Best Practices Guide to Successfully Navigating Social Media for Publicly-Held Companies

January 16, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social + Evolving Media

We are excited to share our latest guide for investor relations and corporate communication professionals outlining the steps they should take (and avoid) to both engage and manage their reputation across social channels.

Business Wire Benefits of SM for IROs

This report details the opportunities and risks of using social media as both a research and communication tool in today’s investor relations programs.  Included are 12 ways investor relations professionals can leverage social media tools for a stronger, more effective engagement program, as well as 12 reasons why social media platforms are not compliant communication tools.

Embracing social media as a news sharing and engagement tool

Business Wire continues to advocate utilizing social media channels to amplify the visibility of company news.  These channels, designed to enhance the communication between organizations and their members, are perfect for brand advocacy.

Business Wire’s guidance for running a successful and legally compliant socially oriented investor communication program include:

  • How to spot an emerging crisis or reputation attack using social media monitoring
  • The importance and impact of multimedia to analysts and other key constituents
  • Real time communications, or why live tweeting earnings works so well
  • Ways to initiate and expand third party sharing of pertinent company information increasing the visibility and authority of your news

Avoiding social channels as a sole means of sharing financial or disclosure oriented news

For the last 4 months, we have taken a long hard look at the concept of utilizing social media distribution channels for financial disclosure.  While we are obviously big fans of utilizing social media as a tool to share news and information, the technology simply is not there yet for these channels to replace traditional disclosure platforms.

Business Wire’s guidance on why social media platforms are not appropriate as the sole method of disclosure includes:

  • Potential coverage limitation
  • Lack of visibility of social updates
  • The impact and risk of message modification
  • Social network demographics and usage rates

To download this free guide in its entirety, visit http://go.businesswire.com/social-media-for-financial-disclosure
Share this with your friends!  Tweet this news out in one click by visiting http://ctt.ec/UEbvf

Want to schedule a time to speak with a Business Wire sales representative about social media, news distribution and disclosure compliance?  Let us know!


Business Wire Presents: Everything PR and IR Pros Need to Know for 2014

January 2, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social & Emerging Platforms

Let’s face it; there is nothing better than working the last two weeks of the year.  Oh you may think it is better to be with friends and family or battling mall crowds or lines at the airport, but in reality, those of us working this week are enjoying shorter commuting times, phones not ringing and a few spare minutes to catch up on the latest industry news and trends.

As we in the Business Wire marketing team catch up on our reading, we compiled this list of posts to catch you up on the best of 2013 and prepare you for a productive and successful 2014.

Top Gaffes for 2013 (after all, you don’t want to end up on this list next year!)

2013 Industry Changes + Best Practices

Looking ahead: Top Tips and Predictions to Prepare You for 2014

And just for fun, a hat tip to Buzzfeed for this scarily accurate look at Isaac Asimov and his 1964 predictions for 2014.


Tips, tricks and advice for today’s PR, IR and Marketing Professionals

October 19, 2013

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social & Evolving Media

What a week!  There were so many great news pieces, platform changes, tips and more that we had to commit an entire blog to sharing them with you.

Below please find this week’s top stories for public relations, corporate communications, investor relations and marketing communication professionals.

Social Platform + Search Engine Updates

Media + Research

Tips, Tricks and Best Practices

Did you find this list useful?  Did we miss anything?  If so, please share below, we are always looking for compelling information we can share with our audience!


Understanding the True Risks of Utilizing Social Media for Financial Disclosure

October 8, 2013

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social & Evolving Media

Last week, Twitter announced to the world it was filing its S-1 via its own social media platform.   While a few vendors in the IR + social media space praise the recent decision by the SEC to allow public companies to disclose material news via social channels, most realize this method is far from a best practice.

What is disclosure via social networks? 

In April 2013, the SEC announced that public companies could utilize social media networks as material disclosure distribution outlets, if they first let investors know which networks they were going to use.  This announcement came with a wide range of support and backlash. Those in favor believe this decision is forward-thinking and a solid fit for the way people communicate today.  Many others believe that this decision will lead to uneven access to content and the sharing of misinformation, ultimately creating a more volatile stock price.

