Tag Archives: Social Media

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Top Companies Explore Social Media For Investor Relations, As Most Still Lag Behind
September 5, 2013

Top companies explore social media for investor relations, as most still lag behind.

Since the SEC approved the use of social media for announcements in compliance with Regulation FD in April 2013, a few U.S. companies have answered the call by integrating social media platforms to help communicate financial information and engage shareholders.

This is highlighted by Yahoo and Netflix “breaking the staid tradition of executives huddled around a speakerphone” and utilizing live video conference and tweets for their recent quarterly results and Zillow soliciting questions submitted via Facebook and Twitter during their earning call.

Nonetheless, social media adoption by companies for investor engagement and financial communications remains in its early stages.

According to relatively recent research from NIRI “72 percent of IR professionals don’t use social media as part of their IR program” but almost half will reassess the issue within the next year. Reasons cited range from regulation, perceived lack of interest by investors and overall demand.

However, given Bloomberg has integrated live twitter feeds with its financial platform and Carl Icahn’s recent “multibillion dollar tweets,” IRO’s will need to be at least monitoring – if not engaging with – investors who are increasingly social media savvy.

Joe Calabrese is a Senior Vice President with approximately 20 years of investor relations experience. Working closely with publicly-traded and private companies, Joe provides strategic counsel, message and collateral materials development and has in-depth experience assisting IPOs, M&A transactions, restructurings, restatements, analyst days and management changes.

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CEOs Getting Social, Albeit Slowly
August 27, 2013

The power and influence of social media is undeniable.

It has risen to be the No. 1 activity on the Internet (I’ll let you figure out what it overtook…). There are now over 1 billion users on Facebook. If it were a country, it would be the world’s third largest. Every second, two new members join the LinkedIn club. And the fastest growing social network in 2013…Twitter, with the fastest growing age demographic of 55-64 year olds, registering an increase in active users of 79 percent.

So considering that, in today’s social-dominated world, CEOs of top corporations must be tapping in to these networks to uncover invaluable insights regarding their customers, competitors, and well just about every one else, right?

Well, no, not really it seems.

According to a new report released by Domo and CEO.com, 68 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs have absolutely no presence on any major social network.

When compared to last year, things look slightly better on the surface. A whopping ten new CEOs – a 56 percent increase from 2012 – joined the Twittersphere in 2013, most notably Warren Buffet from Berkshire Hathaway (who hasn’t tweeted since his first day on the site and still amassed over half-a-million followers). Presence on LinkedIn, the most popular channel for CEOs, also grew slightly, with a modest 9 percent increase since last year.

But look a little deeper, and things go from bad to worse. Of the 28 CEOs on Twitter, only 19 of them are “active”…that’s less than 4 percent of all Fortune 500 CEOs.

Why more CEOs aren’t rushing to “get social” remains a mystery. But considering the proven benefits, CEOs may want to at least start by wading in the pool.

Carreen Winters brings nearly two decades of corporate communications expertise to her position at MWW Group with special emphasis in corporate and executive positioning, reputation management, crisis communications, restructuring and financial transactions, employee communications and labor relations.

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Socializing Investor Relations: Why You Should Be Doing It, and How You Can Get Started
September 13, 2012

Have you heard (or made) any of these statements lately?

The Street doesn’t get our story.
Why don’t we get credit for all of our strengths/accomplishment/ideas/successes/strategies?
We get the same questions, from the same few people, every quarter
Our roadshow didn’t get us anywhere.
We are undervalued.
How can we differentiate ourselves from our peer group?

If the answer is yes, then you should be thinking about how to “socialize” your IR and financial communications programs. I could tick off all of the reasons why you haven’t done it yet, beginning with concerns about Reg FD and some recent social mishaps resulting from some ill-conceived CEO commentary.

Those who think that social media is the land of brand promotion, and brand promotion only should recall the cautionary tales of some other channels that were initially shunned by those tasked with financial communications – like live TV. Once the domain of the consumer brand and shunned by CEO’s, live broadcast was too “uncontrolled”, too “scary” and too “dangerous”. Now, CEO’s fight to be on CNBC to reach their investor audience. Sounds very similar to the current perception of social media. When used correctly, social media can be a powerful addition to your financial communications. And using it correctly means using it in complete regulatory compliance.

The conversation is going to happen, with or without you…all of the “social buzz” around Apple’s Q3 earnings miss was just one recent example.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few easy steps to get you socially active:

  • Listening & Insights: Social media can be a powerful “eavesdropping device” – tune in to hear what your individual shareholders are saying, about you, and about your competitors. Twitter recently launched cashtags – $ + your stock ticker. The conversations are happening – and they can inform your messaging and keep you aware of what is being talked about.
  • Earnings 2.0: Your quarterly earnings cycle is one of the most important communications vehicles you have. Similar to a school report card, investors use this time to tell how a company is performing and what the future holds. Social media can serve as an additional layer of distribution to your investors by “live-tweeting” your earnings and providing links to your release, conference call webcast and investor presentation. Social media provides the platform to include and engage individual shareholders, as well as the larger, institutional investors. Some of the more progressive companies like Dell are even taking questions via twitter to be answered on their calls, which can come from any shareholder, not just an analyst or major investor.
  • Start a Dialogue: One of the biggest challenges companies face is continuing the conversation with investors between quarters. Social media provides the platform for you to create an IR “channel” for easily sharing your Company news, releases, reports, presentations and company videos which can serve as the stimulus for true conversation, where you can get feedback in real time. So while pushing content and news is good, engaging in real dialogue is better. Social engagement – from responding to investor inquiries, reacting to online posts, or following the conversation – will give you the ability to respond or react to comments and questions online, gauge the sentiment of the financial community, and assist in building a broad, diversified base of holders by strengthening and building trust among your current and potential investors.
  • Lead the Conversation: Research repeatedly shows that a larger portion of your share price than you may think is attributed to intangibles, with quality of leadership, vision and strategy as major factors. Social media platforms like Twitter, Slideshare and Youtube provide forums where you can tell the “softer side” of your company’s story. And unlike a feature story in major media, you have 100% editorial authority over the content, the timing and the photos. Use social media to help people get to “know” your leadership team, understand your strategy, and follow your news and developments, because a social CEO is perceived as more relevant. Maintain a blog to share thoughts and comments about industry trends and financial news. Get your content out there, build your company’s reputation and become a voice for your industry.

Social media isn’t going to pass. The conversations are happening, with or without you. You can use it as a strategic tool to build trust, relevance and long term shareholder value. Or not. Competition for investment dollars is just that, competition. And the savviest companies will be using every tool at their disposal to attract your investors.

Get social. Or get left behind.

Carreen Winters brings nearly two decades of corporate communications expertise to her position at MWW Group with special emphasis in corporate and executive positioning, reputation management, crisis communications, restructuring and financial transactions, employee communications and labor relations.

Posted by cwinters at 4:14 pm | Tagged , | Comments Off | Trackback (0)