Best Practices Guide to Successfully Navigating Social Media for Publicly-Held Companies

January 16, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social + Evolving Media

We are excited to share our latest guide for investor relations and corporate communication professionals outlining the steps they should take (and avoid) to both engage and manage their reputation across social channels.

Business Wire Benefits of SM for IROs

This report details the opportunities and risks of using social media as both a research and communication tool in today’s investor relations programs.  Included are 12 ways investor relations professionals can leverage social media tools for a stronger, more effective engagement program, as well as 12 reasons why social media platforms are not compliant communication tools.

Embracing social media as a news sharing and engagement tool

Business Wire continues to advocate utilizing social media channels to amplify the visibility of company news.  These channels, designed to enhance the communication between organizations and their members, are perfect for brand advocacy.

Business Wire’s guidance for running a successful and legally compliant socially oriented investor communication program include:

  • How to spot an emerging crisis or reputation attack using social media monitoring
  • The importance and impact of multimedia to analysts and other key constituents
  • Real time communications, or why live tweeting earnings works so well
  • Ways to initiate and expand third party sharing of pertinent company information increasing the visibility and authority of your news

Avoiding social channels as a sole means of sharing financial or disclosure oriented news

For the last 4 months, we have taken a long hard look at the concept of utilizing social media distribution channels for financial disclosure.  While we are obviously big fans of utilizing social media as a tool to share news and information, the technology simply is not there yet for these channels to replace traditional disclosure platforms.

Business Wire’s guidance on why social media platforms are not appropriate as the sole method of disclosure includes:

  • Potential coverage limitation
  • Lack of visibility of social updates
  • The impact and risk of message modification
  • Social network demographics and usage rates

To download this free guide in its entirety, visit
Share this with your friends!  Tweet this news out in one click by visiting

Want to schedule a time to speak with a Business Wire sales representative about social media, news distribution and disclosure compliance?  Let us know!

All About the Midwest Investment Conference

August 14, 2013
guest post by James M. Bailey, CFA, Vice President, Manager of Derivatives & Innovation at PNC and Chairperson of the Midwest Investment Conference Committee
James M. Bailey

James M. Bailey

The city of Cleveland will proudly play host to public-company executives, institutional investors and industry analysts from around the region on Nov. 19, 2013, all of whom will be participating in CFA Society Cleveland’s inaugural Midwest Investment Conference (MIC).

MIC presents a unique opportunity for public issuers and qualified institutional investors to engage in an open, no-strings-attached setting and will take place at the newly opened Cleveland Convention Center.

The conference will include presentations from issuers located throughout the Midwest and feature at least two tracks of industrial and materials companies. Those currently registered to attend include:

Investors and analysts will have the opportunity to request one-on-one meetings with management teams, as space and time permit, and sponsors enjoy the benefits of increased visibility among a highly respected audience of decision makers.

Special thanks to those supporting the conference:

Presentation slots and sponsorship opportunities are still available. For general inquiries or more information about attending, presenting or sponsoring, please go to:, email us at, or call us at 216-696-8066.

REMINDER: US Stock Exchanges Closed Thursday, July 4

July 2, 2013

If your company is publicly traded in the US, please be aware that the U.S. exchanges (NYSE/NYSE MKT, NASDAQ, OTCBB, OTC Markets) will be closed on Thursday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day.

The U.S. exchanges will also be closing at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 3.

Calendar of US Federal Holidays:

NYSE Holiday Calendar:

The following are some numbers that may be of assistance:

Dow Jones: 212.416.2000
Reuters: 646.223.6000
Bloomberg: 212.617.2300

US SEC Branch of EDGAR Filer Support
Telephone: (202) 942-8900

NYSE Client Services Department
Telephone: (212) 656-3000
Fax: (212) 656-7299 (212) 656-2294

Telephone: (212) 656-3000 or (212)-656-5804

NASDAQ Stockwatch
Telephone: (800) 537-3929
Fax: (301) 978-8510

Link to

OTC Bulletin Board (OTCBB)
Telephone: (203) 375-9609

The Challenges and Value of Communicating with Your Board

June 21, 2013
by Janice Essick, Regional Manager, Business Wire/Florida
Janice Essick

Janice Essick

As a first timer at the North America NIRI conference held at one of South Florida’s premier venues, the Westin Diplomat, I was overwhelmed with the level of access to experienced, knowledgeable IR experts that were open to sharing their success stories throughout their career.   As an informational resource to our clients, I thought that this session would be mutually beneficial, as I could learn how IROs also act as an internal source of knowledge to their board and share some valuable insight.

