Financially Responsible Marketing

How to Use Social Media in Investor Relations

Posted by on Jun 10, 2015

Let’s start with the role of Investor Relations (IR)

IR’s role is to provide relevant, correct, timely and understandable information about the company to shareholders (institutional and retail), the media, customers, and the general public.

Using social media to connect with key stakeholders

What can you post? What can’t you?

Here’s a quick guide to what IR teams can and cannot post through social media. Overall, social media’s role is to boost visibility – while it can add to traditional vehicles for communication, it cannot supplant them. Controlling the message is critical in IR; make sure you have internal guidelines for social media, so as to minimize the risk of early and/or inappropriate disclosure.

Yes, you can:

  • Anything that is public knowledge is fine.
  • Anything unrelated to performance is also fine: e.g. getting to know your brand and team; projects you support; general industry information; community events; published articles.
  • Industry-relevant information or a re-print from 3rd party media (i.e. Globe and Mail articles)

No, you cannot:

  • Selected distribution of corporate information is never allowed. Nothing can be posted through social media platforms that has not been previously released to the public through traditional channels like press releases.
  • Social media cannot be used as a replacement for announcing material changes.

 

Timely, economical, easy, and two-way

Social media offers IR professionals 4 big benefits – it’s current, economical, easy, and two-way.

Timely: There’s no faster way to get the word out wide than through social media. Timely also boosts relevant; because the news is timely, it’s more likely to be relevant. Timely is particularly helpful if the news is not good – play your cards right and you get ahead of the media, instead of reacting to it.

Economical: Much lower production and distribution costs than traditional methods.

Easy: Social media platforms are operated for you, for little or no fee.

Two-way: The opportunity to hear back from your stakeholders is powerful. It gives you the chance to improve your messaging and deepen engagement.

 

How do you choose which social media platforms to use?

Issues of practicality will frame your decisions about platforms! You’ll want to choose the channel that you know your shareholders, the media and your customers use. As well, you’ll want to be sure you choose channels that you or your team have the time to manage.

Do a bit of online research. Ask your peers. Find out the benefits. If you’re not familiar with a given social platform before (say Tumblr, which connects users with blogs that interest them), you might not know or see its potential.

 

Suggestions for social media platforms to start with

Twitter: Most-used. Get a beat on the street regarding competitors, the economy and the market. Allows quick two-way communication with investors, media and customers in 140 characters. Tweets can link to relevant content on your website as well as 3rd party websites. Can be used effectively with minimal time outlay.

LinkedIn: Excellent to profile your executive team. Also to share thought leadership and communicate key investor information directly to shareholders and key customers.

YouTube: Increasingly, businesses are using video to showcase customers, products, and services, as well as to boost confidence with shareholders. Video is an expensive medium, but note that very short (read: less expensive) videos can pay off surprisingly well.

SlideShare: 60 million unique visitors monthly, mainly B2B users seeking high quality content. Used effectively, you can get a lot of eyes on your presentation.

Facebook: Can be used effectively if your business has a consumer focus.

 

Tools and process

Whatever channels you choose, use a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to time the release of your content.  Remember, if an IR team shares key information on a social site, investors must be informed about which platform is being used.

Plan your content well in advance! Create and use an editorial calendar. Your content might include industry and sector news, news from your company, photos and video broadcast from conferences, links to analyst reports and trade information.

 

Hand-in-hand with your online strategy

Think of social media as one component of your online marketing strategy. Use it to push content, to gather information, and to engage and connect with your stakeholders.