Digital & Insights

A Social Divide in the City: Annual FTSE social media performance index – Ninth Edition

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Welcome to the ninth edition of our Social Divide in the City report in which we share our analysis of results reporting on social media by FTSE 100 companies throughout 2020.

In a turbulent year we found consistent growth and investment into financial results content from some of the world’s largest companies. Our rankings have changed to reflect a new set of leaders, though the range of sectors has remained consistently broad. Counting over 1,000 full- and half-year results posts across the primary social media platforms we found that the patterns we identified in previous years have continued to evolve – particularly in relation to quality content and the increasing dominance of LinkedIn as a tool for reaching financial audiences.

Companies sought to tell the story of their results and strategies in ever more compelling ways, while also illustrating the ways in which the global pandemic was impacting on business. This resulted in 2.6m engagements for all results-related activity in 2020, a 33% increase year on year. As we reported on last year, audiences are frequently triggered to respond, with many increasingly focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects of a company’s reporting and story.

The biggest shift in direction this year relates to the role that leaders are playing in communicating results-related messaging directly – and generally news and updates from their businesses overall. Leaders are increasingly at the front and centre of results content – we reference some of the CEOs using their own personal channels to deliver financial results content, alongside their company channels.

Together with the set pieces around leaders and strategy, results content is becoming more tailored and targeted. The increase in the use of semi-private content, unlisted YouTube results videos, geo-targeted posts on LinkedIn and dark social ads, for example, demonstrate that companies recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. While still rare, we identified instances where FTSE 100 constituents didn’t share financial results data on social media at all, focusing instead on the surrounding narrative. This ‘softening’ of results content continues to remind us that behind every financial data point there is a social media-worthy story of strategy, leadership – and a workforce delivering results, sometimes against the odds.

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