Category Archives: Social media for IR

StockTwits drives 89% of $cashtagged social media investor traffic

stvtwitterEvery now-and-again, it’s good to take a glance at social media in context to investor relations. Certainly, one of the strengths of social media is that it is (mostly) fiscally free. You can experiment. That said, there is a time cost/burden to consider. 

This post is not a competitive debate between StockTwits and Twitter. Although they are distinctly different channels, you do not have to choose one over the other. This is a discussion about targeting your shareholder communications to social media-minded investors… maximizing your efforts in social media.

Every Monday in Q4 2016, I simultaneously posted identical $cashtagged content into both the networks of StockTwits and Twitter. The inbound traffic generated from that outbound was monitored and measured.

The outbound content drove, directly due to the $cashtags, 540 inbound traffic referrals. StockTwits delivered 89% of the traffic compared to Twitter’s 11%.

Bottom-line: if and when you are sharing your IR content into social media, if your company is tweeting your $cashtagged content only into Twitter and not into StockTwits, you are walking away from most all of your social media investors.

And… if you are not including your $cashtag at all – in Twitter or StockTwits, you are walking away from most everybody in the capital markets. $Cashtagss are how investors sort and filter tweets within StockTwits and Twitter… and the portals that they feed into like Bloomberg. Your $cashtag is your targeting tool.


StockTwits is the purest social media network on the planet

Investor Relations Officers don’t realize how lucky they are. StockTwits, by design, is the last unspoiled capital markets social media network.

Objectively, in addition to having a higher apples-to-apples volume of activity compared to Twitter, the network:

  • Is only comprised of members who are interested in capital markets
  • Is proactively monitored to prevent pump-and-dump activity and faux accounts
  • Does not allow discussions of penny stocks or pinks – their $cashtags are not “activated” in the network – which is focused almost exclusively on NYSE and NASDAQ traded equities
  • Feeds into professional and public capital markets research portals

Subjectively, if you review the StockTwits stream, you’ll note that most of the discussion are what an investor is doing now – at that moment. They are not blogging an opinion or analysis, which has negatively permeated many of the long-form blog-based social media channels. The physical limitations of a 140 character micro-blog prevents StockTwits from becoming another ‘stock newsletter” content publisher.


IR should not be concerned about lack of social media control – but of consistency


This is more of an update rather than a core discussion. By now, investor relations have expressed their collective “meh” for using social media with any of the verve demonstrated by their comrades on PR or marketing teams. Mostly, the IR consensus is that their audience is not using social media as a corporate information point.

The attitude often written in this blog towards IR and social media has been steadfast: it’s a tile in the mosaic of shareholder communications.

To keep on the topic from the headline above, this discussion hits on the SEC’s 2013 guidance accepting social media as a Reg FD disclosure point. This month, there are two wrinkles that have impact on “if” social media is a tool in a corporate disclosure policy:


…has adjusted their algorithm “to help make sure you don’t miss the friends and family posts you are likely to care about, we put those posts toward the top of your News Feed.”

  • This means any consistent posting to Facebook is effectively annulled. Facebook is not a linear time-based news feed. You can never prevent – or confirm – that Investor A is not seeing your news before Investor B. This may not be selective disclosure by intent, but is it rather flibberty jibberty.


…has removed Twitter and StockTwits from their newly designed portal. This is disappointing for a few reasons:

  •  The sheer amount of $CASHTAGGED traffic of your news and shareholder-shared discussions will noticeably drop. Our weekly IPO traffic has already experienced that, as we use $cashtags weekly.
  • The “conversations,” although labeled with a social media $cashtag seem to simply be the Yahoo chat boards – which, as always, are ripe with unmonitored pump-and-dump…
  • …which StockTwits did not allow in their feed. In fact, they proactively police their feed/portal. Their members are passionate day-traders, not pumpers.


Neither of these two points will have any meaningful impact on most IR teams. However, it does clearly demonstrate that social media platforms are independent businesses – and their businesses are NOT interested in consistent – not to mention simultaneous – disclosure of material information to shareholders.


Investor relations and social medi(um) to luke warm

Last week, the shareholder communications sphere experienced the hat trick of “IR and social media” reports coming from three independent studies. No surprise to anyone in the niche – all reports were aligned.