Typically, the practice of corporate IR is generally outward-focused, but this discussion spoke about importance of how internal board communications play a key role in the success of the IRO.   The panel consisted of senior level management in various industries, both from the private sector and government contracted organizations.  They offered a wealth of knowledge and shared some interesting stories, as they answered questions asked by Moderator Natalie Hairston, Vice President of Investor Relations, Chief Governance Officer & Corporate Secretary, ENGlobal Corporation.

Excellent panel of experts:

Jeffrey L. Chastain, Vice President, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
Noble Drilling Services, Inc.

Cynthia Clayton, Vice President, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

David Dragics, Senior Vice President, Investor Relations
CACI International

Top 10 valuable tips for communicating with your board shared by the above panelists:

  1. Be brief and share few details as to why the company is performing X% up or down.
  2. Use slide presentations to provide color and commentary for the executive summary.
  3. Send an agenda item request note to board 4 weeks before meeting to have them provide their input on topics.
  4. Be prepared to conduct IR 101 discussions to new board members to define buy/sell sides.
  5. IROs should know how the company is perceived on the street and be able to share these perceptions with the board.
  6. Bring the board up to speed to understand the broader perception of funds flow.  Do not share the minutia.
  7. Share press release announcements with the board.
  8. Explain to the board why investors act a certain way – not necessarily an industry explanation.
  9. If stocks are performing well, be prepared to answer more questions and reasons why by tapping into all resources.
  10. Be careful to invite investors to board meetings.  Find out their agenda first and then make sure management (IRO) is in attendance as well.   Or hold an investor dinner with the top ranking investors and have CEO host the event.

By the end of this discussion, the message was delivered loud and clear:

The IR’s constructive involvement with his or her board is essential in helping its members make decisions regarding strategic direction of the Company that will be supported by investors and strengthen investor confidence, particularly by reducing enterprise risk.

The Push and Pull of Social Media for Investor Relations

June 20, 2013
by Eric M. Bushkin, Senior Account Executive, Business Wire/Florida

There’s a popular old saying: “Save the best for last.” For me, that held true at this year’s NIRI National Conference at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, FL.

As many of our publicly traded partners know, the NIRI National Conference is THE event of the year for IROs to get together, network, learn about what’s new in the world of disclosure and meet companies that provide tools to help make the disclosure world a bit simpler.

It was an honor to be able to be a part of the Business Wire team at this year’s conference and as I looked over this year’s agenda, one particular event stood out in my mind: The last one. And it was all about social media.  The panel consisted of IR practitioners and investment professionals, and provided practical advice on using social media as an additive method of engagement.

The role of social media as a primary disclosure channel wasn’t really in debate – the group felt social media is not appropriate to break material news, but has many uses to help further engage and reach interested constituents.

Dennis Walsh, Vice President & Director, Social Media for Sharon Merrill Associates, did an excellent job on keeping the interactivity lively during the session, titled “Take the Wheel and Drive: Your Company’s Social Media Strategy”

As we learned very early on during this session, not many of us in investor relations are using social media at all as part of our day-to-day communications efforts.  If you’re saying, “I sure do not use social media” you certainly are not alone. In fact, according to a just-released NIRI survey, 72% of us working in investor relations have not even dipped our toes in the social media waters and remain on the side of the pool.

According to the survey, there are several reasons that IROs avoid social media:

  • Lack of investor demand
  •  Management doesn’t see value
  • Inability to control message
  • Lack of understanding on how to best utilize social media

For the minority of us that are engaging in social media, Twitter remains the most-utilized platform.  RJ Jones, investor relations officer at Zillow, provided an innovative and medium-appropriate approach to using social media and the impact it had on earnings questions fielded.  The Zillow team determines in advance which data they want to share via social media, and then creates short info-graphic like images to post during their earnings call.  They don’t live tweet their executive comments, but rather stick to pre-determined messages.  They field questions via their webcast as well as social media.  They pick up additional questions with their follow-up blog post.  A set of practical, manageable and measurable approaches to social media for investor relations amplifies their engagement.

At Business Wire, we’ve long provided a wide range of industry- and topic-specific Twitter channels that auto-tweet client news to financial bloggers, reporters and investors.  We also provide a wide range of channel-specific social media sharing tools on press releases and each piece of multimedia content.  We encourage IROs to understand the keywords, cashtags ($tickersymbol) and platforms that are most used by investors in your stock and industry.  Listening and sentiment tools are a good first start.  (Business Wire’s Social Media Landscape reports can be ordered as one-offs when you issue an earnings report to get a sense of the social impact of your material news.)  In addition, we encourage you to point to your official IR social media channels and step out how you use them – to field questions during calls, to tweet links to press releases and filings, etc.  Remember, consistency is crucial in any communications channel you adopt: Treat news – good or bad – equally in your communications efforts.

