and technology. (They also won a shiny award for this educational video series at the 2014 Cannes Lions advertising competition).

6 second science fair

2. They experiment with new sharing platforms 

General Electric is known for being early adopters of new social media platforms (for instance they got on Vine one day after the video-sharing app launched). Now, GIFS within tweets is the new image within tweets. One brilliant aspect of GE’s social media strategy is that they know how to take each emerging platform or trend and seamlessly integrate it with their mission. Check out how they put GIFS to work in the example below. An inside glimpse of a new ice nugget maker? Sweet, I’m in.

GE has also been all over Periscope lately, the new video live-streaming app. Their most recent endeavour included a ‘DroneWeek’ where, using a modified drone, General Electric gave social media followers an up-close and personal look at the biggest and tallest machines.

Live on Periscope

3. They personalize their brand

General Electric is proud of everything they create, and they let people know. Their Instagram account is full of behind the scenes images and videos detailing a day in the life of a GE employee as well as glimpse s of testing facilities, aviation grounds, and wind turbine fields. Their Instagram is a machine enthusiast’s fantasy: who doesn’t like giant pictures of airplane engines and gas turbine load compressors? Behind the scenes snapshots are also smart because they increase the brand’s positive reputation and build enthusiasm and trust between the company and its social media followers.

4. They teach as well as promote

GE promotes the new technologies they’re working on through social media the best possible way: they educate users about what they’re building. Their YouTube series ‘Invention Factory’ provides an investigation on some of humanity’s biggest questions, and how GE is looking for answers. They’ve produced many videos such as the one below to create enthusiasm about their big picture work.

5. They embrace the light-hearted aspect of social media

GE seriously promotes their technology and their mission, but they also know when to loosen their ties and have a little fun. They’re big fans of emojis on Twitter. (And in general, check out their whole EmojiScience campaign).

https://twitter.com/generalelectric/status/623528180394102784

6. They keep investors in the loop

While some companies may believe that social media and investor relations doesn’t mix, General Electric challenges that idea with a seamless integration between the two worlds. (We also think it’s a perfect marriage, and we’ve written about it before). General electric releases investor highlights on their social media channels with bold images for easy sharing and consumption. Keeping investors in-the-know on social media makes for a more engaged investor audience.

7. They love engaging other brands

It’s clear that GE has a lot of fun on social media, and they love engaging other brands. A lot of times GE’s Twitter will publish an Emoji puzzler concerning a historic scientific breakthrough and will call out other companies and invite them to take a guess. They also love congratulatory tweets, and spread love to everyone from NASA to Bill Nye the Science Guy.

https://twitter.com/generalelectric/status/624319459574943745

https://twitter.com/generalelectric/status/622084145230016514

 

 

Keep your investor marketing hot during a slow summer by asking yourself these questions

While the wolves of Wall Street are away in Tahiti

Turns out vacation plans and warm weather have their effects on the markets as well. Summer is often a slower time for public companies, as it’s the slowest time for the markets and investors. MainStreet.com writes that “one of the biggest reasons [for summer slump] is that there isn’t much market-swaying information being released…summer is [the] correction period before the market picks up again in October”. Or maybe everyone just wants to find some sand, sun, and surf.

Regardless of the reason, it makes us excited because summer is a great time to strengthen your investor marketing strategies–aka our bread and butter. If getting more visibility to your IR website or researching new investor marketing tactics was in the back of your mind in the past year, try thinking about it now. Here are some questions to ask yourself this summer to help strengthen future IR marketing strategies.

1.  Have I taken a look at my website lately?

How does your website stack up amongst others in your industry? Does the design need to be updated? Take a look at some of your competitors’ websites. Design trends move so fast nowadays that it’s important to take a step back and reassess where your corporate and investor site is on the scale. This doesn’t mean you need to be ridiculously cutting edge. But some things, like being mobile-friendly, are really important to start incorporating. (Mobilegeddon anyone?) Your investor website is the main point of contact between you and your target audience. Think about whether it’s time to give the site a refresh. Summer’s a great time to get started!

2. How are my social media accounts doing? 

Still not on social media? No excuses this time. If you still need proof on how social media can work for investors, get it here. Next week’s blog will also talk about Twitter and investor relations specifically, so stay tuned. When we say you should look at your social media accounts, we don’t mean just making sure you have them. Have you seen some new things companies are doing with Twitter and IR marketing? Check out how General Electric’s CEO tweeted important quotes from their annual meeting. Use social media to get more people involved and more people listening.

3. Have I started cleaning my email lists? 

Remember our infographic last week? We showed you how ensuring your subscribers are a ‘yay’ on the CASL scale actually increases your open-rate by 87%! If you haven’t seen the proof yet, we really think you should check it out. Going through your email lists might sound like less than a good time, but it’ll be really helpful especially when the markets pick back up. How many of your news releases are currently sent to outdated contacts or lost in spam filters? As we showed in the infographic, outdated lists affect your open-rate statistics. Plus, don’t you want to be sending emails to only those who actually care?

