Earlier this week, Twitter released its 2014 Q2 Earnings Report. Here are highlights as reported by The Wall Street Journal’s Yoree Koh:
- A second straight quarter of increased user growth: 16 million new users
- Revenue doubled to $312 million (driven by mobile use and mobile ad consumption)
- Mobile advertising accounts for 81% of total ad revenues
- The stock price spiked 29% in after hours trading
- 271 million monthly active users
How Twitter’s Investor Relations Team (@TwitterIR) framed these positive results is worth studying. Their critical and judgmental audience includes (but is not limited to):
- Wall Street Analysts
- Technology Journalists / Bloggers
- Mutual Funds Managers
- Silicon Valley Competitors
- Individual Investors
Writing and storytelling skills are important in the financial and investment community. Investor Relations Teams are tasked with building credibility, trust, and transparency. The ability to convey confidence with a compelling and memorable story (particularly when financial performance suffers) makes or breaks organizations.
Real-time, Internet speed and scope, play a crucial role in addressing public scrutiny. Here are three (3) writing and storytelling tips I learned from the Twitter Investor Relations Team.
Tip 1. Play to Your Strengths
And, it maximized this competitive advantage during the July 29th earnings call. Topsy analysis shows @TwitterIR‘s (Twitter’s Investor Relations Team) published 23 real-time tweets supporting the earnings presentation.
Tip 2. Be Simple and Concise
Communicating financial analyses (or other complex information) into simple, bite-size messages isn’t easy. Twitter’s Investor Relations Team addresses this challenge head-on knowing they have to frame a memorable, compelling story in “pulses” of 140 characters or less. I’m sure their rehearsals resulted in multiple iterations of tweets to constantly refine and simplify the gameday message.
According to Topsy, here’s the top tweet during the July 29th call …
… and it clocks in at 136 characters (with spaces).
Tip 3. Draw Pictures for Key Messages
As an individual Twitter investor, I appreciate and respect the Investor Relations Team sharing key metrics like quarterly revenue, EBITDA, and net income. But, the tweet has too much math for my simple brain.
The hyperlink and chart are vital. They impart two (2) positive impressions:
- “We know you want more details. Here’s where you can find/analyze the details.”
- “Remember This: Twitter’s quarterly revenue growth remains positive.”
The high “retweets” and “favorites” by the conference call attendees indicates this important information was share-worthy and memorable:
Leverage your strengths. Be brief. Draw pictures. Define your story’s outcome from the beginning. Structure the argument.
That’s hard. But, your audience will love you for it.
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Tony Faustino is a marketing and corporate strategist. He thinks and writes about how The Internet reinvents marketing strategy in his personal blog, Social Media ReInvention. Follow his tweets @tonyfaustino or circle him on Google+.