Not sure how you can use LinkedIn as an investor relations tool? A few recent changes to LinkedIn’s publishing platform have now made it incredibly attractive as a long-form blogging alternative. Self-hosting an IR blog might not be something your team is ready to take on, but asking your CEO to explain parts of his strategy in a long-form LinkedIn post could be an excellent alternative. Here’s how we would do it.
Social networks like StockTwits can often be inundated with day traders who are most likely not worth your CEO’s time in responding to. But the diversity of LinkedIn users makes it much more attractive for connecting with a variety of stakeholders. You’re likely to find analysts of all sorts as well as retail investors, employees and more.
After a successful Beta period, LinkedIn is opening up its publishing platform to all members. When you publish something on LinkedIn, your original content becomes part of your professional profile, is shared with your network, and has the ability to reach the largest group of professionals online. Finally, a place where your digital investor relations content and social investor relations intersect. While the other social networks are committed to keeping messaging short, this recent development makes LinkedIn an excellent place to get long-form content seen by a large, diverse audience.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
On the surface, this is a great way to reach those hundreds of connections your management team has. What you will have to watch out for is your social media disclosure checklist. If your CEO is writing a blog for investors, the information therein must have been previously disclosed. Even if you’ve done this, you should include your CEO’s LinkedIn profile as a verified disclosure channel.
This best way to dip your feet into writing blogs for investors using LinkedIn publishing might well be with a letter to shareholders at the time of your earnings release. This kind of message is usually quite similar to the prepared remarks at the beginning of an earnings conference call. Shareholder letters can also be hosted on your corporate website, but having them either published originally or re-published on your CEO’s LinkedIn profile will give it most visibility with a targeted audience of readers who you know are already interested in your company’s story.
Step two might be to ask your CEO to write a few hundred words (no more than that or you’ll be bothering them) about your latest press release. Let’s say you’ve made a key acquisition or a project has come to completion, this could be a great way to let your shareholders know a bit more about management’s thinking. You can use LinkedIn blogs to tell your story to investors with data visualization, like the other companies who use infographics in disclosures. Anything your CEO would say publicly at an NDR or in a conference keynote would also be appropriate for an IR blog post.
Finally, be sure you’re tracking which analysts and investors are reading the IR blog. There are many analytics tools that will accomplish this but our recommendation would be to employ an Inbound IR strategy so that you have a complete picture of the information your analysts are most interested in.
If you’re going to go to the trouble of asking your CEO to write regular IR blog posts, you want that content to be seen by as many people as possible. In particular, as many buy-side analysts as possible. Luckily, LinkedIn provides you with all the tools you need to promote your CEO’s blog for investors who maybe aren’t aware of you. You can do this through custom audiences, search-based or role based targeting, and a range of other criteria.
EXCELLENT FOR SEO
Social shares matter for search engine optimization. We’ve written before about the best practices for press release SEO. When composing a LinkedIn blog, the principles are exactly the same, you’ll want to use unique keywords and link to sub-pages on your site to improve your overall page rank and the ability of internal pages within your site to appear in search results.