Get started with social media
I wrote earlier that the development of social media from an IR perspective among Swedish listed companies have been at a standstill over the past year. This is indeed a pity because these channels are creating unprecedented opportunities to communicate with both existing and potential shareholders as well as other stakeholders. It’s also worth remembering that these activities also improve search engine optimization for the company website.
Regardless if you are a small or a large company, there are great benefits to start using social media. It may be easiest to absorb the benefits for smaller companies that often have a good story to tell but no or very few who listen. In that case social media is a great way to spread the message in order to increase knowledge and interest in the company. But also for very large companies the use of social media can drive traffic and increase interest. A good example is Dell that by actively using Twitter, posting presentations on SlideShare, posting videos on YouTube etc., during the last two quarters increased their potential reach from 1.5 million to 12 million people. You can read more about this in a very good blog post written by Canadian Q4 Web Systems.
Obviously most companies do not have the same resources as Dell, but a good way to get started with social media is by using existing material, thereby limiting the resources and commitment required.
SlideShare, YouTube and Twitter are the channels that are easiest to get started with.
Uploading presentations to SlideShare increases both the possibility and the likelihood of more interested readers. Another benefit of uploading presentations to SlideShare is that they can be embedded on the company’s website by use of a plug-in, thus making reports and presentations more appealing to visitors. Via the SlideShare channel you can see how many people read the uploaded presentations and at the same time interested readers are provided with the option to subscribe/follow company posts.
If there is video content available it is easy to create a YouTube channel where all moving images can be uploaded. YouTube can also be embedded on the website. From the embedded channel, visitors can click through to the actual YouTube channel or subscribe to the channel directly from the company’s website.
By using Twitter investors and others can be made aware of already-published information, such as links to quarterly reports or press releases, and thus increase the circulation and searchability of these news items. Moreover, IRO’s can remind of dates for upcoming events, reports and telephone conferences, etc. In order to get real impact it is of course better to proactively create interesting posts, but by using existing material the majority of companies would be able to create a sufficient Twitter feed to get started.
By starting the social media engagement in a small scale with existing material a good entry point can be obtained with a limited effort. Once you have mastered these channels, it is much easier to take the next step to further drive interest and traffic.
A U.S. study published yesterday shows that the use of social media among financial professionals is growing significantly. The adoption of social media for IR purposes in Sweden are still far behind North America, however trends on the other side of the Atlantic have a tendency to eventually reach us. At that point, it is important to be well prepared and at least have one foot on the playing field, or what do you think?