Why are social networks bad platforms for disclosure? 

Before we start, let me reiterate, I am obsessed with social media.  I love Twitter.  I love Facebook.  I’m a wizard at G+, and yet I strongly believe social networks are terrible platforms for disclosure as they simply do not provide immediate, broad access to the news.  Below are several of the road blocks facing this practice that should be considered by every public company before considering this step.

  • Does the news fit the platform?:  Each social network has its own personality and fulfills different end user needs and desires, most of which are not aligned with most companies’ investor profiles.  Facebook, for example, is an excellent recommendation engine.  Pinterest is an aspirational website and Twitter is a continually updating information sharing tool.  None of these sites are being utilized by the average user as legitimate investment forums.  It is important to note that while platforms like StockTwits do bring the discussion of stocks onto Twitter, it is not reflective of Twitter’s overall market use.
  • Lack of visibility of Tweets and social updates:  As noted in this infographic, many company updates are simply not seen by page friends and fans. In fact, 84% of Facebook newsfeed stories are never seen and 71% of tweets are ignored.  This lack of visibility directly affects the success of social network disclosure posts.
  • Manipulated news visibility:  Every social network has the technology and ability to change the visibility of tweets and posts.  Twitter, Facebook, and other networks are monetized by advertising.  Paid tweets, sponsored posts and trends and more increase visibility of “popular” news and take valuable visibility away from non-paid status updates and posts.
  • Potential platform volatility:  Let’s face it, social networks sometimes go offline. Whether it is for system maintenance, too much volume or a DOS attack, when you choose to disclose over a social network, you put yourself at the mercy of a network only a handful of years old.
  • The old game of telephone:  When news is shared out across social networks, people frequently include their own opinion before resharing.   This leads to the possibility of message alteration (on Twitter, these changes are frequently noted with an MT which stands for modified tweet), which could directly impact perception of both the company and the news issued.  Rumors spread quickly on social networks and once misinformation is shared, the company must focus on message correction or risk stock instability.
  • Lack of access to social networks:  In 2011, a study of corporate CIOs shows that 31% of companies did not allow access to social networks during work hours, directly limiting access to real-time breaking news.  As the New York Times noted in 2012, financial institutions continue to struggle with providing traders and analysts with access to these channels.
  • Lack of immediate access to full-text:  The other issue with social networks is that they do not allow for very much text.  This means a company must state the impact of their news in as little as 140 characters and include a link to the full text article.  This 2-step process decreases potential visibility of the full story, and delays access to the news for end users.
  • The impact of delayed access to news:  One of the big discussions this summer in relation to the investment community was the financial impact of Thomson Reuter’s product that provides elite traders access to key information milliseconds before the rest of the financial community.  This service allows traders to buy and sell before the rest of the financial community. Every second counts on Wall Street. CNBC notes that within 10 seconds, hundreds of millions of dollars in trades can be completed.  Social networks are unable to confirm equal visibility of news and tweets, making it very easy for trades to be made before the news has fully been disseminated.
  • The security issue:  While somewhat rare, every social network, every website, faces potential security attacks and risks. Even the AP’s Twitter account was recently hacked, causing  widespread sharing of a false report of a shooting at the White House.  How are consumers supposed to know if your update is legitimate or not?  How quickly can a stock price be halted if false news impacts trading?
  • By the way, who actually uses social networks?:  While many buy-side analysts praise the use of social networks as research tools for reporting (a practice we highly recommend), most social site demographics are not aligned with investor audiences. Pew Internet notes that only 16% of Americans who utilize social networks have a Twitter account while 67% use Facebook.

