Using Social Media to Boost Investor Relations
In 2013 the SEC made it clear that social media sites were an appropriate outlet for Investor Relations (IR). This should have spurred a new era for companies to reach investors, but somehow nothing changed. Apart from a quarterly stilted tweet announcing earnings, most public businesses have shied away from using social to promote themselves to investors. Why?
It seems the imagined dangers have a lot to do with it. If one stray post or tweet can cause a public relations stir, just imagine what it can do for investor relations! Vocal social CEOs have been forced to recant statements and retract comments on social because of the higher standards that IR demands. After all, IR is often at the nexus of CFO and Legal—not Sales and Marketing.
But the upside of an active social media IR campaign is often ignored in the scramble to mitigate risk. If a business is willing to post a press release on a webpage, there is no reason to avoid social media when speaking to investors. And the upside is that someone may actually read it. How many press releases are marginalized by the lack of any press?
Here are a few ideas we are using with our clients to boost their IR on social:
1. Post your IR on social media and amplify with your brand. No need to stop writing press releases, but use engaging language to disseminate them using your corporate social channels. An announcement about a large contract you just won in the life sciences vertical can be described in general terms of how your firm is assisting the entire vertical with innovative solutions. Don’t forget to include your customer’s handles in the posts as well. There is a much better chance the post will be read and shared.
2. Include the team in IR. While a social CEO willing to share IR online can have a huge impact on getting the word out, don’t forget about using all your employees in the effort. Connecting with as many of your employees on social as possible gives you an opportunity to share corporate success via social. The advantages are many. Employees get up to the minute information, and can easily share it with their followers and customers over social media. Sharing IR news via social gives employees a reason to take pride in the company and the work they do.
3. Meeting your investors online. Social media is a two-way street. This is often overlooked as companies blast messages online and never listen or engage with the people they are trying to reach. Keep an ear out for replies and questions to IR news and respond to investors. Direct and open communication with investors that boosts your public image is a novel way to gain attention and interest. Sure, there will be detractors, but use this forum to set the record straight.
Effective investor relations has become increasingly difficult in a world chock full of press releases and online content. But the opportunity to meet your investors face-to-face on social channels has made it easier than ever to find your audience and interact with them. Successful use of social media can give your company a distinct advantage in the market and with investors.