Getting Social with Investors

by Daina Amorosano, Viacom

In addition to being crack corporate bloggers, one of the hats we wear here at Viacom is to handle financial communications.  So we took a keen interest in “Writing the Book on Investor Relations & Social Media,” a Social Media Week presentation hosted by Jeff Corbin, KCSA Strategic Communications CEO and author of Investor Relations: The Art of Communicating Value.

What we learned is that, while press releases, presentations and conferences are still vital investor relations tactics, social media is creating a new paradigm for financial communications.  Compliments of Corbin, here are a few tips for connecting with the investor community via social media:

  • There’s a Twitter community for investors – Take advantage of Stock Twits’ recent 300% growth in page views, usage and time spent on Stock Twits. Use your Stock Twit symbol – i.e. $VIA for Viacom or $APPL for Apple – to include your company in the Twitter conversation that Stock Twits tracks about a stock ticker.
  • Compliance – Any news that could give rise to a person buying stock needs to comply with disclosure regulations – so a hugely important rule of thumb is that social media isn’t there to break news. You’re simply repurposing the material to share in another place, reach a broader audience, etc.
  • Press – Media is increasingly hard to reach – there are fewer journalists with more to cover, all in less time with a faster news cycle. Use social media to engage journalists who may be stretched.
  • Context – You won’t get analyst coverage out of your social media interaction, but you can at least provide analysts with more information and context. A press release is about attendance at a conference, but pics and thoughts can live on social media.
  • Visibility – While press releases generally hit everyone who’s already interested in your company, you can gain increased visibility through social media: LinkedIn will hit employees; Facebook will hit fans and friends of fans. “You can paint a mosaic picture of your company, and get people talking about what’s going on in your industry,” Corbin said.

During the Q&A, someone voiced concerns about “a bad tweet” – having someone take a tweet out of context and spur a crisis.

But Corbin pointed out that it’s better to have the ability to clear up and control your messaging, and much worse to be missing from the conversation that’s going on with or without you.

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