Did we mention that we love social networks?!  So what should you be doing if you want to socialize your news, increasing overall awareness and engagement with your organization?  Business Wire continues to recommend a mix of tools including:

  • Use broad distribution via a commercial newswire to guarantee your full-text press release is simultaneously put in front of reporters, analysts and interested online parties.
  • Include multimedia to enhance your news – analysts love multimedia, especially video from senior team members.  Not only does multimedia increase viewership and news sharing, it has been proven to both drive deeper company-to-consumer relationships and also humanizes the brand.
  • Blog about it:  One of the best uses for corporate blogs is the ability to provide additional context for corporate news.  These are perfect vehicles to showcase the “why” of your story. And blogs that answer expected media and analyst questions help reporters provide better news coverage, ensuring further approved message permeation, decreasing message confusion and stock volatility.
  • Sharing news socially is a great idea!  Once your news has been posted to your website, share it out across your social channels.  Include Tweet this links inside your release copy to make it easy for your readers to share your highlights.
  • Live tweet:  One of the best ways to use social networks to share out news is to live tweet major events or news.  Draft tweets based on key elements of your press release and tweet them out with links back to your news. Include created multimedia to drive even higher engagement and sharing.
  • Utilize video chats: Create a video version of your blog and share each video’s embed links with key reporters and analysts. Today’s news outlets crave video content, as it both engages readers and increases the time the reader spends on their website. Analysts like the opportunity to see as well as hear from senior management. And of course, just like the blog, this content continues to drive message permeation.
  • Monitor the Conversation:  This is the number one way analysts today use social media.  They use it to see what people are saying about you, your product, your reputation and company.  The best way for organizations to utilize social media for disclosure is to listen.  What are people saying about your company, what misconceptions need to be clarified, what message points are resonating and which ones are not? Through listening you can not only find where conversations are occurring about your brand, but major themes, providing you with a roadmap for future discussion points.

There is a real, legitimate place for social media tools and platforms in the news distribution process, just not for material disclosure.

What do you think? Do social media platforms meet the requirement for consistent broad disclosure? We would love to hear your thoughts below!

Have questions about the role social media plays in the news distribution process? Let us know!


Social Investor Forum, Stockr and Business Wire Host Interactive Expert Discussion “The Future of Twitter as a Public Company”

October 1, 2013

Last week, Twitter triggered a firestorm of questions among media, financial and industry analysts when they announced their potential IPO.  Would this IPO soar like LinkedIn or fail like Groupon?  Would trading issue arise? Is Twitter even ready to go public?  Has Twitter solved the monetization issue?  Who are Twitter’s demographics? What markets are growing, and which ones are leveling off?  Let’s face it, when it comes to social platforms and IPOs, everyone has an opinion.  But who is right?  Who is wrong?  Where can you turn to find out, from the industry experts, the likelihood of success or failure?  Right here:  http://bit.ly/15100mN

Earlier this week, Stockr, the emerging social platform for investors and public companies kicked off an interactive, engaging expert level discussion on “The Future of Twitter as a Public Company.” This panel, sponsored by Business Wire, and moderated by former Wall Street Journal reporter and editor Jessica Lessin feature the following industry experts:

  • M. Scott Havens, President of The Atlantic
  • Michael Pachter, Managing Director at Wedbush Securities
  • Craig Coblenz, Former Director of Sales at Facebook
  • Lou Kerner, Founder of the Second Internet Fund
  • Jon Dick, Director of Business Development at Klout
  • Simon Khalaf, CEO of Flurry

Stockr Panels are virtual forums where industry experts and investment professionals discuss the companies and topics that investors want to know more about. Stockr members can engage panelists by posting their questions and sharing their own views.

Investors considering owning Twitter stock need to understand the company’s growth path and prospects as a public company. This panel of experts provides investors and interested parties educated opinions on participating in Twitter’s IPO. 

Learn more about Twitter, and the future of investor discussion platforms at http://bit.ly/15100mN

Click here to learn more about the Stockr and Business Wire partnership press release.


Journalists Offer Pitching Tips at SoCal Media Breakfast

August 6, 2012
by Kathy Tomasino, Client Services Representative, Business Wire/Newport Beach
Kathy Tomasino

Kathy Tomasino

It was a full house last month when Executives and PR professionals from Southern California attended Business Wire Newport Beach’s Meet the Media event in Costa Mesa.

The event was moderated by Daniel Rhodes, VP Public Relations at Global Results Communications, and our panel of experts included Tom Berg from the Orange County Register, Chris Casacchia from the Orange County Business Journal and Kyle Ellicott from TechZulu.

