Digital

Social media and investor relations – are you missing the link?

We live in an online world and engage with much of it when out and about. Mobile internet access and social media are a daily necessity and if you are a business not exploiting that potential, you are missing out – can 75% of the FTSE 100 be wrong?

The point is well made in ‘A social divide in the city’, FTI Consulting’s annual look at who is doing what in the square mile when it comes to super savvy communication. Across the four platforms most suited to business messaging – Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube – there’s an audience of getting on for 40 million ready and waiting to tune into your next message. And that message does not even have to be the best of news to help support your share price. The right tweet put out at a time of poor results news can mitigate the effects. So how does such social media magic work?

Transparency seems to be a big driver when it comes to credibility. Post your news and boost its effectiveness with a clear infographic or, better still, a key figure presenting a short video.

So can it be that easy? Not really. The top 10 performers in FTI’s analysis tend to crop up each year and strategy is key to their reappearance. Get to know your stakeholders in advance, not just from meeting the larger ones but by using data analytics to listen to what investors are saying about you. Use the results to build a clear strategy and a consistent narrative. Tie those to stories that connect your people with your stakeholders and you are well on the way.

 You are bound by Regulatory News Service (RNS) rules, of course. So in your strategy should be a schedule and clear plan of action (with appropriate sign-off points). Once RNS stipulations have been observed, you can present information via your social media feeds in a much more engaging way that adds colour and contrast to your message.

Think of all your reporting channels as a suite of outlets for your message and prepare content that can be used across each of them, adapting file formats as you move between print and online use, for example. Work out which are your primary outlets and make it clear to investors that these are your go-to source. For some businesses, Twitter and LinkedIn will be their main social media outlets; if you have plenty of video, YouTube might be your outlet of choice. Analytics will be your guide here.

The Luminous view

Social media is something of a misnomer – the various channels provide a key platform from which corporates can speak directly to their investors and other stakeholders. For maximum impact, here are our five top tips:

1: Analyse, analyse and analyse – before, during and after any social media campaign. For best effect, plan your corporate story at the outset and avoid straying from the territory you map out.

2: Time is short – make your message snappy. Infographics should be clear and concise and video posts work best when brief and to the point.

3: Synchronise your social media posts to your investor relations calendar. Support key events – results announcements and publication of your annual and sustainability reports – with content-rich posts. Stick to your schedule and protocols: sign-offs and compliance are part of your integrity as a business. Be sure to follow RNS stipulations and the Financial Conduct Authority’s ‘FG15/4 Social media and customer communications’ guidance.

4: Repeat yourself: it’s counter-intuitive but social media posts – think of tweets – are soon replaced by others. So repost at regular intervals to keep your message live.

5: Refresh your approach, but work with your analytics. Data does not lie.

Case study: The Weir Group plc

The Weir Group comprises specialist engineers in the minerals, oil, gas, power and industrial markets. For the launch of its 2018 annual report, An Ever Stronger Weir, the Group asked Luminous to develop a social media campaign using LinkedIn and Twitter and we were delighted that Weir CEO, Jon Stanton, took the opportunity to deliver a personal message too.

If you would like to hear more about how you can introduce social media into your communication campaign, please email stephen.butler@luminous.co.uk

 

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Stephen Butler

As Director of Stakeholder Engagement, Stephen leads a team which provides strategic, best practice and compliance advice to clients across narrative reporting, digital, investor events, sustainability and integrated reporting.

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