The studies, in published order:

babyyawnFrom NIRI:

  • The majority of corporate investor relations (IR) professionals (73 percent) report they do not use social media for their work. These results have been consistent since NIRI first began to track social media for IR use in 2010.
  • The primary reason IR professionals do not use social media is due to lack of interest in the medium by the investment community.
  • By constituency, respondents report that industry analysts, financial media, and retail investors are the most actively engaged with their IR departments through social media channels.
  • Perceived investor interest across all constituency types appears to have waned since 2013.

From Rivel:

  • For now, investors will simply continue questioning the credibility of investment information gathered via social media and bide their time until its use is more commonplace and they can better tell what to trust and what not to trust.

From Vintage & PR Newswire:

  • Six percent more IROs are tweeting/StockTwitting. The most dramatic change, is the determination of “no, we will not be tweeting.” 56% report “no,” up from 19% in 2013. IR understands the media now.

Should IROs ignore social media?

No. that’s not the answer at all. Social media is an important communications network, with pros and cons like any network. Our shareholder communications advice has always stated use social media to get your facts and financial brand into the stream for others to share. Spend the appropriate amount of energy in balance with the ROI. No more, no less.

This blog post sums it up well.


How Twitter’s new algorithmic filtering will impact investor relations

“Algorithmic” is not the most favorite word in the capital markets, but rather than high-frequency-trading, this discussion is around shareholder communications and disclosure.


Twitter is initiating a new version of its timeline that positions tweets by filtering per content attributes in addition to chronological posting. This means when a user opens Twitter, after a certain time-period away, “selected” tweets will appear up at the top of the streaming timeline in reverse chronological order. The balance of the stream will appear, as usual, below the selected tweets.

The impact for IR?

One point for IR regarding this new change is that this continues to reinforce that social media-based networks are not an investor relations-controllable channel for shareholder communications. This is unlike email or (ahem) newswire distribution.

Algorithmic filtering is just that, a filter. Twitter’s algorithm will consider the different Twitter accounts and types of tweets a user characteristically interacts with, their likes, their retweets, engagement among the people they follow and even the activities of Twitter users with comparable interests. Note…algorithmic filtering is not new: Facebook has been doing this for a while.

Time will tell if this matters at all to IR.

Simply, the recipients and the hosting-media organization itself control the final disclosure, not the sender. Certainly, social media is not a “favored” media shareholder communications anyway, but it is a real-world element of any corporation’s omnichannel comminutions strategy. It’s wise to be aware of the fluidity of the different channels.

BTW. If you do have fervent Twitter users following your stock, they are already self- filtering via a $cashtag. More to that, as our data has shown, StockTwits is where the social media-based investors tweet it up.

Introducing The-Grandest-Most-Supreme-IR-and-Social-Media-Blog-Post-Ever

Wait for it…




Herein this one lone tweet, lies the single, precarious aspect of relying on social media as a Reg FD disclosure media – IR and counsel may not know the dissemination rules (and limits!) of the media.

Twitter’s published rules per the tweet above:

If you’ve reached the account-based follow limit (2,000 users), you’ll need to wait until you yourself have more followers before you can follow additional users. Follow limits are system-wide; Support cannot remove or adjust your follow limits.

To follow one or two additional users, unfollow a few accounts you’re currently following. Please note, however, that regularly following and unfollowing many accounts at a time is a violation of the Twitter Rules and can result in account suspension.

Is this The-Grandest-Most-Supreme-IR-and-Social-Media-Blog-Post-Ever a little dramatic? Absolutely. However, in context to the years of bandwagoning and name-calling IR has had to put up with from social media pundits about “getting-with-the-times” and “missing-the-boat,” its tenor is appropriate.

Please note that the tweet above from the Twitter investor is poignant in its irony, but the information (follower) cap applies to any company that decides to only use Twitter and their own website for material disclosure. Carefully check each social media channel’s capabilities through your shareholder’s lens.

Our view remains the same. 1.) Social media is a great channel. 2.) Shareholder communications is a mosaic. 3.) Don’t let “newswire fees” be a barrier to safe and broad disclosure. Talk to us. Even better, 4.) Switch to us.