The event was focused on how to best pitch your company’s story to both local and national press and how reporters are now using social media sites such as Twitter for story leads.

Below are a few tips captured from the event:

  • Make introductions with a reporter before you pitch your story idea.
  • Reporters use social media sites such as Twitter to find story leads.
  • Email is the preferred way to pitch over a phone call.
  • Have a story and be genuine about how you present it.
  • Find a way in – use “nuggets” to grab reporters’ attention.

Although Twitter is a great resource for story ideas, Casacchia advised our audience to only tease their story ideas on such sites and to also use a wire service such as Business Wire for the full press release. (Business Wire does automatically tweet press release headlines via dozens of industry-specific feeds.)  Casacchia also recommended that you know your audience when delving into social media.  Although social sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are great outlets to promote your story ideas, you must only use the outlets that fit your company style and business as not all may work for a bank or law firm, for example.

Ellicott mentioned that mobile ads have a huge potential especially since more and more people are using their mobile phones for news and all other things.  Luckily for our clients, all Business Wire press releases automatically feed into the AP Mobile app and other mobile applications.

Berg is a great storyteller and uses sites such as Twitter for story ideas.  He recommended our audience use social media to get the buzz going about a story, although the wire is still the first place he will look for news directly from the source.

All of our speakers may be followed via Twitter at @OCStoryteller (Tom Berg); @ccasacchia (Chris Casacchia); @kyleellicott (Kyle Ellicott) and @GlobalResults (Daniel Rhodes).

 

 

 

 


The World’s Biggest Media & Facebook – An Evolving Relationship

April 11, 2012

By Michel Rubini, International MRT Specialist – London

In 2007, Rupert Murdoch joked about Facebook overtaking MySpace as the most popular social networking site on the web.  Not long after, it was no laughing matter.

While Facebook might not be the best social networking site, or offer the best user experience, or even the most innovative solutions, it has been accepted as the standard by most internet users. Facebook has now reached the 600 million user mark, so it is no surprise that media organisations across the world are looking into ways to tap into this pool of potential readers.

At a recent News:Rewired event (a periodical digital journalism conference) in London, I listened to speakers from some of the world’s biggest media organisations explain how they are facing — and mostly embracing — Facebook.

The most enthusiastic evangelist was Martin Belam, User Experience Lead at The Guardian. Belam explained how their new Facebook application has been hugely successful. The application allows users to share Guardian content easily with their friends, and so far, six million people have downloaded it. One of the most exciting things, according to Belam, is that 54 percent of the users are under 24 – the kind of audience the Guardian has always aspired to reach.

Belam also explained that a younger audience means a younger kind of content becoming popular on the application. He denied there was any danger of a “dumbing down” The Guardian. “To my mind, if we are producing that content anyway – which we do – then why wouldn’t we want it to reach as wide an audience as possible?” he asked.

Belam also noted that there is growing evidence that the Facebook application alone is producing as many views for articles as the guardian.co.uk site, in practice doubling the amount of traffic a story gets.

Liz Heron, former social media editor of The New York Times and current director of social media and engagement with The Wall Street Journal, seemed to agree with Martin. “In the new landscape, the question is no longer whether we do social media, the question is how. How can we make our social media experiences stand out?”

She went on to note that fifty New York Times journalists offer Facebook subscription streams; and that all reporters have been encouraged lately to try Facebook, especially foreign correspondents. The advantage of Facebook, she said, is that it offers great crowdsourcing opportunities and can yield insightful comments and debates. However, the majority of New York Times journalists are still using Twitter. This is due to the fact that most journalists are aware of the dangers of mixing personal profiles with professional lives.

Nate Lanxon, editor of wired.co.uk was very clear about the importance of Facebook. He admitted that for 5 years WIRED had ignored Facebook.  That has recently changed. He has now printed a big photo of Mark Zuckerberg which is passed around the office. The person with the photo is the editor of the WIRED Facebook page for that day. The physical presence of the photo has helped the newsroom embrace Facebook in its daily publishing routine.

