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Off Balance: Companies mustn’t tweet sweet nothings

IT’S ALL BEEN about ‘social media, business and financial reporting’ in the last few days, Off Balance has noted.

OK, so Off Balance stumbled across two columns about businesses’ use of Facebook and Twitter…but when those pieces have been written by FTI Consulting senior MD John Waples and senior business journalist Anthony Hilton, that’s enough to pique our interest.

Waples talks of “digital corporate pioneers, who will lead the way in facilitating the publication of company financials through Twitter and the like. He pointed out how Tesco had CCed in key contacts (such as George Osborne) into tweets about the launch of its current account. Off Balance reckoned they could have just told the chancellor’s comms team – but you get Waples’ point.

He flagged up British Land, which recently tweeted through analyst presentation. The flipside, of course, is sticking with your chosen media even if you’re conveying bad news. As he rightly points out, how regulators will deal with this is anyone’s guess, though Off Balance imagines they’ll do it ham-fistedly.

As for Hilton, he points out the possibilities of ‘internal social media’, where external platforms are copied through and used to drive discussion within the business. Communication from a company to end-users is now impossible to regiment through comms. Breaking down this ‘silo might then occur to other departments, such as finance. Whether this simply means credit control slagging off late payers on Facebook, Off Balance isn’t quite sure. But fascinating all the same.

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