StockTwits is the 83% powerhouse of “tweet-ish” investor traffic

This summer’s “much-to-do-about-nothing” news was that Nestle IR was shutting down its IR dedicated independent Twitter feed and rolling its IR tweets into with the cooperate Twitter feed. The reason stated by Nestle was simply lack of ROI.

Fair enough. So where can an IR department find ROI? This prompted a review of our apples-to-apples research looking at both Twitter and StockTwits. Note: although this is a comparison, you do not have to choose one over the other. Use both if you wish. This is a discussion about targeting your shareholder communications to social media-minded investors… maximizing your efforts in social media.


The chart above is representative of all Twitter and StockTwits trafiic generated for the month of August 2015 – via identical $CASHTAGGED content I simultaneously posted  into both the networks of StockTwits and Twitter. The inbound traffic generated from that outbound was monitored and measured.

The 4 pieces of outbound content drove, directly due to the $CASHTAGs, 298 inbound traffic referrals. StockTwits delivered 246 compared to Twitter’s 52.

Bottom-line: if and when you are sharing your IR content into social media, if you are tweeting your $CASHTAGGED content only into Twitter and not into StockTwits, you are walking away from 83% of the audience who want this tweet-based content from you.

And… if you are not including your $CASHTAG, you are walking away from most everybody in the capital markets. $CASHTAGs are how investors sort and filter tweets within StockTwits and Twitter. Your $CASHTAG is your targeting tool.

ACTION ITEM: StockTwits and Twitter are news streams. If you have further questions about StockTwits and Twitter – including their differences and how to use them with very little work, please download this whitepaper.

Two glass-half-full investor relations lessons from the Twitter early release

Needless to say, yesterday was a bad day for Twitter – and for those of us within the shareholder communications business with empathy. Here is the YAHOO! write-up on the drama. As you’ll read in the Yahoo! article, Twitter is not the first casualty of this type of error.


Two points:

  • Instead of preemptively issuing your IR website provider a copy of your earnings release for manual set-up and “go live,” enable your IR website to AUTOMATICALLY receive and release material news directly from your newswire provider. This automation prevents the pre-staged “a la’ carte” HTML earnings release webpage from either being hacked or mistakenly taken live.

Automation marks your official newswire powered news release as the core dissemination point for market moving news. Everything else is fed from that: IR site, email alerts, Twitter, StockTwits, RSS, etc. One and done and as simultaneous as the internet can be. Here is a whitepaper that discusses Twitter, StockTwits and your newsflow.

Today, in the IR-product environment, all the IR website vendors have offered news release auto-posting for several years (our IR website solution is called IR Room). It’s not difficult to enable, but it does require configuration and QA testing. Please don’t try to knee-jerk automation in for this quarter.

  • IR departments need to use this as another indication of the strength of social media. It’s unfortunate that it’s a missed expectations example.

Cynically, we could huff this away as another “bad news travels fast in social media” scenario – however, in this case, it is important to understand that (for their marketing purposes I assume) Twitter does not use a newswire – all their material news is sent and $CASHTAGGED via their own network.

Their investor audience was trained, primed and ready to react from any news in their Twitter stream. And react they did. Like it or not, investors are using social media.


Again, here is a whitepaper that discusses Twitter, StockTwits and your newsflow.

Feel free to dismiss the points above as being newswire biased. The automation feature will prevent this type of error.

Best wishes for a glitch-free earnings season!

What IR and general counsel need to know about Twitter’s new direct message policy change

On Monday, Twitter announced that its direct message (DM) system – which allows connected followers to communicate privately to one another – will now allow anyone to DM to anyone. The pros and cons of this new policy appear to be 50% – 50% from social media pundits.

Investor relations and general counsel need to be aware of this new feature ASAP – especially banks, who have a compliance regulation to report and follow-up on any complaints from their customers… regardless of the media. This point was discussed in depth at the NYSE Governance’s General Counsel Forum.


Your brand’s Twitter DM can become an inbound box for client (and random) communications even though your corporate Twitter policy is to not “follow back” everyone that follows you. Also, it may become a spam box.


It’s an optional feature. You can opt-out of this new DM feature. See below. Click to enlarge.


You may already be opted-out.  Be sure to confirm that.

