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Our Blog: The Podium

Three Step Approach to Social Media for Investor Relations

By Dennis Walsh, Vice President

I recently moderated a webinar hosted by NIRI on social media strategies for investor relations. On the panel with me were David Jackson, CEO, Seeking Alpha; RJ Jones, Investor Relations Officer, Zillow; and Andrew Shapiro, Founder, President and Portfolio Manager, Lawndale Capital Management.

The discussion made clear that professional investors are using social media - activists included. In addition, all public companies should have a social media strategy, even if the objective is just to monitor the online conversation.

If you are in charge of managing your company’s investor relations program, you might be wondering how to get started developing your social media strategy. Try following this three step approach:

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IR Program Planning, Reg FD, Shareholder Activism, Disclosure Policy, Shareholder Communications, Social Media, Investor Relations, Monitoring, Activist Investors

Preparing for a Social Media Crisis

By David Calusdian, Executive Vice President & Partner

I recently participated as the designated “social media expert” as part of a crisis communications case study session at the 2012 NIRI Southwest regional conference. This year’s conference was held in New Orleans and the session centered on a fictitious publicly held bead manufacturing company (apropos for the conference host city) that found itself suddenly facing a major environmental crisis. During the true-to-life exercise, attendees took on the roles of the company’s corporate communications officers and were tasked with implementing all aspects of the crisis response plan.

In their new roles, the attendees had to make a number of decisions relating to the immediate actions of the fictitious company, “Beignet Beads & Baubles.” For example, should the company proceed with a press conference with the governor announcing a state grant that afternoon? Should management go forward with a scheduled presentation at a major investor conference in New York the next day? Should a planned announcement of a major plant expansion be delayed? As typically happens with a real crisis, the Beignet Beads & Baubles “crisis team-for-a-day” was given an increasing amount of information to complicate their decision-making process.

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IR Program Planning, Reg FD, Strategic Messaging, IR Website, Crisis Communications, Disclosure Policy, Media Relations, Shareholder Communications, Social Media, Investor Relations, Monitoring, Socialize IR, Activist Investors

It’s Time to Face Social Media for Investor Relations

“But social media for investor relations won’t work for my company!”

The use of social media is radically changing the way our society communicates – and the investment community is no exception. But many investor relations officers still refuse to use social media as an IR tool. I’ve heard any number of reasons why “social media for IR won’t work for my company.” Our business model is primarily B2B. The retail shareholder base is small. Our market cap is less than $500 million. My corporate counsel tends to be conservative regarding disclosure. Notwithstanding the huge volume of research that supports the use of social media in IR, I think it would be easier to land a lunch with Warren Buffett than to convince the typical IRO to set up a Twitter account.

I recently spent a whirlwind of a week focused on social media in investor relations. The NIRI Westchester Connecticut chapter invited me to serve on a panel discussion entitled, “Investor Relations and Twitter – To Do or Not to Do?” with Darrell Heaps, president & CEO at Q4 Websystems (@darrellheaps), Dan Dykens, co-president at Meet the Street (@meetthestreet), and Doug Chia, senior counsel & assistant corporate secretary at Johnson & Johnson (@dougchia). I was pleased to see that more than half the room had at least been on Twitter. Two questions seemed to preoccupy the audience: “what should we know about using Twitter,” and “how can we use it as part of an effective IR strategy?”

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Disclosure, Strategic Messaging, IR Website, Crisis Communications, NIRI, Disclosure Policy, Twitter, IRO, Media Relations, Speaking Engagements, Shareholder Communications, Social Media, Investor Relations, Monitoring, Investor Relations Firm

Crisis Communications: How to Best Prepare for those “Uh-Oh!” Moments

Recently, I served on a panel at the Publicity Club of New England’s “An Inside Look at Crisis Communications” program, along with other corporate and crisis communications veterans from the Boston area. We each shared some of our most memorable cases including events involving government funding cuts, infant product recalls, massive layoffs, insider trading, embezzlement, and my favorite of the evening – the potential euthanasia of all the animals at two state-run zoos.

While the cases ran the gamut of companies private and public, from small start-ups to large multinationals, in industries from consumer goods and high tech to pharmaceuticals and law firms, there were some consistent themes that arose from the discussion.

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Strategic Messaging, Crisis Communications, Media Relations, Speaking Engagements, Social Media, Monitoring

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