Lanxon said one of their key discoveries was that having a presence on Facebook wasn’t about driving fans to WIRED, it was about driving WIRED to fans. Lanxon also noted that Facebook follows its own news cycle. Facebook items seem to increase in traffic around the late afternoon and evenings, when users log in to check their latest feeds.

These three examples seem to show a clear shift in how well regarded (and global) news organisations are fully embracing the enormous readership potential offered by Facebook.


Tweeting the Campaign: Three Ways Social Media is Changing the Way Reporters Cover the Election

March 5, 2012
by Shawnee Cohn, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/New York
MRT

Shawnee Cohn

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo recently proposed that 2012 is going to be the year of the “Twitter Election,” referring to the power that the social network offers presidential candidates to engage with voters.

Not only are candidates contributing to the Twitter conversation, but the media is also breaking important campaign news in 140 characters or less. Here at Business Wire, we offer all of our Public Policy and Election news at the Twitter handle @BW_PublicPolicy.

In response to this trend in news distribution, Twitter recently created an official account, @TwitterForNews, which offers tips for journalists on how to cover the 2012 election most effectively.

As part of Social Media Week, The New York Times hosted a panel discussion which delved deeper into the topic of how social media impacts political coverage. The panel featured:

The panelists offered compelling evidence for the argument that social media is critical when sending out your election-related news. Here are some highlights of how journalists utilize Twitter and other social networks:

To monitor breaking news: Stevenson stated that “every political reporter uses Twitter as a news feed all day long.” Smith agreed, admitting that he now heavily relies on Twitter traffic, in addition to some RSS news feeds, to get the day’s headlines. Instead of tuning in to watch the debates on television, one could simply scan all of the highlights by solely reading relevant tweets, noted Hamby. However, both Hamby and Stevenson advised that it is important to occasionally detach yourself from Twitter. Taking a step outside the Twitter realm helps journalists to avoid snap judgments and observe the opinions of those who are not as involved with the social network. Being that reporters rely on various mediums to get their news, it is important to send out your message on multiple platforms, such as a news wire, Twitter, mobile alerts, etc.

To accurately relay readers’ real concerns: Michel discussed how social media offers journalists the capacity to “systematically engage people” and therefore “find stories that you wouldn’t otherwise.” Smith also uses Twitter as a “place to find questions” from the public, rather than answers. Social networks allow the media to get a feel for what people are wondering about, and to consequently be more responsible to their audience, said Stevenson. For example, in the recent cases of the Komen/Planned Parenthood decision and the SOPA bill, journalists monitored the negative reactions to the policy choices on social networks and chose to report on the backlash in depth. The Washington Post places importance on reflecting “what’s happening socially,” and incorporating the “conversation around things” into their reports, says Zamora.

To interact with other political reporters:  Stevenson explained there is a “clubhouse effect” when it comes to political reporters; they tend to engage in discussion with one another and this can sometimes lead to a closed feedback loop. This creates a sort of “virtual spin room” that plays out in real-time. You can watch and learn from this ongoing conversation by following multiple political journalists (you must follow both users on Twitter to be able to see @ messages). It is also critical to establish yourself as a credible source if you are trying to gain the attention of any number of these reporters. CNN and other major media will not report anything on Twitter that they would not report on any other platform – a valid source is always essential.

For more information on Social Media Week, visit socialmediaweek.org.You can find the latest election/campaign news by registering at www.businesswire.com, or by following @BWPolitics and @BW_PublicPolicy.


Small Businesses Take Heed: Social Media Basics Bring Big Business Opportunities!

February 29, 2012
by Rishika Luthra, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/Toronto
Rishika Luthra

Rishika Luthra

In a very short span of time, the social media landscape has undergone a sea-change.  For example, Twitter — a platform which was, until recently, attracting audiences who wanted to know what their favourite celebrities are doing in real-time — now boasts of an eclectic community of enthusiasts who are more aware, involved and engaged. What’s more, we even witnessed Canada’s first “social media election” in 2011!

