What Else Is SA Currently Doing For IR?
I launched the China Stock Blog in 2004 (now Seeking Alpha China Stocks) and consequently worked on product development. I’m no affiliated with the business longer. “social/business media pilot program exclusively geared towards the needs of companies and IROs. The new platform will clearly identify (and certify) a user as the IR representative of a company on the website, allowing immediate communication with investors therefore. By offering a set of tailored social media tools to IR professionals, Seeking Alpha is reducing the pain points of general social media tools by cutting out the static of general platforms and focusing exclusively on the business/investment community.
If you’re used in IR, make SA your interpersonal media home. Forget Twitter. Use SA’s real-time trader platform and also other serious investors. SA’s renewed work to become the social mass media home for IR would seem to seem sensible. A recent survey shows that public companies are increasingly using Twitter for IR purposes.
And, assuming a pattern be represented by these survey results, this demonstrates a stark departure from IR’s history of doing little online outside of their own corporate websites. SA might be aware of this or is merely hoping to end up being the real-time investor platform of preference before Twitter (or StockTwits for that matter) increases too much grip in IR/buyer circles.
From an IR perspective (if you do the resources), I’d suggest experimenting using many of these platforms. But, in general, there are so many things SA could be doing to benefit IR with a clearer ROI, it’s difficult to get excited about this so-called “pilot program”. I’m speculating that IR seems the same manner since these SA tools have been designed for quite a while, and few, if any, IR professionals appear to be taking part. What else is SA currently doing for IR? Well, SA’s CEO has been courting IR for years (since my departure) as you can see here (sub req) and here (sub req).
My figure is he started speaking with the IR Web Report (a must-read for anyone in IR) after the editor penned a string about how useful StockTwits and StockTwits Desktop can be for IR specialists. While I wouldn’t recommend advertising (ROI unclear), Dominic’s suggestions for determining bloggers who could potentially write about your company is a superb idea and a no-brainer. Similarly, I’ve always suggested that IR encourage their institutional investors to contribute articles to SA.
Institutional holders know your tale, they’ve done intensive research, they can articulate your stock moving catalysts, and, if they’re still standing post-credit turmoil they could engender some respect from fellow SA readers. I have enough anecdotal evidence to claim that contributions from institutional holders can result in attracting new leads and occasionally new investors. Q&A with Wave Systems (WAVX) CEO Steve Sprague was the most successful. The SA audience was involved for three consecutive times peppering the CEO with questions about his business.
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David Collins of IR company Jaffoni & Collins made sure that there were no violations of RegFD and we made ourselves open to remove any incorrect comments (of which there were nothing). The high quality of questions posed was a testament to the SA community. IR Web Report called the Q&A session: “the future of IR”.
For a variety of reasons the SA Q&As eventually lost steam — however, not because open public companies weren’t interested. There’s no reason this service can’t be re-launched, presuming, of course, you have the proper partner at SA. For all those concerned about RegFD, issuing a press release announcing the Q&A, including a legal disclaimer, and acting as careful as you always are about not disseminating non-pubic information should be sufficient.
But, looking at with your lawyer is an apparent move to cover your bases. Question and answer sessions can also be useful for companies looking to address a specific issue. Before I left SA Shortly, I used to be in discussions with an IR professional who wanted us to host a Q&A so his CEO could address negative rumors impacting his stock.