Why does every public company need a corporate social media strategy?
Social media provides public companies with the most valuable component of corporate value creation: an open, global and highly creative channel to tell a story to a vast and available investing public.
There are thousands of public companies. Social media offers open access to a huge audience of investors — both retail and institutional. More importantly, social media provides public companies a proven and reliable way to communicate their value drivers and differentiation.
The four most important questions you need to ask:
- Is every piece of material information about the company available on social media? This is a perfect starting point. The focus of each social platform varies, but Twitter is an excellent “core” base for your story. Content developed for Twitter can be easily adapted for all other social platforms.
- Consider clustering content by theme, so that when people scroll through your Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn or Instagram account they understand the company’s strategy and focal points. You can group content by product, strategy, management, geography, or newsworthiness. Themed storylines are a great way to present what can amount to an overwhelming amount of information.
- Writing a formal corporate social media strategy is a wise idea. This will clarify your goals, objectives, and opportunities. It will also capture what your competitors are doing and how you plan to eclipse their efforts by differentiating your strengths.
- Are you playing enough defense? Studies show that defensive communication strategies actually deliver a higher ROI. You should allocate your content mix accordingly: think of three posts that pursue offense while five posts play defense.
The only restrictions you have are your own. Make your own rules. How you execute will largely depend on your corporate social media strategy.
Formulating corporate social media strategy and then executing it can be difficult only because getting buy-in from people who don’t use social media or are afraid of it can be difficult.
For these reasons, write the social media strategy so that it shows that the social media fits in with everything else going on and will deliver measurable results with minimal risk.
What makes a good social media strategy?
- You have to have a document that outlines the key communication goals and the messaging points that support them.
- Regular progress reports should fit within the company’s reporting framework; quarterly social media reports should start and end at the same time the company reports to stakeholders.
- There should be flexibility to allow for ad-hoc, special and one-off tactical events. Some things come out of left field, so you want to take advantage of these times.
- It can be difficult to articulate what the company’s “voice” is on social media, so consider using general descriptions such as authoritative but sometimes humorous, or informatively deadpan. Social media is very much a “we” not a “the company” platform, so it can be useful to think of the account as someone speaking on behalf of the brand.
- A good social media strategy will demonstrate how it will breathe new life into the company’s historical filings.
- The goals set out in the strategy will be supported by tactics. For example, if one of the goals is to excite stock-trading algorithms, one tactic might be to post regularly to Twitter and Reddit with content that triggers these algorithms.
- Explain how you will highlight the value of your assets and how you will expand the company’s audience
Delivering a corporate social media plan that satisfies these elements is not that difficult if you remember that it will be later used as a yardstick to measure your performance against.
Social Media Is Used By Institutional Investors
A survey by Greenwich Associates found that 80% of institutional investors use social media as part of their workflow. This has implications for public companies of all sizes.
— Sky Alphabet Social Media (@skyalphabet) November 7, 2018
As research from Deloitte shows, social media no longer exists in a bubble populated with teenagers.
In fact, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most popular social networks with B2B users, but lately Reddit and Twitter have really taken a front seat when it comes to retail and quant traders:
New data from the University of Massachusetts shows that Twitter usage is increasing with Fortune 500 companies, ahead of Facebook and other channels. LinkedIn remains extremely strong. Twitter and LinkedIn are a great combo! https://t.co/KzZ8YmiMrp pic.twitter.com/WUeoOMwZWr
— Sky Alphabet Social Media (@skyalphabet) January 6, 2019
Social Media has become a critical part of the lives of analysts, investors and executives of public companies. Those of you who are reading this will relate with how the Wall Street Journal describes the findings that the internet has become the leading source of news for CFOs:
“…CFOs leave no stone unturned when it comes to keeping up with the day’s events.”
For many in the investment community, Twitter is an indispensable source of information. Twitter’s search engine is often considered to be better than Google because it provides up to the second information on a vast array of granular topics that simply cannot be found anywhere else reliably.
This is why a social media strategy that includes Twitter and LinkedIn is a must for any public company: the people who most want it most will reward you for participating.
Retaining a Social Media Firm Like Sky Alphabet Delivers Major Benefits:
- Your marketing and communications house will never be in better order. We clarify your goals and set clear deliverables with performance metrics.
- Get on the radar of more research analysts and prospective investors;
- Communicate in a manner consistent with top-tier listings;
- Execute a program of social media posts that reflect the company’s desired positioning;
- Engage with the social media audience in a way that reflects the company’s valuation;
- Meet the informational needs of millennials and “Generation Z” by adopting a modern communications program that will set you apart from others not using social media.
