The Social Divide: Utilising Social Media for Financial Reporting
November 17, 2016
By FTI Consulting
Australia’s top listed companies are getting smarter in their use of social media to report their financial results, with our annual report card showing improved engagement by the ASX100.
During September we evaluated the performance of ASX 100 companies on their use of social media during financial reporting periods. Now into our third year of analysis, it would appear the numbers are up – companies are engaging online, increasingly utilising social media to disseminate their results.
Our research covered company performance on the three social media networks most relevant to corporate communications – Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Our research evaluated three components of results-related social media presence – volume, quality and impact. Scores were allocated for each component, combined to an aggregate score.
Based on our analysis, the Top 20 companies using social media for financial reporting for the 2016 report season were:
Origin Energy Limited
Telstra Corporation Limited
Treasury Wine Estates
Fortescue Metals Group
Insurance Australia Group*
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank*
Oil Search Limited
*New entrants to the Top 20 from 2015
Our research shows us that despite the growing number of companies sharing their results on social media channels, the number of results-related tweets is marginally lower than last year, 187 in 2016 versus 189 in 2015.
However, these tweets are almost twice as popular and effective. We recorded 901 retweets and likes across all companies in 2016, compared to 566 in 2015.
Twitter is a popular and powerful social media platform with 74 of the ASX 100 companies using the platform, yet only 39 tweeted their financial results.
New entrants to the top ten ranking include Santos Ltd, Macquarie Group, South32 Ltd and Woodside Petroleum.
Companies should take note of their listing requirements and regulatory environment to inform a best practice approach, and also benchmark their communications to a global best practice model.
This will mean they are leading the regulatory environment and protect and enhance their investor engagement.
Many of the companies with tweeted effectively used:
Images, infographics and GIFs
And it’s worth noting that just because you are talking about financial results doesn’t mean your communications have to be dry – visual and interesting content creates the most organic and meaningful engagement.
From our observations, LinkedIn remains underutilised, with only 38 of the ASX 100 companies using this channel to post about their financial results – yet the engagement level on every result related post was 100 per cent.
Employees at all levels play an important role, as content shared by individuals gets eight times more engagement and is shared 25 times more frequently than content shared by branded channels.1
The most popular ASX 100 company on LinkedIn is Rio Tinto, which has over 281,000 followers.
LinkedIn presents itself as an opportunity for increased engagement for companies come the next reporting period.
For the first time we have assessed YouTube in our research, as rich media and specialist platforms are gaining traction for results announcements.
Only seven ASX 100 companies have posted a video covering their results on YouTube.
Origin Energy made an outstanding use of videos for results reporting.
In place of a conventional snippet of results being delivered by the CEO, Origin successfully utilised mixed media such as animated graphic overlay and infographics to supplement the CEO’s presentation. The videos were presented across YouTube and Twitter, ensuring consistent messaging across its social media platform.
Why use social media for financial reporting?
Investors are listening: Global institutional investors are using social media channels to look for information directly from companies, to look seek information from third party influencers and to track breaking crisis situations.
Own the message: Social media is a way for companies to communicate their messages directly to their stakeholders, without relying on traditional media channels.
Fill the void: Results driven discussions are increasingly taking place online, rather than playing an observer role, companies need to be proactive and part of the conversation
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting LLP, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals, members or employees.
Celia Heffernan is a Director in the Strategic Communications segment of FTI Consulting and based in Sydney, Australia.
About Our Team
The Strategic Communications Australia team at FTI Consulting can provide public affairs counsel to help navigate complex regulatory issues as well as future political or legislative changes, stakeholder engagement strategies, industry positioning advice, unique and early insights on regulatory issues through our global network, and connections to local experts in foreign jurisdictions to provide first-hand knowledge around upcoming issues.