February 18, 2016
Is there a Better Model for Earnings and IR in the Age of Social Media?
Now, the clear gold standard for earnings day investor relations comes to us from the IR team at Twitter (ticker: TWTR).
After announcing Q4 results last week, the Twitter team effectively leveraged many prominent online financial channels to deliver their earnings and key messages to investors researching stocks.
In doing so, the Twitter team introduced an unprecedented level of transparency and targeting to the earnings process that undoubtedly benefited both current and potential investors alike.
Here’s what the Twitter team did:
On January 5th, they published a press release announcing their intention to:
- Host a conference call, audio webcast and Periscope to discuss results; and
- Consider questions for the earnings Q&A from those Tweeting questions to @TwitterIR using the #TWTR hashtag and/or submitting questions via Periscope.
On February 4th, they Tweeted their intention to focus their upcoming earnings call on Q&A:
“A new earnings format: starting w/ next week’s Q4 & FY15 results, we’ll post commentary to the IR site and focus the call/Periscope on Q&A.”
On earnings day, Twitter management introduced an earnings or “shareholder letter” in order to provide more detailed information and thus allow more time for Q&A on their call:
“As we announced last week, we’re taking a new approach to our earnings announcements. Starting with today’s announcement of results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2015, we’ll provide you with an earnings letter reviewing our financial and operational performance together with commentary from our senior management team. We’ll then use our conference call and Periscope broadcast to take your questions. As a reminder, to have your questions considered during Q&A, Tweet your question to @TwitterIR using #TWTR or submit your question via Periscope. We hope this new format will give you a clearer view of our performance and outlook in an easier-to-digest manner, while making the most of our time on the call.”
The “shareholder letter” was also made available as an audio recording powered by Snappy TV.
Before the call, Twitter’s IR team tweeted key earnings messages from their @TwitterIR account on the Twitter platform. (NOTE: These tweets were ReTweeted hundreds of times.)
At the start of the call, Twitter management announced their intention to respond to investor questions submitted via various means:
“During the Q&A, we’ll take questions asked via Periscope and Twitter, in addition to questions from conference call participants. Questions submitted via Twitter should be directed to @twitter IR using the hash tag” TWTR.”
And while management took most questions from sell-side analyst callers they did in fact take some from Twitter and Periscope, too.
Public companies of all sizes can learn something from the Twitter earnings model. The Twitter IR team provided a substantial amount of actionable information, distributed that content on many investor platforms, and made themselves easily accessible for Q&A. You don’t need to be a large company to effectively leverage many of the same channels Twitter did to reach current and potential investors. Companies would be well served to follow at least some portion of the Twitter model especially during earnings season.
NOTE: More on Investor Relations and Social Media HERE.