February 10, 2017
The 5th edition of our Social Divide index reveals that FTSE 100 companies are sharing more and better financial results-related posts on social media, assembling the right mix of social ingredients to achieve significantly higher levels of engagement than ever before. Indeed, in a clear indication of increasing stakeholder appetite for receiving results-related communication via social media channels, we recorded a 105% increase in interactions with results content in comparison to 2015.
This increase has not been uniform – the top four performing companies were responsible for 42.5% of all engagement with results posts, highlighting a gap among FTSE constituents. However the best performing companies are working smarter, not harder, at communicating their results on social media. In our report we uncover the tools and techniques used by firms to extend the longevity of their content, increase the appeal of posts, and fully leverage the stakeholder engagement opportunity presented by results announcements.
Diageo came first in this year’s ranking, beating the leader of the last two years, and this year’s runner-up, BP. The content of the alcoholic beverages company was engaged with 2,749 times, or 62% more than BP’s posts.
GSK and Tesco moved up from 27th and 45th places to 3rd and 4th respectively, while TUI Group nudged down from 2ndto 5th place.
Overall, the number of companies that communicated their latest half or full year results on social media increased by one to 69, and the number of results-related posts on the four platforms we examined increased from 606 to 639. Twitter maintained its status as the primary social media platform for financial results – 66 companies shared their results on the micro-blogging site. LinkedIn was also prominently used – 41 companies shared their results on this platform. Beyond this, 18 companies shared results-related videos on YouTube, and 3 posted results presentations on SlideShare.
Financial services, mining, FMCG, oil and gas, and insurance sectors performed the best with 12 of the top 20 companies belonging to these industries. Barclays led among financial services companies, while Rio Tinto and Aviva were the best performing mining and insurance FTSE 100 constituents, respectively.
A number of companies re-entered or made their FTSE 100 and Social Divide debuts during the year, including Worldpay (55), Micro focus (57), Paddy Power Bet (59) and Mediclinic (60), suggesting that FTSE 250 companies are also using social media for results announcements.
The biggest ‘winners’ of 2017 are Tesco, HSBC, Taylor Wimpey, Centrica and Antofagasta – these companies improved the most in comparison to their prior year performance.
In order to evaluate the performance of FTSE 100 companies, FTI analysed the social media activity of each FTSE 100 constituent on four platforms most relevant, in our view, to corporate and financial communications – Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and SlideShare – at the time of its latest full or half year results announcement. The identified results-related activity was measured using three metrics: volume, quality and impact. Scores were given for each component, which in turn generated an aggregate score. More information on the methodology can be found below.
The fact that Diageo produced eye-catching and visually-engaging content may not be the only reason the company’s results performed well on social media, nevertheless it certainly helps. Don’t underestimate the potential of slick and beautifully presented infographics and imagery which stand-out and grab the audience’s attention as they scroll. Visuals can be produced in advance of the announcement, or even repurposed from other corporate materials, while the figures themselves can be added on top of the visuals at the last minute.
A review of retweets and likes of Tesco’s results-related posts revealed that a significant portion of the interactions came from Tesco employees. Indeed, Tesco’s meteoric rise from 45th to 4th place can in part be attributed to the company’s effective employee advocacy. Internal stakeholders are (generally) predisposed to be supportive and can create a virtual network of advocates around an announcement. Leverage your core advocate base by alerting employees to the announcement in a timely manner and setting clear social media engagement guidelines (i.e. dos: retweet and like official content, don’ts: give your own commentary and analysis).
Aviva utilised the whole spectrum of rich media content to communicate the company’s results, ranging from a hyper-lapse video, to a live stream, infographics, fact cards, quote cards, photos and more, showcasing the breadth and depth of multimedia content. It can be tempting to go for the quick and simple option of a pre-approved corporate photo or a Shutterstock image, but investment in original rich media content increases the chances of your content being noticed, read and engaged with – and ultimately increases the penetration of your message.
No, you’re not seeing double – a number of popular Twitter accounts post exactly the same tweets more than once, sometimes in the same day, without making any changes to the content.
Multiple posting of the same tweets allows BP, Mayor of London, Women in the World and others to increase the shelf life of their content on Twitter (the average lifetime of a single tweet is just 18 minutes1) and reach new audiences, for example in different time zones, without any additional investment in social media content production.
ICYMI, QOTD, AMAA, CTA… unfortunately there is no Google Translate for social media lingo. Social media keywords, hashtags and abbreviations can overwhelm and at times feel irrelevant, however they are worth mastering.
By speaking your audience’s social media language you’ll make corporate messages more accessible and ‘sticky’. ‘Translate’ content by turning long-form text-based releases into bite-sized visual posts and incorporating relevant and widely used keywords like DYK (Did You Know) and ICYMI (In Case You Missed It).
FTI Consulting completed the research in December 2016 – January 2017.
The team analysed the channels and feeds of all FTSE 100 constituents on four social media platforms most relevant to corporate communications and financial results reporting:
FTI’s analysis focused on three components of results-related social media content published by FTSE 100 companies one day before, on the day, and one day after their results announcements:
Every company was attributed three scores, one for each of the components above, which in turn generated an aggregate score.
The companies included were the constituents of the FTSE 100 index in December 2016. The data covered the most recent set of annual or half-year results for each company prior to 15 December 2015.
The feeds of official corporate Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and SlideShare accounts were analysed for this research. If a company did not have a corporate account, general company accounts were identified and analysed.
The research is based solely on publically available online information; no interviews were conducted for this report.
1. Source: Moz https://moz.com/blog/when-is-my-tweets-prime-of-life
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