4. Have I looked at new ways people are using technology for investor marketing?

Start researching. We talked a few weeks ago about T-Mobile live-streaming their earnings call and participating in a live social media Q&A. There’s a lot of ways to incorporate newer technologies into investor marketing that many companies haven’t touched on yet. Summer’s a good time to see what’s out there and start thinking of how things like webcasts and live Q&A’s can work for you.

5. Do I have plans to start using more video in my marketing efforts?

Remember the infamous ‘Oreo Superbowl tweet of 2013′? If you don’t: Oreo Cookies’ real-time reaction tweet about ‘dunking in the dark’ minutes after the power went out in the Superbowl stadium stands as the pinnacle moment of brands reacting to current events on social media. Two years later, everyone has shown up to the party and things are getting crowded.

Using video for investor marketing is still fairly new. So there’s still time to be the Oreo of public company video marketing. Start thinking of how you can use video to target investors whether it’s a casual CEO one-on-one interview, an animated spot about your company’s product or process, or a short video of highlights to showcase your investment proposition. Whatever you choose, start looking into it now, because video is going to be the new social media.

 

 

 

 

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.
2015-social-media-cheatsheet-one-page

 

 

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.

 

 

Tip 5: DOESN’T THIS LOOK ANNOYING?

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

Be a bard for a burrito: Chipotle fans get poetic

Hmm. Two food-related blog posts in a row…can you tell we’re writing these close to lunch?

Chipotle launched a 24 hour social media campaign last Friday aimed at getting people talking about their love for the food chain’s menu. Burrito lovers everywhere got to brush off their 9th grade creative writing smarts and compose a Haiku about the company in an attempt to win a free dinner for two (at Chipotle, of course).

This promotion highlights a great way to incorporate social media into marketing tactics. The food chain got people tweeting and posting on Facebook about their love for their brand, but asked them to do so in a fun and creative way.

They posted some official rules Friday morning on their blog:

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A bunch of rules come after this…they’re pretty serious about it. The blog says, “For Facebook entries: posting a haiku to the wall on Chipotle’s official Facebook page during the promotion period [10 AM ET on Thursday, February 5 until 11:59 PM] For Twitter entries: posting a tweet to @chipotletweets during the promotion period”.

USA Today writes “Chipotle Communications Director Chris Arnold said they’ve done similar promotions in the past. Why haikus? ‘It’s a good way to engage with customers and ask them to share their thoughts, but also to put some parameters around that to provide structure to what they submit'”.

USA Today also makes the connection that this promotion came at a very interesting time after “the company shares plummeted more than 5% on Feb. 3 after the chain reported fourth-quarter 2014 earnings were hit slightly by higher food costs”.

Which bards will be named burrito-worthy? Here’s some of our favourites:

5 Online Marketing Strategies for Public Companies to know in 2015

We’ve done our reading and come up with the five most important online marketing strategies to help your company succeed in the new year.

1. Social Media: That houseguest who’s not leaving anytime soon

Whereas 2014 brought forth cries of ‘get yourselves on social media,’ 2015 means that paying someone to set up that pesky Twitter account and post something for you every few days won’t cut it anymore. 2015 calls for a more integrated social media strategy. And just so we’re clear, strategy doesn’t mean companies blasting content out of any outlet they can find (forced Instagram pics for the win). Assess your goals and think about what platforms best fit. For businesses targeting investors, think LinkedIn. While you were sleeping, LinkedIn became a great place for business-to-business communications. Take part in industry conversations to increase awareness and start positioning your company as a thought leader.

Here come the slow-pokes 

Forbes predicts that 2015 will be the year “the laggards will finally adopt” when it comes to social media.  “Businesses will finally wake up to the fact that social media and mobile marketing are no longer a new phenomena and should be integrated right from the start of any marketing campaign”. Basically, this is the year everyone’s going to smell the roses and start tweeting, so make sure you’re smart about it.

2. Mobile sites: when ‘be more responsive’ became more than relationship advice

There’s no doubt about it, technology won’t stop creeping into our pockets. Russell Glass, the head of B2B Products for LinkedIn, predicts that ‘B2B marketers will see their audiences cross over to ‘mobile first’ for the first time in 2015 where greater than 50% of their marketing content will be consumed on mobile or tablet devices”. It seems that 2015 will be a year where we’re all even more addicted to our phones.

 So what do these mobile zombies mean for me? 

Well, if your website doesn’t have a responsive design by now, you better find that bunker. ‘Responsive design’ may sound like a tricky concept, but it just means this: your site should work well and look impeccable on any type of device. A great mobile site is especially important when targeting investors because it makes your company’s info accessible anywhere. Basically, you want to be what investors are reading on the go. They’ll appreciate an expertly designed site on any device they choose, allowing them to click through company info and download presentations in a cinch.

 3. Content Marketing: does this paragraph make my website look fat?

People want to read content that’s the deadly mix of being skimmable but still high quality. Oh, and completely original. That’s tricky to do (and gets frustratingly ironic for many content writers struggling to find a more innovative word than innovative). Constantly changing web trends all influence content marketing strategies. Sadly there’s no magic word count to master, or genie lamp to rub, to tell you what type of content and what length gets your stuff noticed.

