Bottoms up for Diageo

Drinks giant Diageo is the most effective FTSE 100 company in utilising social media to share its financial results, a new report has shown. Its results-related posts were engaged with 2,749 times last year, or 62 per cent more than second placed BP.

The fifth A Social Divide in the City report, which has been produced by FTI Consulting, found that 69 constituents of the FTSE 100 communicated their latest interim or full year results on social media in 2016.

And shareholders, it seems, welcome the move. In total, the 69 companies produced 639 financial results-related posts, which were ‘liked’ more than 17,000 times, retweeted 100 times and received 639 comments. Indeed, the report recorded a 105 per cent increase in interactions with results content compared to 2015.

Twitter remains the platform of choice, with 66 companies tweeting financial news. LinkedIn also proved popular, used by 44 companies while 18 posted results-related videos on YouTube. And three companies – Shell, Anglo American and BP – posted results presentations on SlideShare.

Burberry, which has the biggest social media network of any FTSE 100 company, with more than 7.6 million followers on Twitter, may engage with its catwalk shows, but its prowess in making financial results fashionable is arguably less effective. The fashion brand is ranked at 68, just above Marks & Spencer, which occupies the bottom position.

Financial services, mining, consumer goods, oil and gas and insurance sectors performed the best, according to the report.

Barclays led among financial services, while Rio Tinto and Aviva were the best performing mining and insurance constituents respectively.

The report, which considers the volume, quality and impact of social media activity of each FTSE 100 company on results day, attributed part of Diageo’s success to a range of imagery, GIFs and infographics that accompanied its financial announcements.

‘Don’t underestimate the potential of slick and beautifully presented infographics and imagery which stand out and grab the audience’s attention as they scroll,’ it says. Diageo was the best performing company on LinkedIn, and second best on YouTube.

Tesco moved up to fourth place from 45th position last year, making the supermarket group the highest climber. Its success is attributed to employee advocacy, with many retweets and ‘likes’ from its own staff. ‘Leverage your core advocate base by alerting employees to the announcement in a timely manner, and setting clear social media engagement guidelines,’ advises the report.

Employees should be told that they can retweet and ‘like’ official content, but that they should refrain from adding their own commentary.

Aviva, which was ranked eighth, scored highly for using the whole spectrum of media content to communicate its results, including a hyper-lapse video, a live stream, infographics, quote cards, fact cards and photographs. FTI Consulting warns against using pre-approved corporate photographs or Shutterstock imagery as ‘investment in original rich media content increases the chances of your content being noticed, read and engaged with’.

With the average lifetime of a single tweet estimated at just 18 minutes, the report advises companies to post the same tweets several times. Oil giant BP, for example, tweets its financial results-related posts several times on the same day, which means they reach new audiences and different time zones without any additional costs.

The report also advises that companies ‘speak your audience’s social media language’, using well known acronyms such as ICYMI (in case you missed it) and DYK (did you know?) to make corporate messages more accessible and sticky.