Social Media, Wall Street, and the Big Questions Still Being Asked

July 10, 2014

By M. Joe Curro, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire

Show me something innovative, not just new. I have a wide range of interests, but one thing that really gets me going is finding a creative approach, a new way of presenting what I’ve seen before. A triple-A game studio released yet another first-person military simulation? Meh. Astoria is getting another fusion restaurant? Yawn. Netflix is suggesting another season of Star Trek… OK, bad example. How do they know me so well?

I had the opportunity to witness a creative approach last Thursday at PRSA-NY’s inaugural #SocialWallStreet Meetup. Held at the Museum of American Finance, the event featured a discussion of how to address the questions facing Wall Street’s use of social media. New regulations have been passed, but few companies seem eager to embrace the opportunity. The decision to frame the event as an “unconference” was more than the cheerful adoption of an undefined buzzword. It was brilliant.

prsa socialwallstreetBusiness Wire has been a part of this debate for years, encouraging our clients to use social media channels as part of a well-rounded communications strategy for both PR and IR. While there are plenty of risks to keep in mind, social media has the potential to be incredibly valuable. I was glad to see that Business Wire’s message has clearly been getting out there. As a refresher, check here for a white paper on the risks and rewards of social media for regulated companies.

David Rosen, SVP of Digital Corporate & Public Affairs at Edelman, ably played MC to a group of about 50 participants from agencies, financial companies and others. David got the ball rolling by laying the framework for the day — namely, that we were not there to debate whether or not permission had been granted from a regulatory standpoint for companies to use social media. We were working from the assumption that it had, and the question we needed to answer was: Now what?

The event started with brief presentations and a free-form Q&A session with David’s experts, Joyce Sullivan, VP of Social Business Programs at Socialware, and Tom Chernaik, CEO and Co-Founder of CommandPost/CMP.LY.  We then brainstormed in groups of five or six, while David, Joyce and Tom circulated among us, and came up with the most immediate concerns preventing a company from embracing social media as part of its communications strategy.  Once we had around two dozen questions, we voted to determine the top six that we felt needed the most urgent attention. Each group took one question and proposed specific answers that could be implemented to address the concerns of cautious social media adopters.

The groups considered:

  1. How to convince senior management that social media isn’t just for teenagers
  2. How to make the business case for social media
  3. How to create compliant content
  4. How to help people realize that social media is more than just Twitter
  5. How to do real-time response
  6. How to respond if your social channels are hacked

We arrived at some clever answers and heard a broad range of ideas. But the part I like best is that we’re not done. The #SocialWallStreet event was not intended to be a one-off experiment. It was a seed to get a conversation growing in our industry. There will be future Meetups (and I look forward to them), but we should be talking about this constantly.

The answers proposed by the attendees of Thursday’s event can be seen here. I invite anyone and everyone to join the conversation, and if you’ve got an idea to share, let us know.  Post a comment to the event summary. Start a debate within your own company. Heck, send me your idea! This is just going to get more interesting, and I want to see how it turns out.

Joyce captured the attitude of the event perfectly as she wrapped up her opening remarks: “The regulations are in place, but you’re all waiting for someone to give you permission. OK, fine. I give you permission. Now get to it.”  Sounds good to me.


Combine your IR and PR news or separate them? Reporters weigh in

July 7, 2014

Should a public company's financial content reside within the online newsroom or within the IR site_q30_2014As time becomes more precious for today’s journalists, company websites, or more specifically online newsrooms and IR sites become increasingly important.  As the importance of these sites grows, so does the question of how to highlight the content relevant for each of an organization’s differing audiences.  For example, should public companies combine financial data with branded content?  Or do reporters prefer separate microsites, each highlighting the content relevant for that specific reader, making it easier for the visitor to find what they are looking for?

Find out what reporters want in an online newsroom in Ibrey Woodall’s latest article in our series based on the results of the 2014 Business Wire Media Survey.

Click here to read: Hosting Corporate Financial Data: Online Newsroom or IR Site?

Download a copy of our Media Survey results at: http://go.businesswire.com/business-wire-media-survey-results


Footballing nations battling it out in the IR Magazine Awards!

June 11, 2014

By: Chen-Lee Tsui, Manager, European Marketing/London

With only a few weeks to go, the IR Magazine Europe 2014 awards are due to take place on Tuesday 24th June. For the football/soccer fans among us, this is the same evening as England’s first World Cup game against Costa Rica!annual IR Magazine Awards ‒ Europe

Now in its 24th year in London, this event celebrates the best Investor Relations achievements across various industry sectors and acknowledges the contributions made by individuals as well as by teams. For both winners and runners-up an IR Magazine Award means that those selected have demonstrated they have created results that deliver real business benefits.

