5 Surprising Facts About Social Media for Investor Communication

A recent webinar by Inside Investor Relations dug into the factors that can mean the difference between good and bad shareholder communications via social media, and the polls conducted live during the event reveal much about how companies see the value of social media in dealing with their owners.

If you’re looking for articles about which companies are using social media well (and which are not), you’ll never run out of reading material. There are countless instances of this on similarly countless blogs, with varying methodologies … and some with none beyond simple preference. But, when you can find a study with data in it, you know you have your hands on something fun. A recent webinar by Inside Investor Relations dug into the factors that can mean the difference between good and bad shareholder communications via social media, and the polls conducted live during the event reveal much about how companies see the value of social media in dealing with their owners.

So, what’s the outcome? In addition to providing some insights into how companies are using social media for investor relations, the webinar offered up some data that is certainly food for thought. Here are five nibbles of intelligence that might take you by surprise:

1. Investor relations teams are becoming more likely to adopt social media tools for use in communicating with shareholders and analysts. During the webinar, a poll revealed that 33 percent believe in the value of them already. That’s hardly pervasive, but it’s definitely a great first step.

2. Only 44 percent of investor relations professionals say they never tweet or update as part of the job. Meanwhile, 40 percent say they do, but fewer than 10 times a week. Still, that’s a solid commitment when you think of all the approval processes behind it.

3. Forty percent of the participants say their companies have a dedicated social media manager in some department – though it could be in marketing or public relations instead of investor relations. Nonetheless, that’s a firm sign of a company’s commitment to using social media. Eventually, it is likely to serve as a platform for adoption on an enterprise-wide basis.

4. Among the greatest challenges to social media adoption is the reluctance of the executive team, a problem that means more education and tighter business cases will be necessary to facilitate social media adoption. It can be done, it just takes a little more work.

5. The other major barrier is the availability of resources – and this can be a bit more difficult to overcome. In my experience, the only way to do this is brute strength. When I got my first corporate blog off the ground, I worked late nights for several weeks to get my business case together, a trend that wound up continuing for months as I got it up and running. As I made progress, I was able to make a stronger case for small resource allocations – because I had something to show. You’ll have to invest your own time first, and if your investment pays off, your company may reward you with capital and employee time.