SOURCE: Marketwire

Marketwire

June 19, 2009 09:10 ET

Social Media and Investor Relations Converge at NIRI and CIRI Conferences

Investor Relations Professionals Explore Social Media as Communication Channel at Marketwire-Sponsored Panel Sessions

TORONTO--(Marketwire - June 19, 2009) - Investor relations professionals turned out in force for "The Evolution of Financial Communication," an in-demand panel discussion at the NIRI (National Investor Relations Institute) 2009 Annual Conference on June 9 in Miami and the CIRI (Canadian Investor Relations Institute) Annual Conference on June 14 in Victoria, BC, where investor relations officers and communication consultants shared best practices for using social media as a channel for disseminating financial and material news and communicating directly with investors, consumers and other stakeholders. Marketwire sponsored both sessions.

PANELISTS: NIRI

PANELISTS: CIRI

SESSION HIGHLIGHTS

  • With 57 percent of the internet audience having a social media profile, social media is a good way to spread material information that has already been vetted. It adds another channel, giving more people access to company news and inviting their perspectives.

  • Public companies should establish a social media policy to avoid potential liability. If an employee discusses an upcoming trip to Abu Dhabi on his or her Facebook page, for example, it's a fair guess that there is a big deal in the offing. To prevent disclosure problems, Dell, Cisco and AMD implemented a certification process and social media training for their staff members.

  • The web is a prominent IR research venue for institutional investors. Seeking Alpha is a site where ex-analysts and financial bloggers write advice pieces through blogs; 25 percent of those users are institutional investors. StockTwits, an offshoot of Twitter, is a site that is primarily used for discussions on trading.

  • Investor relations professionals should be proactive about distributing financial information so they can control their messages. One good way is through Slideshare, a social media site with 20,000 unique users per month that allows investor presentations to be shared. Another good way is to post a Q&A with the CFO after the initial earnings announcement. In addition, you can post a two-minute video of your CEO talking on your corporate site and drive traffic there by posting the news on Twitter. Make sure that any shared content is useful and that information does not go to one investor and not to another.

  • If your IR website is user-friendly and accessible, social media can grow from there. This also makes it easier for shareholders to share content with sites such as Facebook -- the most popular place for sharing IR content.

ATTRIBUTIONS

  • Microvision's Tiffany Bradford explains that today, companies need to be able to respond to issues and to audiences in real time, and social media can allow for this kind of immediate, ongoing communication. She views a corporate blog as another tool to get information out to the market; it's a form of communication like a phone call or email.

  • Timothy Carey of ICR says that sixty percent of the internet audiences worldwide use social media -- they're logging on to social media sites and checking their feeds. He advises packaging your information with good content, posting it on your corporate website, and providing notices and summary posts that drive people back to your site. But he says not to put new messages on other channels -- they should not be viewed as alternative methods to meet RegFD but as additional ways for people to get that same information.

  • David Cesarini recommends that small companies should start monitoring the online conversation, and using a free service like Google Alerts is a good place to start. Social media is not just about blogging, he says, and networking sites offer the ability to share valuable information that is already in public domain.

  • AMD's Ruth Cotter makes the point that in the world of social media, content is king. She says we have to speak in much more efficient and leaner ways in terms of our messaging than we've had to before -- and that we're going to have to adapt our skills.

  • Darrell Heaps emphasizes that social media doesn't replace great content, whether it's on a website, in a press release or a video. The new doesn't replace the old, he says -- it just adds new ways for that content to be discovered by more viewers and more potential investors... it adds another layer.

  • Eileen Cassidy Rivera expresses concerns about giving away information to one investor and not to another. She says there's a "fear factor" among her management team that social media tools will allow information to get out of control.

RESOURCES

Marketwire offers a variety of services to help IR professionals communicate effectively with their audiences, including the social media full-disclosure press release and Easy IR workflow solution. For more information on all of Marketwire's communication and news distribution solutions, please call 800-774-9473.

About Marketwire

The only fully integrated North America-based global newswire, Marketwire, Inc. is a full-service partner to IR, PR and MarCom professionals seeking top-tier news distribution, media management, multimedia and monitoring solutions. Marketwire's customer-centric corporate philosophy focuses on being the best by infusing every aspect of its business with the following core attributes: precision, adaptability, innovation and simplicity.

Marketwire delivers its clients' news to the world's media and financial communities, fulfilling disclosure requirements in North America in compliance with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), and serving as Primary Information Provider (PIP) with the UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA). With a reputation for technology leadership, Marketwire offers innovative products and services -- including Social Media, Search Engine Optimization, Dashboard Mobile Financial, News Dashboard coverage reports, exclusive access to networks such as the Canadian Press Wire Network, Easy IR and Easy PR workflow solutions, and more -- that help communication professionals maximize their effectiveness while ensuring accuracy and best practices. Having merged companies (Market Wire and CCNMatthews) in April 2006, and enjoying a combined history of 25 years of service, Marketwire is now majority-owned by OMERS Capital Partners, the private equity arm of one of Canada's largest pension funds. Marketwire distributes the majority of press releases issued by publicly traded companies in Canada and serves more than 8,000 clients worldwide through 20 offices on four continents. For more information, visit us at www.marketwire.com.

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