What other ways can IROs become more comfortable in getting our message out to the financial community through social channels? It may be a good idea to take a walk down your hall for a visit with your company’s public relations and marketing folks. Those departments have been utilizing social media with regularity for a very long time and certainly can convey some knowledge to help you make an impact and engage your specific audience.

This way, you can collaborate with those members of your communications team to ensure message continuity for all audiences. You’ll also learn ways to both push and pull information:

  • Pull by constantly monitoring a variety of social channels to see what conversations are happening around your company.
  • Push by having a regular program of output into those channels; both your own content and that of your investors and customers, by optimizing your news for search and by making it easy for readers to share your content.

Issuing a press release over Business Wire not only fulfills your disclosure requirements, but pushes your press release out to mainstream media and financial portals, as well as putting your news out on the web, so folks can search for your company and ultimately pull your information from search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Releasing your news to these two important — yet distinctively different – audiences is vital, since most of us are no longer at our offices in front of a desk for the majority of our work day. Mobile’s share of total pageviews is growing every day, and most analysts believe mobile devices are set to overtake desktop PCs as a dominant internet access platform. So we must be able to access news and be able to deliver our message any time of the day, regardless of where we are.

Once you become more and more comfortable using social media you will be able to implement this as part of your IR strategy. After all, 66% of companies already have a social media policy currently in place and it’s imperative that the IR team is adhering to it.

Judging by the attendance at the NIRI session, we have a strong desire to learn more about how best to apply social media in meaningful and compliant ways to investor relations. Always feel free to reach out to your local office at Business Wire so we can teach you some tips and best practices as it pertains to your financial news being released to the masses.

Follow Eric on Twitter for more of his insights on PR, IR and other topics.

The Four Reasons Why We Love Attending IR Conferences

June 6, 2013
by Michael Becker, Senior Vice President, Financial Product Strategy
Michael Becker

Michael Becker, SVP Financial Product Strategy

It’s our favorite time of the year at Business Wire: North American IR conference season. For non-IR community folks reading this post, you are assuredly thinking this guy (two thumbs pointed squarely at me) needs a life. And maybe I do, but allow me to briefly share why we love attending the CIRI and NIRI National conferences.

1) Keen Interest: Clients and prospects alike proactively seek us out and ask, “What new solutions has Business Wire launched this year?” It’s a great question and as a product strategist, one I relish greatly. We know and respect how busy IROs are throughout the year, so we appreciate the proactive nature of conference attendees. Additionally, not only do we get to share what’s new with you, we get to hear your thoughts on innovation, market trends, and product enhancements. A true win-win.

2) Intelligent Attendees: I attended my first NIRI National event in 1999 and I remember thinking, “These are some very sharp folks.” Full disclaimer: I was also very excited by the copious amounts of free sushi. (I was much younger . . .) Fourteen annual conferences later and I still feel the same way (about the attendees, not so much the sushi), which leads to my next point.

3) Sophisticated Products for a Sophisticated Community: This year at NIRI we’ll have experts on hand to discuss Business Wire’s cutting-edge InvestorHQ IR sites, social media monitoring, sentiment and visualization, and next-generation video production services. All new product lines that embody Business Wire’s core tenet to satisfy the distribution and measurement needs of a sophisticated user community.

4) The Intersection of Personal and Professional: As a local NIRI chapter board member and past-president, I am uber-fortunate to see local IR community members fairly frequently. However, as we all get older and invariably busier, the national conferences provide adequate time to learn together, smile and laugh with old and new friends alike, catch-up personally and professionally, share novel ideas and create new memories.

If you are attending the NIRI National conference, please do come by to say hello (Booth #403), take The Warren Buffett IR Trivia Challenge, attend our IR site Lunch and Learn on Tuesday and, of course, remember to ask Business Wire, “What’s new?”

Travel safely!

Take the Warren Buffett IR Trivia Challenge at NIRI 2013 and be entered to win an Apple iPad 3!

REMINDER: US Stock Exchanges Closed Monday, May 27

May 24, 2013

Please be aware that the U.S. exchanges (NYSE/NYSE MKT, NASDAQ, OTCBB, Pink Sheets) will be closed on Monday, May 27  in observance of Memorial Day.

Calendar of US Federal Holidays:

NYSE Holiday Calendar:

The following are some numbers that may be of assistance:Dow Jones: 212.416.2000

Reuters: 646.223.6000
Bloomberg: 212.617.2300US SEC Branch of EDGAR Filer Support
Telephone: (202) 942-8900

NYSE Client Services Department
Telephone: (212) 656-3000
Fax: (212) 656-7299 (212) 656-2294

Telephone: (212) 656-3000 or (212)-656-5804

NASDAQ Stockwatch
Telephone: (800) 537-3929
Fax: (301) 978-8510
Link to

OTC Bulletin Board (OTCBB)
Telephone: (203) 375-9609


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