Please note, I am not evangelizing “do not communicate with investors via social media.”  I am evangelizing “keep your material communications channels organized.”

Have a nice weekend.

We’ve made it even easier for IR to ignore social media


So, how can investor relations departments assure that their material news is feeding the Twittersphere without having to do extra work? Or any work, for that matter? (We know it’s not a favorite topic.)

INTRODUCING our Auto-Tweet-Synch-Thingy function. Apologies it does have a better name. Here’s how it works:

  • Link up one or more Twitter accounts with your PR Newswire news distribution portal (we call it the Online Member Center – OMC) .
  • As you are uploading your news release for distribution and select your Absolutely Superior newswire and channel distribution choices – you’ll next select the “Post Your Release to Your Twitter Timeline” box.
  • Type or paste in your message. Feel free to keep life simple and paste in your headline.
  • Add your $CASHTAG !!
  • Select one or all of the Twitter account you want to Tweet through.
  • Complete your OMC process.
  • Ta-da.

Your tweet will be sent to your Twitter followers in conjunction with your release being delivered across the PR Newswire network.


How this helps investor relations departments:

  • Zero effort to place your earnings and financial news into the Twitter news stream
  • Gentle reminder for PR and IR administrators to send the tweet
  • Assures that Twitter-based investors have your official news to share
  • Saves time

Here’s our whitepaper on Twitter and Stocktwits. More and more, getting your news into these streams will matter. Our new Twitter integration helps you with that. There is no extra fee, BTW.

Board Directors now discussing more pro – than con – of social media

This morning’s Vintage-moderated social media discussion at the NYSE Governance Boardroom Summit brought together a room full of general counsel and directors from a wide variety of publicly-listed companies. The discussion was “Social Media: Communications, Compliance or Just Plain Circumspect.”

The conversation began with some basic social media vocabulary (what is a cashtag) but quickly evolved to discussions of policies and risk.

Vintage and PR Newswire partner with the NYSE at all governance summits and with products for their issuers.

Vintage and PR Newswire partner with the NYSE at all governance summits and with investor relations products for their issuers.

The most interesting, if anecdotal, observation is that most directors now understand the potential of social media – not just the risk. Additionally, similar to fall session, the risk is National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) based, not RegFD. Also, in light of the constant influx of social media products (Snapchat, Yik Yak, etc.), there has been a sense of leveling / stabilization of the main channels used by companies.

Bits and bytes:

  • Forget about “control.” Conferring to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), employers’ attempts to control or limit what employees post on social media websites and their personal accounts often violate the employees’ rights to engage in protected activity. Focus on “communications” instead.

Apart from legal guidance, employees need to have transparency intothe company’s goal on why and how social media is being used to promote the business’ goals. Employees need to understand why the policy exists so they treat it with respect and understand the company’s strategy. Also, get them involved…explain how EVERYONE can work to extend the company’s message.

To that, a social media policy needs to outline the company’s social media strategy. At times this means encouraging employees to “retweet” and share the brand’s outreach – other times it emphasizes the negative consequences to the employee of rogue social media posts.

  • Limit official social media policy to communications about company products or services and anti-harassment guidelines. Clarify any discipline.
  • Explain RegD and how the disclosure of confidential, nonpublic information could affect the company’s stock price and investor behavior.
  • Indicate restrictions on the unauthorized use of corporate logos, trademarks and copyrighted material in social media posts.
  • Provide examples of best practices for social media communications. Provide examples of improper social media communications.

The five take-aways where:

  1. Ask to see your companies’ social media policy – like the NLRB example below.
  2. Learn more about social media monitoring. Most all in the room did not realize that there were “single portal tools” like our Agility product (sales pitch) that can parse the web (clear out the noise) for relevant social media content about their companies.
  3. The simple equity monitoring exercise of a cashtag search. NO ONE knew of this.
  4. Meet with General Counsel. Learn what their view on social media is – what tone have they set and if they are unnecessarily hindering communication.
  5. Discover if investor relations have established a presence – especially for crisis communications. Social media accelerates everything.

Lastly, none of the board members in the audience felt it was their role to “tweet.”



At [COMPANY], we understand that social media can be a fun and rewarding way to share your life and opinions with family, friends and co-workers around the world. However, use of social media also presents certain risks and carries with it certain responsibilities. To assist you in making responsible decisions about your use of social media, we have established these guidelines for appropriate use of social media.

