Social Media & IR Websites Best Practices Webinar Follow-up Q&A
6 July 2012
Last week?s webinar was well attended.? It was great to have so many people listening in. Clearly people were engaged because we received a number of in-depth and thoughtful questions. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, Darrell was only able to answer a couple. Looking over the questions afterwards, we thought it would be best to answer some of the most popular ones and share them on the blog. We did receive some similar questions, so we have categorized them accordingly.
Separate Twitter Account of IR
The most popular question was whether or not a company should have a Twitter account specifically for Investor Relations. A current best practice for consumer brand companies is to have two separate accounts. One account that addresses your consumer audience with things like product releases or product promotions, and another one that addresses company news, employment opportunities and IR. Oftentimes, companies that are not looking to directly address consumers only need one account. However, if it becomes apparent that you have an audience that is only looking for IR content and you have enough content that you can regularly update on an IR specific account, than a company should look into creating a new account strictly dedicated to IR.
Another popular question was how to gain followers when you first start using Twitter. Darrell has often said that the best way to get people to follow you is to offer up content that they will find useful. Sharing useful content regarding your company and your industry as a whole will make your Twitter account important to people. The higher quality the content you share, the more people will respond and push that content out to their own followers. By offering valuable content, the reward is seeing that content being pushed through your followers’ social channels, which will inevitably increase traffic to your account.
As expected, a lot of the questions had to do with issues around disclosure. First and foremost, nothing should be shared on social media that has not already been disclosed through a Reg FD channel.? As we?ve found in our ongoing research, a majority of companies using social media for IR link back to the previously disclosed information on their website.
Many people worry about engaging with investors through social media because it also may violate disclosure/compliance rules. The short answer is, yes, you can engage with investors on social media. The trick is to make it equal engagement across all platforms so that no audience is left out.
An emerging best practice is to announce a time when the company will be available to answer questions and to submit them on the chosen channel as indicated by the company. This gives all of your followers equal opportunity to ask questions which will then be answered either on a conference call and/or through social media. It also provides investors direct access to the company while giving the company the time to review and make sure that anything you are answering doesn?t violate your disclosure policy.
Another great tip is to post a link to your disclosure policy. This way everyone knows what you can and cannot disclose over you social media. If someone asks a question that you are unable to answer, pointing them to your disclosure pages shows that you are still monitoring their questions but are unable to answer, rather than just ignoring the question.
Type of content
Many people are unsure of what kind of content to share. Is it necessary for companies to share negative content as well? Will the creditability of the social channels be damaged if it appears to be unbalanced and bias? In our opinion, if you are going to use social media for IR, than you have to share both the good and bad news – particularly if it is material information.
In general, providing balanced content is important and followers will respond better if they think they are getting the full story. If there is something negative going on in your company or industry, addressing it on your own channel gives your company a place to explain what is going on and share it?s side of the story. People will also appreciate that you are being forthcoming.
Many IROs are keen to start a social media program, but are also aware that their CEO is going to be looking for a certain level of performance. So what is the best way to measure the performance of your social media channels?
Since most of the content that you will be sharing on sites like Facebook and Twitter will be coming from your website, looking at your website traffic is a good metric. Social media allows you to expand the reach of your website content, so reviewing the number of visitors is a great way to see if you are reaching new people. Another great way to check is by looking at the value of your stock. Are you getting inbound interest from new investors? Since that is the overall goal of using social media for investor relations, it should be the place that you are looking to see the overall effectiveness of your efforts.
Anyone who did not get a chance to listen into the webinar should check it out here. A very interesting presentation from Darrell that hopefully helped people understand the value and importance of both a good IR website and social media presence. We were very pleased with the feedback that we got. We are always happy when people join in on the conversation, whether it is asking questions or letting us know what they are doing in their IR program.