SAN FRANCISCO — Trulia, an online marketplace for home buyers and sellers, plans to release its first-quarter earnings today via Twitter, following the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) clarifying that companies can use social media to announce financial information.
On April 2, the SEC gave companies permission to use social networks for broadcasting market-related news -- a move prompted by an investigation of Netflix after its CEO Reed Hastings used Facebook to reveal details on its video streaming usage. Earlier this month Trulia rival Zillow announced plans to solicit questions on its May 7 quarterly earnings via Twitter and Facebook.
Ken Shuman, VP of communications at Trulia, told the Holmes Report that among its social networks, he considered Twitter ideal for disseminating financial information because Trulia’s Facebook page is driven by visual story-telling and LinkedIn is better suited for reposting news stories from the earnings call, which will be held April 30 after the market closes.
“It seemed like a natural fit because we can use the hashtag #TRLAearnings -- and if we start doing this every quarter, we can use the same hashtag,” Shuman noted, explaining why the hashtag does not specify Q1 2013. The company will maintain its traditional disclosures via distributing a press release followed by an earning call and webcast.
“Most investors aren’t going to jump on an earnings call or watch a webcast -- so this is a great way to reach the everyday, or casual, investor whereas traditional methods work well for institutional investors,” Shuman said.
The team will monitor whether using the platform for financial earnings results in gained - or lost - Twitter followers, as well as the number of retweets or other shared information. Based on these learnings, the company will decide whether to continue using social media for earnings announcements. Having gone public last year, this is Trulia’s third earnings call.
“When you do this, you are opening yourself in a public way for criticism based on the financials you’re releasing -- but it could also lead to some great engagement and that’s what makes it so intriguing,” Shuman said. “There’s an opportunity to share success stories and create a two-way conversation.”