Research & Strategy

By Daniel Redman - Content and Strategy Director - 29 Aug 2017


Investor relations teams are constantly looking for more efficient and cost-effective channels in the digital communications space to promote and share news and updates with a wider stakeholder base.

One of these digital channels, social media, remains much like marmite; companies either love it or hate it – and for good reason. Done well, engagement increases and results are tangible but this is still notoriously difficult to quantify. Reticence to delve into social media can be linked to many aspects including the hot water that companies can find themselves in as a result of particular online conversations, creating a threat and therefore acting as a deterrent. Within different industry sectors, perhaps the lack of readily available information certain companies provide on social media fosters a perceived security.

The relevance of social media within investor relations and corporate communications is also in question. Do investors even use it? Interestingly, the same questions and concerns were raised within B2C communications not so long ago.

Perhaps there is a simple lack of resource and a senior management resistance to pay Susan from Marketing to spend all day making up tweets. Sound familiar?

At Design Portfolio, despite the challenges, we truly see the value that this channel creates, particularly as millennials, journalists and influencers of investors begin to use this means of communication as their first port of call for information.

In this blog post we look at where social media can fit into your communication strategy and where you should commit your time.

Investors use it!

A report by Greenwich Associates looked at social media usage by institutional investors across the US, Europe and Asia. The study identified that nearly 80% of institutional investors use social media as part of their day-to-day work, as do journalists, analysts and industry experts.

What it's used for and the most popular social channels

The most popular platform highlighted in the research was LinkedIn (52%), with Twitter and Facebook close behind. The main reasons for these investors using social media were identified as reading news/industry updates (48%), researching specific industries (47%) and seeking commentary on markets/events (44%).

  1. LinkedIn

43% listed LinkedIn as the primary channel for reading news/industry updates (33% listed Facebook and 29% Twitter). LinkedIn has a focus on business-to-business communications as well as recruitment, so it leads the pack in terms of channels to invest time in.

2. Twitter

When seeking opinions or commentary on markets/events, Twitter was used by 33% of respondents. But one key feature of Twitter is that you can utilise the platform to monitor as well as distribute content. This allows companies to track what is being said and gives valuable insight into sentiment around your business.

Video is on the rise

Data collected by Vidyard in its 2017 benchmark report highlights some key video trends. Over 20+ billion, yes billion, video views occur every day across Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube. 86% of business-related video views take place on desktop browsers and only 14% on mobile. When reviewing analytics for investor relations websites, desktop is still the most used platform (78%), so distributing video on your corporate website is a must. Furthermore, 72% of businesses using video use it on social channels, this is to increase its reach and push more people to your content.

The most commonly viewed videos are explainers, product demos, how-to videos and testimonials, with most videos lasting less than two minutes.

On average, companies within the financial services category share around 150 videos per year. For investor relations teams, live audio-only or video/audio streaming is a popular and cost-effective route for earnings presentations and on-site tours. This content can be a mixture of pre-recorded material and live presenting or a simple Q&A format with people dialing in to speak with the CEO. Streaming online enables people to dial in from anywhere in the world and still feel connected to the presenter. Once recorded, short snippets and highlights from the video can be shared on social media after the event to extend the reach of and increase engagement with the content.

News distribution

Regulatory News Service (RNS) announcements are, of course, a staple amongst any investor relations website but there are some innovative ways to increase your news distribution further through social media and simple publishing techniques. Here's how:

  1. Keep your RNS announcement title short and to the point by linking to more detail on your website.
  2. Remove the hassle of manually posting RNS updates to Twitter by automating posts.
  3. Promote your email subscription tool by offering links to subscribe within announcements and via your website/social media.
  4. Mention and tag partners or featured companies in your social media posts to gain further exposure from their followers.

What to do next?

  • Create a social media policy to outline how, when and which channels you will share content on as a company. Ultimately, you should identify one person to be responsible for managing content and updates, be this the FPR, IRO or an agency like ours.
  • Set up your chosen social channels and brand them to the look/feel of your company with relevant imagery and descriptive text.
  • Set up monitoring of your chosen channels and be aware of what is being said about your company online. Use this data to report on engagement or summarise external activity about your business.
  • Discuss how video could help enhance your digital communications and what opportunities may be available soon to test the water.
  • Experiment with your news flow distribution and RNS to see if you can increase engagement from your news flow to push people back to your website.

Hopefully we have given you a flavour of how good Marmite can taste and how you can successfully develop your social media strategy. If you would like to better understand social media for corporate and investor communications then please get in touch on 0207 536 2017, via or share on social media.