SCULPTOR IR has just completed a major survey of 760 Scandinavian companies to learn how they are using Twitter for investor relations information, and to identify country differences and best practices at specific companies.
The latest survey is a major expansion of one we published in April 2010 covering 130 companies listed on NASDAQ OMX Nordic and the Oslo Børs – see IR and Social Media in the Nordics – Part 3: Q1 Earnings presentations versus Tweets. The earlier survey found that 23% of the companies had Twitter accounts, and of those 40% posted tweets about their earnings results.
During the most recent Q3 earnings period, the results show that only 16% of the 760 Nordic companies have active Twitter accounts. However, there are large differences by country, with Finnish companies being most active on Twitter (25%), followed by Swedish companies (19%). See the chart below:
When analyzing tweets from a corporate communications and IR perspective, 65% of the Norwegian companies tweeted their third-quarter earnings results, while in Finland it is a more modest 25%. Half of the Swedish companies (49%) used Twitter to increase awareness of their Q3 reports. See the chart below:
IR pioneers on Twitter improving
While the total number of companies tweeting results remained at the same level as in April (41%), the IR Twitter pioneers are adding more valuable information for their followers.
Another positive trend is that newly listed companies such as Danish ingredients group Chr. Hansen and Swedish Oasmia Pharmaceutical are adopting Twitter to directly communicate with shareholders and investors.
The following three companies stand out for their practices:
1. Veidekke Construction, Norway, (market cap 6.591 MNOK)
Veidekke is one of the most prominent users of social media for IR and corporate communications in the Nordic Region. They tweet earnings releases and invitations to webcasts. They have managed to get 400 followers even if they only tweet in Norwegian. Extraordinary for Veidekke is their blog Terje’s Thoughts (Norwegian) that has been running since 2009. The blog is one of very few IR/corporate communication blogs in Scandinavia. After each earnings release the CEO comments on the results in a post.
2. Vestas Wind, Wind Power, Denmark (market cap 4.463 MEUR)
Vestas Wind started tweeting in August and is a great best practice case of how you can use Twitter for IR. Today they have 650 followers!
Vestas Wind send reminders to attend webcasts, link to the presentation and report and use hashtags as #wind #energy #greentech. Recently they invited followers to send in questions when the Financial Times interviewed their CEO.
3. Metso Group, Industrials, Finland (market cap 6.447 M EUR)
Metso live-tweeted from their Capital Markets Day in June. Besides from posting links to earnings releases and quarterly reports they also tweet highlights and questions from their earnings calls. Being a B2B company, Metso’s activity in social media is even more interesting to follow as one common assumption is that the new media channels only is for B2C companies.
Room for improvement and learning
While it’s very promising to see how the best practice cases constantly improve their Twitter skills, the vast majority of company tweets are of a poor quality. The most common Twitter mistakes are:
- Inviting people to a webcast or to read results without providing a link.
- Sending the earnings tweet one day after the release.
- Inconsistency, such as tweeting results from first and third quarter, but not the second.
- Not using #-tags to track retweets or creating transcripts.
Of course, the IR Twitter pioneers have the benefit of being able to make mistakes and learn from them while social media channels are not yet being fully embraced by Nordic region institutional investors or retail shareholders.
However, when the investors do join in, the early adopter companies will have a great competitive advantage over their skeptical counterparts who have adopted a “wait and see approach” towards using social media for investor relations.