TWITTER is becoming a popular way for investor relations departments to alert the market to important news, but many companies are not taking full advantage of all the features the service provides.
One of the more useful features that gets little attention is the Twitter lists function. Lists give you the ability to compile groups of interesting Twitter accounts that you or anyone else can follow in one click.
I’ve created two lists of public company Twitter accounts – the public-companies 1 and the public-companies 2 lists. Together, they follow 962 public company accounts. Anyone can follow these lists and see messages by the included companies.
But companies and their investor relations departments can also use lists to provide value to investors and analysts, many of whom may still be new to Twitter and unsure of who to follow or what accounts are associated with a company.
Lists save people the time and trouble of having to track down relevant accounts to follow, which is getting harder as Twitter continues to grow. Lists can also provide valuable verification that an account on Twitter does in fact belong to the company.
To gather ideas for this post, we reviewed all 962 of the accounts included in our public company lists to see who is using lists and what they offer. Surprisingly few companies offer even a single list. In many cases, this might be because they are simply pushing information to Twitter via an RSS feed and not actively managing or monitoring the account.
In others cases, it seems that companies haven’t realized the potential value that lists can provide to their followers and to themselves. With this article, we hope to correct that by showing what other companies are doing. So without further ado, here are 5 Twitter lists every company or IR department should consider providing:
1. The company directory list
This is probably a list that every corporate account should offer. It lists all of a company’s accounts on Twitter, including:
- all department accounts like PR, IR, HR and CSR;
- all country, region, or local accounts;
- all company brand accounts; and,
- anyone who speaks for the company, such as a CEO, CFO, CTO or CMO.
It probably doesn’t have to include every employee, especially if they are using their accounts more for personal than business purposes.
IR department accounts should have their own company directory list, but the list will probably be less expansive than the corporate one. It should only list accounts likely to offer relevant information to investors. For instance, while the corporate account might list an account set up for a competition tied to a specific brand, the IR account probably should not.
Some examples of company directory lists that we thought noteworthy include:
- The eBay Official-ebay-inc list
- The Time Warner Corp twxcorp list
- The Citrix official-citrix-tweeters list
- The Cerner official-cerner-accounts list
- The Nokia nokia list
- The Symantec symantecaccounts list
2. The industry experts/analysts list
Even though there aren’t a lot of traditional equity analysts using Twitter to share useful information (they yak about sports, mostly), there are probably some industry experts or analysts in your sector that do have interesting insights and news to share. Creating a list of them could be useful to an investor who wants to know more about your industry or who simply wants to stay abreast of what various experts are saying.
I should mention that creating a list of experts or analysts doesn’t necessarily imply that your company endorses their views. But to avoid any confusion you can clarify this in the list description, which has a silly 100-character limit. Something like “Retail industry experts. No endorsement implied” might cut it, but ask your high-priced legal counsel to come up with 100-character blurb if you have to :-)
Some examples you can look at:
- The Iron Mountain analysts list
- The Emulex storagebloggers list
- The VirtusaCorp analysts list
- The Global Crossing telecom-thought-leaders list
- Perficient has several industry lists focused on different areas of technology, including cloud, health care IT, and CRM.
- The CME Group agriculture list
- The Majesco game-industry list, which is a mix between an industry and a peer company list (see below)
3. The industry media and journalists list
A lot of media outlets and journalists are using Twitter. Providing a list of those most relevant to your company’s business is a useful service to investors who want to keep up with the latest news in the industry.
Again, creating a list of media and industry journalists doesn’t imply that your company endorses what they write, but you can add a short disclaimer as for the industry experts/analysts list above.
Some examples of media/journalist lists:
- The Raytheon defensereporters list
- The Iron Mountain media list
- The BJ Services oil-gas-news list
- The Emulex storagepress-pundits list
- The Northrop Grumman defense-media list
4. The partner companies list
Knowing what is happening at your customers and suppliers can be useful information for investors depending on the nature of your business and what your partner companies tweet about.
- The Deutsche EuroShop our-center-tenants list
- The Timken industrial-manufacturing list
- The Altera altera-tech-companies list
- The Microstrategy partners list
- The Emulex partners list
- The BJ Services oil-gas-companies list
5. The competitor companies list
I left the best for last. Providing a list of your company’s competitors achieves two things. First, it provides a list that people interested in your company are probably going to find highly useful. Second, by not being afraid to steer people to your competitors, you show leadership and confidence. Most people can’t get their heads around that concept, but it’s true.
These companies obviously get it:
- The Raytheon a-dcompanies list
- The Timken bearings list
- The Northrop Grumman industry list
- The Eaton Corp diversified-ind-manufacturing list
As I said at the outset, relatively few companies are using Twitter’s list feature. But hopefully there’s something above that will inspire you to create your own lists.
Please let us know what lists you create or if you can think of other useful lists investors might like.