METRO AG is a leading international wholesale company with food and non-food assortments. For the last annual report, METRO prepared a communication plan to promote specific reporting content in various social media channels. “Reporting communication in social media has proven to be a valuable part of our reporting strategy.”, says Boris Kalesse, Manager Corporate Websites at METRO AG.
With your Annual Report 2017/2018 you published a state-of-the art digital report. In addition, METRO AG is a best-practice example for report communication. What is your strategy to keep up the attention of your stakeholders all year long?
For us the annual report is not only a statutory information document, but also a communication and information vehicle. In our view our report contains a lot of highly relevant facts, figures and background information on multiple topics. Reaching our audience with this content is part of our corporate reporting strategy. Our social media channels are very suitable for this purpose. Here, we communicate specific excerpts and topics from our online report throughout the year, thus drawing more attention to our report.
Did you set up the communication plan and the social media assets in advance?
Yes, together with nexxar we developed a social media communication plan for the online Annual Report 2017/18. The communication plan covered a time frame of almost 6 months after publication. Everything had already been prepared when the report was published. In total, we prepared over a dozen social media assets – for example an animated quote card of our CEO or teaser videos for the story part of our annual report.
The publication dates for the social media postings had not been chosen randomly. We were looking for suitable events which can be related to the information – e.g. the Annual General Meeting (AGM). And a meaningful time distribution to keep the attention high, especially in the first three months.
Compared to the time effort you invested in creating the whole report – what is the percentage of time you needed for communication?
Annual reports are very demanding projects. Hundreds of hours go into concept, copywriting, data collection, image material, photo shootings, production and so on. And they are a very important part of corporate communication. By comparison, the effort to plan, prepare, and conduct the social media communication was likely less than one percent of the total time invested.
Would you call the communication campaign a success?
Absolutely, yes. We saw the effect right after publication of our last reports: Within the first four months the visits increased by 40 percent. But it’s not only about the additional clicks and visits for our report. For us, the social media assets are an additional communication vehicle. By presenting facts from our report on social media we also reached a goal. Our stakeholders on social media have become more aware of our financial topics – no matter if they click on the teaser or not. And with the video story teasers we help analysts, journalists and other stakeholders alike to get a better idea of our customer needs and our business strategy.