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.
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Using social media for investor relations
Tip 1: Know your cashtag
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
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
Tip 4: Take advantage of the real-time aspect
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?
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
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.
Tip 7: Publish original content: If blogs are too scary, start with LinkedIn publisher
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.