FTI study: Corporate social platforms leave info gaps

Journalists and investors said corporate-controlled social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter exclude "significant" company information, according to a study by FTI Consulting's strategic communications segment released on Friday.

WEST PALM BEACH, FL: Journalists and investors said corporate-controlled social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter exclude “significant” company information, according to a study by FTI Consulting's strategic communications segment released on Friday.

Although 88% of media and 50% of investors say a company disseminating news via social media platforms is useful, only 41% of media and 13% of investors are able to locate relevant corporate information online, the study said.

“When it comes to financial information, a crisis, a milestone, or an event about company performance, many companies don't use social media very well; they use it well for marketing, but not for corporate news,” said Mitzi Emrich, FTI's MD of digital and social engagement.

When they can't find the information they are looking for on social media, 92% of journalists and 89% of investors turn to “corporate-owned platforms” such as company newsrooms and IR websites, according to the report.

The findings suggest that a multichannel communications strategy would benefit companies, according to Emrich.

“Separating financial information, only sharing corporate news on a quarterly basis, and the rest of the time just talking about marketing doesn't really tell the full story and isn't giving that complete picture companies are looking for,” she said. “Corporate and marketing information needs to be shared in multiple places, side-by-side, because that can help investors and media to easily find it.”

Apple, for example, never uses Twitter for its corporate communications; instead it mainly uses marketing, Emrich said. But when activist investor Carl Icahn tweeted about the company's valuation, Apple's market value jumped by about $17 billion, she explained.

“I am guessing the marketing person at Apple probably didn't even know who the IR person was; they should have been able to collaborate,” said Emrich. “Companies' marketing teams, corporate PR teams, and IR teams should integrate, talk to each other, and understand each other's roles in social communication – helping not only with internal integration, but also painting a better external picture of a company's value and position in the marketplace.”

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