This policy applies to all associates who work for [COMPANY], or one of its subsidiary companies in the United States [COMPANY].  Managers and supervisors should use the supplemental Social Media Management Guidelines for additional guidance in administering the policy.


In the rapidly expanding world of electronic communication, social media can mean many things.  Social media includes all means of communicating or posting information or content of any sort on the Internet, including to your own or someone else’s web log or blog, journal or diary, personal web site, social networking or affinity web site, web bulletin board or a chat room, whether or not associated or affiliated with [COMPANY], as well as any other form of electronic communication.  The same principles and guidelines found in [COMPANY] policies and three basic beliefs apply to your activities online. Ultimately, you are solely responsible for what you post online. Before creating online content, consider some of the risks and rewards that are involved. Keep in mind that any of your conduct that adversely affects your job performance, the performance of fellow associates or otherwise adversely affects members, customers, suppliers, people who work on behalf of [COMPANY] or [COMPANY’s] legitimate business interests may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Know and follow the rules

Carefully read these guidelines, the [COMPANY] Statement of Ethics Policy, the [COMPANY] Information Policy and the Discrimination & Harassment Prevention Policy, and ensure your postings are consistent with these policies. Inappropriate postings that may include discriminatory remarks, harassment, and threats of violence or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct will not be tolerated and may subject you to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Be respectful

Always be fair and courteous to fellow associates, customers, members, suppliers or people who work on behalf of [COMPANY]. Also, keep in mind that you are more likely to resolved work-related complaints by speaking directly with your co-workers or by utilizing our Open Door Policy than by posting complaints to a social media outlet. Nevertheless, if you decide to post complaints or criticism, avoid using statements, photographs, video or audio that reasonably could be viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening or intimidating, that disparage customers, members, associates or suppliers, or that might constitute harassment or bullying. Examples of such conduct might include offensive posts meant to intentionally harm someone’s reputation or posts that could contribute to a hostile work environment on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion or any other status protected by law or company policy.

Be honest and accurate

Make sure you are always honest and accurate when posting information or news, and if you make a mistake, correct it quickly. Be open about any previous posts you have altered.  Remember that the Internet archives almost everything; therefore, even deleted postings can be searched. Never post any information or rumors that you know to be false about [COMPANY], fellow associates, members, customers, suppliers, people working on behalf of [COMPANY] or competitors.

Post only appropriate and respectful content

Maintain the confidentiality of [COMPANY] trade secrets and private or confidential information. Trades secrets may include information regarding the development of systems, processes, products, know-how and technology. Do not post internal reports, policies, procedures or other internal business-related confidential communications.

Respect financial disclosure laws. It is illegal to communicate or give a “tip” on inside information to others so that they may buy or sell stocks or securities. Such online conduct may also violate the Insider Trading Policy.

Do not create a link from your blog, website or other social networking site to a [COMPANY] website without identifying yourself as a [COMPANY] associate.

Express only your personal opinions. Never represent yourself as a spokesperson for [COMPANY]. If [COMPANY] is a subject of the content you are creating, be clear and open about the fact that you are an associate and make it clear that your views do not represent those of [Employer], fellow associates, members, customers, suppliers or people working on behalf of [COMPANY]. If you do publish a blog or post online related to the work you do or subjects associated with [COMPANY], make it clear that you are not speaking on behalf of [COMPANY]. It is best to include a disclaimer such as “The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of [COMPANY].”

Using social media at work

Refrain from using social media while on work time or on equipment we provide, unless it is work-related as authorized by your manager or consistent with the Company Equipment Policy.  Do not use [COMPANY] email addresses to register on social networks, blogs or other online tools utilized for personal use.

Retaliation is prohibited

[COMPANY] prohibits taking negative action against any associate for reporting a possible deviation from this policy or for cooperating in an investigation. Any associate who retaliates against another associate for reporting a possible deviation from this policy or for cooperating in an investigation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Media contacts

Associates should not speak to the media on [COMPANY’S] behalf without contacting the Corporate Affairs Department. All media inquiries should be directed to them.

For more information

If you have questions or need further guidance, please contact your HR representative.