There have been inevitable changes on the economic front as well. Canada’s growth in 2012 will be slightly below average, according to Deputy Chief Economist Doug Porter, BMO. That said, there is no denying that, at present, Canada is a relative safe haven compared to other economies, running the lowest inflation rates internationally.

So how do you accelerate small business growth in our economic times? The first question you need to ask yourself as a small business is which area of your business do you want to be successful in? Is it lead-generation and sales? Or is it customer service? Doing a goal-definition up front is crucial because social media may be free, but your resources and time are not!

In short, defining success is the key point of measuring it, suggests a panel of social media experts who recently participated in a Social Media Week Toronto 2012 session, hosted by BMO (Bank of Montreal), in a room teeming with Canadian entrepreneurs.

Start with your customers

“Being able to identify your key customer helps determine where your message will resonate best,” suggests Julie Howlett, Account Director of Global Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn Canada.

Chris Eben, a partner at The Working Group,  believes in starting small, connecting with customers and doing it in a real, genuine way.

Set social media policy and guidelines

Liz Strauss, Founder of Inside-Out Thinking, strongly suggests looking to build a social media policy, regardless of the size of your business.

Identifying who is going to respond to the information you share is just as essential.

“Using Social Media platforms sans specific guidelines is another way of ensuring that things could go well out of control,” warns Chris Eben.

One of the best examples of a small business that gets social media right is two-year-old Toronto-based Sprouter, a company that provides entrepreneurs everywhere with a platform to connect and engage for commentaries on small business issues, emerging technology trends and startup-related enquiries. Erin Bury, Director of Content & Communications at Sprouter, recently participated in a Social Media Week Breakfast session hosted by Business Wire Canada.

Mitigate negative publicity by being open to feedback

If you are social, you’ve got to be open to feedback, which could be positive or negative. Lack of answering or being “present” within your community is going to be harmful.

Remember that negative comments come from someone who wants to argue or someone who wants to be heard. The idea is to disengage with the former while genuinely engaging with the latter. The power to turn negative into positive rests in your hands.

Social media is all about engagement and the coolest tip for you is to attend events like Startup Weekend, one of the best examples of validating an idea with a relevant customer base, according to Chris.

Now that you have the mantra to bring your business up to speed, remember that being good at social media does not guarantee success. Being good at service does!


PR Peeps Poll: More than Half Say Twitter More Effective as Broadcast Tool Today than A Year Ago

November 8, 2011

by Monika Maeckle, Vice President New Media

In the wake of 250 million tweets per day, professional communicators continue to embrace Twitter with 55 % of those polled citing it as “more effective” than it was a year ago for messaging, a recent PR Peeps Poll found.

Of 161 public relations professionals who responded to our survey, 88, or 55%, found Twitter “more effective” as a communications/broadcast messaging tool than it was 12 months ago;  65, or 40%, found it “less effective.”

Twitter as a search tool seemed less improved in the past 12 months.  Almost half of communicators labeled it “about the same” in its effectiveness for search compared to last year, while a third (33%) said it was “more effective.”

Interestingly,  communicators are 3.5 times as likely to use Twitter primarily for messaging as they do for search–125, or 78% vs. 36, or 22%.  Details below.

Compared to a year ago, how effective is Twitter as a communications/broadcast messaging tool for you?

More effective     88, or 65%
Less effective       6, or 4%

Same                       65, or 41%

More effective     53, or 33%
Less effective      34, or 21%
Same                        74,   or 46%

As messaging tool     125, or 78%
As search tool                 36, or 22%

How else do communicators utilize Twitter?  Survey comments included PR professionals lauding the real time info network’s myriad abilities, including:  “creating connections with target audiences,” “efficient information gathering,” “as a pitch tool” and “shameless self promotion!”

We’ve executed several PR Peeps polls on Twitter, if you’re interested:  What’s your company’s favorite tool for social media outreach?, and Do you tweet the links to your press releases?

To those who participated, thank you for responding to our PR Peeps Poll.   If you’re not already, why not follow us on Twitter?  We are @businesswire.

161 respondents via Twitter, email and Business Wire webinar polls. Poll conducted conducted September – October 2011.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 590 other followers

%d bloggers like this: