Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets". For stock market investors, Twitter began as a retail oriented tool, and it has since evolved into an institutional investor tool. This is confirmed in this story by Reuters: How investors use Twitter:
"Ever since the $TICKER tag was introduced on Twitter two years ago, active traders and investors have used the 140 character message stream to share tips, ideas and news. Most companies whose stocks were the subject of those tweets ignored the chatter the same way they ignore online chat rooms. Worried about inadvertent selective disclosures, corporate spokespeople kept their own Twitter conversation focused on routine PR matters, and steered away from financial and investor information.
That is changing fast as companies figure out how to tweet without crossing the foul line. A recent study of more than 600 public companies using social media found that two-thirds of them employ Twitter to communicate directly with investors, up dramatically from two years ago when just a handful were starting to tweet.
The study, conducted by Q4 Web Systems, a Toronto-based consulting firm that advises corporations on using the web, reported that natural resources and tech companies represent the greatest number investor-tweeting companies, followed by services, industrials, basic materials, and retail companies.
The survey cited emerging “best practices” these companies use when tweeting investors, including:
- live tweeting during earnings conference calls, analyst investor days and annual meetings;
- reaching out to investors for questions prior to an earnings call;
- answering investor questions live for all to see;
- linking to breaking news, analyst reports and opinions on the company or the industry;
- inviting followers to webcasts, conference calls and video blogs;
- using unique #HASHTAGS for specific events to make them easier to find later."
When Derwent Capital raised an insitutional hedge fund based on Twitter sentiment, the views from market professionals changed as identified by this article at The Atlantic Wire:
"You might think a 140 character tweet doesn't have much power, but, as one hedge fund proved, Twitter can help you win the stock market. "Derwent Capital, the hedge fund that is using Twitter sentiment to make its investments, beat the market--and other hedge funds--in its first full month of trading," Lauren Dugan reports. Using an algorithm based on the social media mood that day, the hedge fund predicted the market to make the right trades. Sounds unbelievable that something cluttered with mundane musings and media links could have anything smart to say about the market. But it's working so far.
The idea behind it. Social media is a powerful force in the market--we think it could be making things worse. This algorithm puts those ideas to the test. It's based on a paper that came out of University of Manchester and Indiana University, which found a correlation between mood and Twitter, explains Bloomberg's Jack Jordan."
StockTwits - Next up was StockTwits, which is a verticle style application of Twitter focused in on being "a communications platform for the investing community". StockTwits is specific to investors. Twitter has financial messaging co-mingled with consumer messaging.
StockTwits boasts having a solid mix of professional traders, long-term investors, and hedge fund managers. As such, the StockTwits site has significant appeal for companies looking to have their message heard. The company was founded in 2008 by long-time investor Howard Lindzon.
StockTwits created the $TICKER tag to enable and organize “streams” of information around stocks and markets across the web and social media. These streams provide new forms of insight, ideas and information that are used by investors, analysts, media and others as they research stocks and manage their investments. Other sites that use $TICKER include InvestorsVillage.com, InvestorsHub.com and TweetTrader.net.
A distinctive benefit to posting a message on StockTwits as opposed to Twitter is the "distribution reach." All messages sent through Twitter are automatically posted on StockTwits, and they make their way to:
- Yahoo! Finance,
- The Globe and Mail,
- Bing, as well as
- Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.
Today, more than 150,000 investors, market professionals, and public companies share information and ideas about the market and individual stocks using StockTwits, producing streams that are viewed by an audience of over 40 million across the financial web and social media platforms.
With StockTwits’ Investor Communications Solutions any public company can quickly add their official communications to the $TICKER stream for their company on the StockTwits platform, across the leading financial web properties, and on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook – all from one centralized interface that provides metrics, monitoring, compliance, and workflow tools.
StockTwits is currently testing premium accounts for professional investors requiring compliance, workflow and analytics capabilities to fully take advantage of the StockTwits financial communications platform.
Google - If you Google our client "UNIS", it comes up with 239 million results and the United Nations International School is at the top of the page. If you Google "$UNIS", it comes up with 4050 results and every single result is about our client Unilife Corp (NASDAQ: UNIS).
$TICKER is fast becoming the new norm on Social Media sites as it allows stock information to be shared easily. Look for traditional sites to pick up this sharing capability soon.