Earnings tweets becoming ‘more effective’, finds study

Feb 12, 2016
<p>FTI Consulting report explores effectiveness of social media disclosures</p>

Though fewer companies are sharing earnings news via social media, those that do are finding their disclosures more popular and effective, according to a new report from FTI Consulting.

FTI recorded 504 earnings result tweets in 2015, down slightly from 521 last year, but suggests such disclosures are ‘almost twice as popular and effective’ after recording 3,160 retweets and likes across all companies, up from 1,766 in 2014.

The FTI report, the fourth in an annual series titled ‘A social divide in the city’, analyzes companies in the FTSE 100 that use social media to support their results communications. It then ranks companies according to how well they use Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and SlideShare to communicate with the Street, with scores adjusted according to the volume, quality and impact of social media posts.

BP is named as the top performer in FTI’s FTSE 100 Social Media Performance Index, after the oil giant saw its results-related content engaged with 1,194 times online.

One major reason for this is BP’s consistent use of ‘rich media’ – using images, audio and video to enhance a disclosure.‘An overwhelming majority of BP’s tweets and LinkedIn posts contain images or videos, and the company is using specialist image-driven platforms, including Instagram, to communicate with its stakeholders,’ the report notes.

Other top social media performers include TUI Group, Vodafone Group and Diageo, which recently announced that it was moving to a half-yearly reporting structure.

The very best companies also distribute the same message through many channels, says FTI, whether these are specialized corporate social media accounts or individual ones. It also points out that staff are one of the most important parts of a company’s social media strategy, because content shared by individuals tends to get eight times more engagement than that from branded channels.

The report further picks out several examples of companies employing unique tactics to be heard and shared online. Rio Tinto, for example, produced a video that combined live action footage with animated graphs for its earnings video, making it one of the most liked in FTI’s sample.

Ryan Terpstra, founder and CEO of Selerity, a platform for recommending online content for finance professionals, says trends in the market seem to support FTI’s findings. ‘Companies are increasingly disseminating market-moving information via social media, proving that social is no longer just a channel for consumers, but is in fact a powerful tool for businesses looking to control their own flow of news,’ he summarizes.

This view is shared by Stephanie Harig, senior account executive at communications firm Dix & Eaton. ‘Social media continues to be a missed opportunity for companies to get their story out to the market directly,’ she says. ‘IROs may feel they don’t have the time, resources or knowledge to leverage this opportunity, but there are probably others in corporate communications or digital marketing they could partner with to develop and execute a strategy.’

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