Social media driving IR evolution

alcoa-facebook

Social media offers a better user experience than investor relations websites, says Dominic Jones in a compelling post in which he argues that social media investor relations has reached a tipping point:

[...] company disclosure channels that once seemed innovative – such as investor relations websites, webcasting and PR wire services – are struggling to stay relevant as investors grow accustomed to receiving information from companies in real-time on their favorite social networks in formats that are easier to access and use. These changes are irreversible [...] the audiences for investor relations information are changing how and where they access and use company financial disclosures. They are moving away from the old PR wire channels and engaging with companies directly on their websites, and through social media when companies make themselves available in those channels.

A large and growing number of companies have recognized this. While they may have initially started using social media for marketing or PR purposes, they’ve quickly realized that investors also are using social media and want to receive information where it’s now most convenient for them.

In fact, hundreds of companies will use social media this quarterly reporting season. Most will use Twitter, but growing numbers will also use Facebook, YouTube, SlideShare and StockTwits. And more companies are coming on board every week, which in turn is driving more investors to use these channels.

I can’t say this loud enough: SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOW MAINSTREAM, and companies that haven’t yet started using social media in their IR programs are in danger of finding themselves talking to increasingly smaller audiences.

We have reached the tipping point for social media in investor relations. If you’re not using social media in your IR program yet, you need to make it a priority and start right away.

Jones examines in some detail the example of what US aluminium producer Alcoa is doing with multiple social channels, including Facebook and Twitter, as part of its integrated approach to investor communication, embracing the social with the traditional.

He also references a host of other companies in North America and Europe – probably the most heavily-regulated parts of the world from a financial communication point of view, with tight parameters on what’s permitted and what’s not in terms of using the web and ‘new media’ – and what they’re doing on Twitter, along with great screenshots of their tweets; the list includes Boeing, Ericsson, Daimler, Union Pacific, Vocus, Roche, Amgen, Rio Tinto and more.

Dominic makes it clear in his post that social tools and channels have not replaced traditional methods of communicating investor and related information: the website, the earnings announcement and call, etc. They’re still very much part of the IR landscape.

But it’s equally clear from the well-researched examples in the post that the writing is very much on the wall for companies that continue to rely only on those traditional communication methods.

Read the full story: Social media investor relations reaches tipping point

About Neville Hobson

Entrepreneurial business communicator with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Co-host of the weekly business podcast For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. Also an occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.