Introduction to social media

Social media can be an intimidating new channel for the sharing of corporate and investor-focused information. There are dozens of available social media platforms, new words such as "tweeting", and vague rules around what is acceptable in social media. The intention of this blog post is to highlight a few key areas for people who are new to social media.

Why are you using social media? State your objectives

Before you make the leap into social media you should clearly define what you want to achieve via social. The following are some common use cases:

1. Follow the opinions of influencers, investors, and consumers about your company and your industry. For example, this Twitter user tweets about Enbridge:

2. Create investor and consumer awareness of your company by sharing interesting content and engaging with social media users

3. Increase investor engagement by sharing key information and guiding them to specific news releases or linking to your corporate website

While there are many other reasons why you might use social media as part of your overall corporate communications strategy, the above highlights a few different examples of how people are using social media today. It is important to understand your objectives before you dive into social media because some platforms will help you reach your goals with greater efficacy than others.

Start small- one or two social platforms until you're comfortable

Once you have identified your social media objectives you can then choose the platform that best aligns with your goals. For corporate communications and IR the top three social platforms to consider are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Start with just one of these platforms rather than skimming the surface on all three and diluting your message. Once you are comfortable with social media and have developed the right internal processes to make effective use of the channel, expand your audience by moving into another social network. Remember, not all social platforms are built alike—understanding the relative strengths and weaknesses of each platform can help you choose the type of messaging you push forth in each.

Be aware of what your competitors are doing in social

Knowing what your competitors are doing is crucial to any faucet of your business, and the same applies to social media. Finding out what your competitors are doing in social media is a quick and easy way to understand how other strategies in social media compare to your own. For example, follow your competitors on Twitter and see how they are using the platform. Are they using it to post key information about company changes? Are they engaging with potential investors?

If your competitors are using social media effectively and you aren’t, you’re at a disadvantage.

Consider purchasing a monitoring and analytics tool

The effective use of social media is both an art and a science, and given the sheer volumes of data it can become overwhelming quickly. How do you filter out spam? How do you identify which negative social messages you should reply to? How do you identify which social media users are seen as influencers for your company or industry?

This is where social media monitoring, publishing, and analytic tools such as Finmaven come into play. Such tools aim to sort out the social landscape for you and to help you focus your resources and dollars in a way that generates good ROI for your company. For example, Finmaven allows you to monitor a publicly traded security with the click of a button and be alerted to any spikes in content exceeding ordinary social chatter. It also allows you to post content and run analytics on your posts such as how many people clicked your link or saw the post. If you’re just getting into social media and are wary of it being a time consuming pursuit, it may be worth spending the nominal cost to purchase a social media monitoring and analytics tool.

On the heels of the recent SEC ruling on social media and the Australian Securities Exchange making social media monitoring mandatory, the writing is on the wall. Social media will continue to grow and become more relevant; if you aren’t involved, you’re at a disadvantage.

Scott Cameron,