After the 2016 presidential election, the power of social media is no way in doubt. The growing spread of platforms have organized country-wide protests, become a go-to resource for political discourse and swelled in user numbers across all demographics.
However, while social media have become ubiquitous in the world of media, politics and entertainment, we think they are lacking some recognition in other spheres, namely, financial communications. Finance Twitter has become a burgeoning community, with regular lists published of the “top finance accounts to follow on Twitter”. After a template renovation and focus on content, LinkedIn has increased its user numbers, with 72 percent of global executives now active on the platform.
Our latest report, Social Divide on The Street, assesses how companies are harnessing this potential to reach new stakeholders while reporting quarterly results, exploring the cross-section between social media and investor relations.
We surveyed Fortune 100 company presences on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube for financial results content, given the professional lean to these social media channels. We found that 97 companies out of 100 have an active Twitter presence and all have pages on LinkedIn. In spite of this widespread social media presence, almost a full half of these companies missed an opportunity to communicate last quarter’s financial results on corporate social media channels.
While many companies do nothing on social media, some invest heavily and see significant engagement in return. Overall, FTI found and analyzed 356 results-related posts relating to companies’ latest financial results as of September 21, 2017, including annual reports where appropriate. These posts resulted in 39,219 engagements (retweets, likes, shares, etc.) for an average of 110 engagements per post.
Twitter was, by far, the channel companies paid attention to most to get the word out regarding their results, perhaps indicating that media was considered the most important audience for communication via social media given the heavy use of Twitter by journalists. However, Impact, our measure of engagement, was often driven by LinkedIn, an opportunity many companies overlooked.
In this report, we establish a benchmark for what good social media activity looks like on results day. We analyze those doing well, what companies could be doing better and some hurdles companies often face while deploying social media on results day. No company we analyzed does this perfectly.
Social Divide on The Street is an inaugural report looking at U.S. companies. It fits into a global series from FTI looking at the top companies in a number of markets, from London to Frankfurt to Sydney. Future reports will track trends and changes in social media for financial reporting in the U.S., as well as tie in comparative analysis from other markets.
We hope that this report sparks ideas and conversations about the role of social media for investor relations, seeing the potential to maximize the impact of financial communications with audiences that matter.
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.