With 189 initial public offerings in 2014 alone, the Nasdaq stock market handles a steady stream of trading launches on behalf of companies of all sizes, ranging from the huge -- in 2012 Facebook debuted with a stock sale raising $16 billion -- to the not-so-huge, with many smaller biotech firms for example raising less than $100 million in their first public trading.
While some companies already have a complete social media strategy heading into their IPOs (Facebook probably didn’t need much help) others are seeking advice on how to present their businesses to potential investors and consumers alike. To help meet this demand, Nasdaq has created what is essentially a bespoke in-house agency which helps companies listing on the exchange, according to Josh Machiz, Nasdaq’s director of integrated marketing.
The shop’s capabilities cover a variety of publicity channels including TV, print, online, PR, and events, but social media is a main focus, reflecting its increasing importance in the investment universe.
Machiz noted: “They’re all looking for best practices and how to learn from other companies. A lot of what we offer is mentoring on how their executives can be spokespeople on social media, and also how the company can get its messaging across on the IPO day.” Nasdaq also handles a range of creative duties, for example helping produce infographics that explain the company’s business model and goals.
Nasdaq also works with social media marketing companies like Adaptly to create paid social media campaigns targeting prospective investors. Machiz explained: “Social has become increasingly crowded and it’s harder to get your messages heard. Adaptly has helped serve as a third party intermediary to help our clients go even further on Facebook and Instagram.”
This year Adaptly helped Sprouts Farmers Market, a Colorado-based competitor to Whole Foods which went public in 2013, with a lead generation ad campaign on Facebook which generated over 10,000 email subscriptions and directed 40,000 clicks to Sprouts website.
Nasdaq also helped PayPal (which went public as a separate entity from eBay on July 20) raise awareness with a Back to the Future Day tie-in on October 21. Paid ads on Instagram invited users to post photos at PayPal and Nasdaq, which were then displayed on the Nasdaq tower’s iconic curved Times Square signage.
At a more basic level, Nasdaq can help listing companies simply by connecting them with its own substantial social media audience, including a large number of investors. According to Machiz the exchange has 450,000 Twitter followers, 590,000 Facebook fans, and 30,000 connections on LinkedIn; many of these are journalists and analysts who can raise the profile for planned IPOs.