As a contractor to public companies, we present a compelling value proposition because we are able to provide social media consulting on a wide variety of specialized use cases:
- Investor days
- Capital raising and IPO transactions
- Introducing new CFO, CEO, or CMO
- A re-focus of strategy
- Earnings pre-announcements
- Product launches
- Relationship building
- Reputation and perceptions management
- Ongoing, regular communications and outreach
- Questions from the investing public
It is surprising how quickly implementing a social media strategy can favourably influence perceptions with younger audiences.
We often work on a project basis so companies can conduct test pilots or tactical exercises without a long-term commitment.
For most publicly-listed companies, participating on social media has become a necessity. Failing to be present on social channels while other competitors post and engage daily with shareholders now seems to present a greater risk than it once did. This is why corporate social media strategy is essential.
We can help you formulate intelligent social media strategy based on peer group research and then help you execute flawlessly.
The Corporate Social Media Mandate
It has become increasingly difficult to classify social media as a non-core activity of corporate communications. Social media is now too important to be the domain of the executive assistant who no longer has time nor the tools required to maintain awareness over two or three social channels.
Corporate Social Media Strategy is a Vital Piece of the Overall Communications Pie
For some firms, social media provides a method of dissemination that is of equal or greater value than traditional disclosure mechanisms. In this environment, corporate social media strategy is prioritized before or during the planning of corporate press releases and conference calls.
As one consulting engineer stated in a recent report:
“Social media is apparently blurring the line between communications and customer service…the real power of social media [is] you could never reach that number of people through conventional means.” (source)
The upshot is that reaching this many people requires careful planning and execution.
Powered by the increased use of mobile devices, social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have successfully capitalized on a major opportunity: to deliver real-time news and search results to a massive audience of business people looking to satisfy their daily information needs.
There’s a playbook.
What’s the best strategy to execute? We wrote the guide to helping public companies succeed with social media.
Target Retail and Institutional Investors
With key demographic segments spending more time with social media, high-profile organizations – especially those operating in multiple jurisdictions – have little choice but to rely on social media or risk not being heard.
How a public company chooses to utilize social media depends on the corporate social media strategy.
Millions of retail investors are on Twitter alone, not to mention every financial journalist and most analysts. What’s more, the influencers who shape opinion can be found everywhere on social media. You need a plan to capture the opportunities these varied audiences offer.
This is exactly the reason why the management of social media in a public company context requires experienced hands. This is why public companies of all sizes rely on Sky Alphabet.
A Social Media Agency With a Unique Pedigree
Our background involves $45 billion in capital markets experience. This makes us Canada’s leading social media consultants for professional service firms.
If you are a fintech company, law firm, insurance broker, hedge fund, quantitive trading operation, or any other firm that is regulated or abides by a communication code of ethics, we are represent one of the best equipped and most experienced social media agencies in Canada.
Our founder, Steve Yanor, is the author of a book about marketing corporate securities. Our experience with the marketing of initial public offerings includes very large equity and debt transactions involving some of the best corporate securities teams in the world.
As things happen in real time, our understanding and vast experience with disclosure laws, strategic communications, and social media are a vital asset.
As a social media agency, our role is to continuously communicate with audiences. We are always mindful of the risks, sensitivities and relationships that are always present but may not always be apparent.
With our communications process and deep experience, we manage and mitigate the risks so that our clients gain the benefits made possible by the vast reach and one-to-one communication opportunities offered by social media.
Public Company Social Media is Too Important to Risk
Public company communications requires planning and a track record of experience. Sky Alphabet Social Media delivers both in spades. As leading Canadian social media consultants, we ensure that stakeholders and target audiences are engaged with content and communications consistent with the needs of the most skeptical of public company critics: the legal and compliance team. This means we adhere and comply with strict communication standards and procedures at all times.
At a minimum, the social media managers who manage the creation and dissemination of public company communications over social media have an investor relations or corporate communications background of no less than five years.
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With social media becoming mandatory for the liquidity of public companies (an increasing number of people now get their news on a social media platform), more TSX-listed companies in the Canadian resource, energy, financial services and technology sectors are relying on social media to strengthen liquidity, education and awareness.
With the buy-side on social media, the entire investment community continues to shift where the audience is.
Put $45 Billion in Transaction Experience To Work For You
We have over a decade of experience working with investment bankers on complex, mult-tranche international transactions.
From marquee IPOs to record-smashing leveraged buyouts by the largest private equity firms in the world, we bring disciplined and rigorous communications process to every social media post across eight platforms.
We value the integrity of every turn, edit, change and re-work involved with getting the messaging just right. We are a strong link in the chain of confidentiality necessary to craft communications that resonate.
Disciplined Execution Is Behind Every Post
Social media is every bit as serious as the CEO’s speech to investors or the CFO’s quarterly MD&A. Sky Alphabet mitigates the angst of constructing and launching a first-rate social media communications program that works in tandem with the rest of the marketing and sales team. Don’t wait. Let’s get going on bringing your organization the power social media.