In case you live under a rock, Twitter announced (via company tweet, of course) that it’s submitting an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO. Within hours, thousands of re-tweets and editorial analyses about the upcoming deal bombarded the digi-sphere.
While much remains to be seen, it will be interesting to watch Twitter manage its marketing communications during the IPO process, particularly in light of the Facebook IPO fiasco and the beating Facebook shares suffered from a botched public offering process.
As a tech B2B marketing firm, McBru manages and positions clients for continued business growth regardless of their funding stage or lifecycle, keeping constant eye on the tech and social media landscape to apply best practices and key learning’s for our clients.
Since we have worked with companies going public in the past, here are our three best-practice tips for marketing communications during IPOs.
1. Going quiet is not synonymous with going silent.
After IPOs, companies usually must enter a quiet period, a ban on promotional publicity that can range from 40 to 90 days.
But even with a quiet period in place, it’s important for companies to maintain open lines of communication with key stakeholders—analysts, media, and social media influencers.
What gives the Twitter IPO a twist? It’s a confidential filing, which exempts Twitter from having to enter a quiet period. This is a new rule from the SEC, but whether a filing is confidential or not, the point remains: Companies shouldn’t confuse quiet with silent.
2. “No comment” doesn’t count as a comment.
Your company and journalists want the same thing: to get the story right and to get as many people as possible to care about it.
While you can’t directly comment on an IPO during a quiet period, you should never say, “No comment.” And it’s a big risk to go “off the record” with comments, too.
Instead, during an IPO, point direct influencers to trusted outside sources (like McBru!) that can comment and offer positive endorsement for your company—its vision, products and services.
3. Believe in that vision.
It’s important to remember an IPO is secondary to a company’s operations, and it shouldn’t change the core tenets of the company or its products and services. The most important message to maintain is one of quality.
Since the point of a quiet period is to prevent over-inflation of stocks, the point of a company’s PR and marketing efforts should be to help the company stand on its own merits outside the IPO-specific news or hype.
Good PR should continue to communicate quality and company value in day-to-day operations without allowing media inflation. This is how Facebook failed. The company stock price was overinflated due to a media blitz.
As the Twitter IPO now unfolds, it has the potential to be a case study in applying the right marketing, communications and advertising strategy to strengthen the company’s bottom line—while still allowing the twinkle to grow in the eyes of Wall Street’s valuations.
What do you think will happen with the Twitter IPO?
Another Facebook? Something better? Or worse?