 Who are you writing for? 

A timeless question that will really save you a lot of time. Forbes writes “before you make a single keystroke of content, make sure that you really know your potential customers–their identity, preferences, interests, and journey…the content emerges form this knowledge and will be far more relevant”.

Did you say thought leadership? 

We’re about to. “The no. 1 way to amplify [content] is to make sure it’s valuable and engaging to the audience”.  The best way to have valuable content is by creating an environment where you educate others not just about what you do as a company, but also about what you know. Think guest blogging, CEO insights, and expert advice. This will also help you begin to formulate yourselves as the ‘go-to’ guys in your sector.

4. Native Advertising: I’ve just written marketing gold, now how do people find it?

I’m sorry, native what?

This is a phrase you’re definitely going to hear more of in 2015, and even if you aren’t sure of the exact definition, you’ve definitely come across native ads while browsing a favourite website. Here’s an example of a regular article on BusinessInsider.com next to a native advertisement.

Regular article: 

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 Native advertisement: 

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Both look almost exactly the same. The native ad appears in the same formatting as Business Insider’s original content, except for the word ‘sponsored’ at the top of the article. A short line also lets the reader know that “this post is sponsored by HSBC Bank USA”. These are native ads; ‘native’ because the look and feel is coherent with all other media on the platform. Unlike traditional advertising which can be obtrusive to the user experience, native advertising is a more organic way to reach an audience.

That’s cool and all, but how can this information help me?

We thought you’d never ask. This form of advertising will get even bigger in 2015, so at least be aware of what native ads are. Want some numbers? An eMarketer report states ‘spending on native ads on social sites alone is expected to increase from $3.1 billion to $5 billion by 2017”. Entrepreneur writes that native ads are “giving brands a way to help their messages cut through the noise online and get in front of their target audiences”. Reflect on those last words a bit. Your company’s thought leadership article or newest whitepaper will garner a lot more attention on a well-trafficked website with similar content. Where does your target audience hang out online? Come up with some quality content and advertise it in a place you know people are looking.

5. Data Visualization: because people will stare at videos and images until they’re blue in the face

Video and infographics are the new black. 2015 will see an even bigger push towards visual content on websites, especially in images and video content. For those naysayers who believe that adding infographics or video elements is misplaced in a more corporate environment, check out this example we provided in a blog post a few weeks ago. GE implements infographics for their annual reports to really get the information to connect with both casual browsers and potential investors.

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Are you not entertained?!

Let’s just get one thing straight right away: corporate should not be synonymous with boring. Why wouldn’t potential investors also like to be engaged and entertained? (Insert Russell Crowe Gladiator voice here).  Anything that increases the visual impact of your site is good. Use your discretion, of course, and think about what elements of your website might be enhanced with a little data visualization. Image and video based content also helps decrease bounce rates and improve traffic metrics. And finally, Forbes notes that video content “is one of the fastest ways to spread information” and will really help to get your message out there as people start sharing what you’re showing.

The list to end all lists: Our top 10 favourite 2014 best-of lists

We’ve rounded up our favourite year-end lists on every subject, in one place.

1. ‘The 2014 Jealousy List‘ – Bloomberg Businessweek 

jealously listBloomberg cleverly pens, “The staff of Bloomberg Businessweek produced…7.5 million words-too much! So it’s time to give some of our colleagues at other news organizations a little recognition. Here’s our second annual Jealousy List, composed entirely of the pieces we wish we’d written but were glad to have read”.

2. The 18 best infographics of 2014 -Fastcodesign 

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3. Top 10 Trending Twitter Hashtags – CNN

icebucket challenge

4. The Best Data Journalism of 2014 – FiveThirtyEight

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5. The Year of Outrage – Slate 

year of outrageNot so much a list as an everyday chronicling of anger, but this was so great we included it anyways. Slate ‘tracked what everyone was outraged about every day in 2014’.

6. The Top 10 Gadgets of 2014 – TIME  

apple watchOnce again this year, it seems Apple reigns supreme.

7. Songs We Loved 2014 – NPR    

npr songs we loveNPR took their list a step further and created their own interactive mix tape of the year, where listeners can shuffle back and forth between songs and choose different genres.

8. The 50 best films of 2014 – Empire 

boyhoodThough there are a hundred ‘best films of 2014’ lists out there, we’ve chosen Empire’s because of the list’s sleek design and crazy amount of detail. Each movie review also comes conveniently linked with its trailer.

9. The 20 best music videos of 2014 – Pitchfork 

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10. The 33 Craziest New Fast Foods of 2014 – Buzzfeed 

o-DOUBLE-DOWN-KING-facebookWoah…

BONUS: ‘There are way too many best of 2014 lists’ – FiveThirtyEight 

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FiveThirtyEight figures out how original these countless Year-End lists really are in their article ‘There are way too many best of 2014 lists.’ They scanned the internet for different mentions of movies, television, books, etc. on ‘best of 2014’ lists, and then made some handy infographics.