Social media basics: Twitter

Tweet your way to better investor and community relations.

With the unfortunate reputation as a platform for spoiled pop stars to rant about their first-world problems, Twitter was slow to establish itself as a social media platform for serious business communication.

But professionals and businesses are catching on to the beauty of communicating in 140 characters or less. Twitter is now the fastest growing social media platform with 230 million active users on Twitter posting 500 million tweets every day. Twitter_logo_blue

There’s room for the conservative mining industry too. Over 360 mining companies have Twitter accounts already according to this list of mining companies on Twitter maintained by Mining.com.

Following the money

Junior exploration companies looking to raise new capital should consider Twitter a core part of their strategy to broaden their investor base in the lead up to an initial public offering (IPO). But is Twitter the magic bullet for junior companies raising new capital?

Before we jump into the basics of Twitter, lets look at the particular advantages for juniors raising money. Firstly, you’ll stand out in the crowd as one of the first to brave social media!

The more investors aware of your company, the better. As this Metal Pages blog post recommends, its important to develop an investor relations-focused social media strategy as early as possible, preferably well before the IPO. Broadening your investor base is worthwhile once listed too as it potentially makes raising new capital easier.

More details on the use of social media by junior mining companies to generate retail investors can be found in this slideshow presenting data taken from a report by Justin Pugsley of metal-pages.com.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is fast-paced social media platform where individuals or organisations send short messages, known as Tweets to their followers. Each Tweet is limited to 140 characters but can include images or video or short links to content elsewhere on the web.

In this image, Teksocial break down the parts of a Tweet:

anatomy-of-the-tweet

http://teksocial.com/socialblog/2013/6/17/the-anatomy-of-a-tweet-cheatsheet.html

Twerminology (sorry!)

It’s important to understand some Twitter terminology before you begin Tweeting on behalf of a company.  Here are the basics:

  • When you post something, it’s a tweet.
  • When you repost something from another user, it’s a retweet or RT.
  • Trending topics, or TT, are topics discussed by many users at a given time.
  • You can Favorite a tweet by clicking on the star.

#WhatIsAHashtag?

Hashtags are used to link conversations and search for subjects on Twitter, simply by placing a # in front of a word or short phrase.

Using hashtags on Twitter can be risky if you don’t check how it’s being used before you use it into your own Tweet, like the poor person who was caught in a flurry of Tweets about World Vasectomy Day 2013 (#WVD2013) with her own Tweets about WereldVoedselDag (WorldFoodDay)!

Twitter hashtags are a great way to follow an event you were unable to attend, for example the annual PDAC conference held in Toronto each year.  By searching for #PDAC2013 you will find all of the tweets posted by attendees, speakers, organisers and the trade show. You’ll feel like you’re there, without the need to brave the biting cold streets of Toronto in March!

The value of Twitter to your business

More than half of all journalists use Twitter to search for stories. Journalists are increasingly turning Tweets into a more traditional newspaper articles later the same day.

The number of investors on Twitter is growing too and you can now use cashtags to track companies. A cashtag is like a hashtag but uses a dollar sign $ followed by the ticker symbol, e.g.  Google = $GOOG, Apple = $AAPL or Facebook = $FB.

Twitter and other social media channels provide an avenue to showcase the personal side of the resources industry, allowing access to the individuals behind the brand.

Three ways Twitter can improve your investor and community relations is by:

  • Reaching out. Connect with your audience. Communicate snippets of information frequently with communities real and virtual. Reach more people than traditional methods. Worldwide audience
  • Listening. Improve community relations by listening, responding, hearing what the communities are talking about. What are their needs? What are the issues?
  • Sharing. Amplify your traditional messages (media releases, blog posts, reports) by sharing them via social media.

Potential downsides?

The mining industry is a notoriously cautious and conservative industry, so no doubt you’re asking ‘what are the downsides?’

Resource companies have to be very cautious about corporate communications because there is a lot riding on each and every announcement, and the industry is heavily regulated. But that doesn’t mean social media channels aren’t an option.

Ask yourself these questions before you start a company Twitter account:

  • Is Twitter the right social media channel for you?
  • Would it be better to start with a LinkedIn company page or YouTube channel?
  • Do you have a social media strategy and response plan in place?

Finally, you don’t need your own Twitter account to follow conversations on Twitter. Just head to https://twitter.com/search-home and type in #mining or any other hash- or cashtag that takes your interest.

Further reading

The resourceswriter.com blog provides a regular dose of copywriting insight for resource companies on the web or the latest industry news, research and events. If you would like to be notified of each post, follow Kylie Williams – Freelance science writer on WordPress.com or [twitter-follow screen_name=’resourceswriter’]