The internet has changed the way IR professionals are doing business. Companies are now looking to blogs and social media as well as the company’s site. IR professionals need to make sure they’re reaching investors on all levels if they want to keep up.
Ideally, just using your website to put out the information you want investors to see is the best way to control the way your company is viewed. That way you can paint the whole picture and control all the variables that are seen, so investors have the information you want them to have. However, when media gets involved they may have false information or only know bits and pieces and report their stories incorrectly. This is something you can’t control and if not handled correctly, could lead to problems. A definite benefit to IR professionals would be setting up Google Alerts to notify them any time a new article is posted on the internet about their company. That way the company can respond quickly and defend the facts to quickly and prepare for clear investor communications. Defending every rogue blog is not needed, but you had better be prepared to have a response to any misinformed person’s thoughts as a talking point to potential investors as those questions may come up. If you’re already prepared for it, you can combat it. While google alerts only cover a percentage of the news and chatter that is out there, most IR professionals have an arsenal of resources they use to fill in the missing gaps of information that spew across the www.
Social media is a bit controversial for IR professionals but when used correctly, it can be a valuable tool. IR professionals need to be careful when using Twitter or blogs to make sure they aren’t in violation of Regulation FD, which governs how companies disclose information and prohibits selective disclosure of private information. Some think day traders could create a volatile market place by basing their actions on tweets from IR professionals about the company. Obviously, this is speculative at best and no proof of this has happened. The upsides to using social media, is that it has opened channels that weren’t available to IR professionals in the past. Social media can be used to reach out to potential investors. Before, you had to form your own database and send news and information to the select few people that opted in. Now, you can send out carefully selected information to reach a mass of people that can gain traction to further your brand, show that you’re an influencer and attract the right kind of capital you want in your company. Blogs can also be a helpful tool in showing investors what is going on in your company and how you are changing things to keep up with modern day demands.
When implementing these tools, they can be useful rather than destructive. While it is true that there are still some firms reluctant to be a part of the social media train, but one must realize – the social media train is pulling out without you, whether you like it or not. Social Media also fuels your other marketing tactics and is also key to increasing conversions, which equals more clients and customers. Additional benefits include fewer investor questions, enhanced media coverage, stronger relationships with investors, customers and industry influencers, improved business understanding, increased traffic to your website and greater brand awareness, loyalty and reach.
As stated, social media is changing the way IR professionals are doing business and a good IR firm that is social media savvy should be a key component to any IR program.