The short list for the awards came out recently. If you’d like a flutter the odds are in favour of Germany – a great footballing nation, with 27 nominations across 17 main award categories. Another world class football team, England (read: UK), picks up 18 nominations (five more than last year!). The Scandinavian countries (sorry, not qualified for the World Cup) share nine nominations, followed by Italy (six), Spain & Portugal (five) and last but not least the orange footballing giant, the Netherlands, with two.

booth

Business Wire has been supporting this industry leading awards program for more than 11 years. This year without fail, we will be present. Back by popular demand, a branded photo booth will be there to capture your evening with friends and colleagues! Attendees will have the opportunity to get their pictures taken for free at the photo booth, providing a great “take-away” lasting memory of the event.

We hope to see many of you there “strike a pose”. Email us with questions, or if you would like to meet up during the program.  See you in London on the 24th June!


Decoding the 2014 Global Trends in Investor Relations

March 21, 2014

By Farah Merchant, Global Disclosure Specialist, Business Wire

BNY Mellon, a global leader in investment management and investment services, conducted its ninth annual Global Trends in Investor Relations survey in late 2013. Nearly 700 companies from 63 countries ranging in different market capitalizations and industry sectors participated in the survey.

Below are some interesting takeaways from this year’s survey:

  • The survey showed that only 27% of quoted companies globally are using social media to communicate with investors. Companies by-in-large reported not adopting social media because of “lack of investor demand” (61%). Other reasons were that management did not see the value of using social media (37%) as well as insufficient resources (33%).
    • The only region that showed an increase in social media use as an IR tool was in Western Europe, where 45% were reported using social media, an increase from 32% the previous year. Developed Asia, on the other hand, was the most reluctant region.
    • Twitter, StockTwits, Mobile Apps and Facebook were the more common social media platforms used, while other social media channels, such as LinkedIn and YouTube have shown a decline in the past few years.

BNY Mellon: Companies not using social media

  • Another trend from the survey is the changing influence of financial media. Most companies still recognize the importance of global financial newspapers such as the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal but increasingly acknowledge that professional investor news services leveraging on-air or on-line environments such as Bloomberg and Reuters have more influence on their current and prospective investors.
    • More than 84% of respondents (an increase from 58% in 2012) rated Bloomberg and Reuters as the most influential outlets while 52% declared the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal to have the most influence.  Another area of growth is investor-generated media, the likes of Seeking Alpha and Motley Fool, which surged from 5% to 15% from 2012 to 2013.

BNY Mellon:  What Media Outlets Matter to IROs and Investors

  • One final point I found interesting was the growing focus on expanding one’s shareholder base worldwide.  Nearly two-thirds of the Western European companies surveyed said their top goal in 2013 was to diversify their shareholder base internationally. The same could be said for Emerging Asia and the Middle East too.
    • In what could be perceived as a contradiction, more than one third of the companies surveyed admitted they do not distribute financial result press releases internationally.  Also, very few investor meetings and conferences were held outside home markets.

BNY Mellon: Growing International Shareholder Base

The landscape of IR is constantly evolving and the results of this survey reflect these changes.  IR professional’s need to continue evaluating the tools available, from new and existing social media platforms, to more traditional engagement methods such as press releases and investor meetings. Staying on top of trends in the global marketplace, and using all the tools available are essential for an effective IR strategy.

To read the full report, Global Trends in Investor Relations 2013: A Survey Analysis of IR Practices Worldwide, Ninth Edition, click here.


Which Publications Inform Today’s Leading Communicators?

March 18, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Earlier this year we asked blog readers to share their top daily reads.  We wanted to see which publications are considered must-reads among today’s communications experts.  Do communicators rely on mainstream media to keep them up to date through mainstream media, like The New York Times?  Industry trade magazines such as Mashable?  Or social networks including Twitter and LinkedIN?

The results were somewhat surprising.  With 152 respondents to date, our survey shows:

  • Just 20% of respondents said they read mainstream media such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today on a daily basis, yet these publications continue to be the top-desired coverage targets for small and big B2B and B2C companies alike.
  • Only 9% of those who replied use LinkedIn as a news source, yet LinkedIn continues as a top conversion platform for many businesses.
  • 17% noted Twitter as their primary news source, the highest of any social network, with one communicator smartly pointing out that Twitter’s speed makes  tools such as Google Alerts less valuable.
  • 14% relied on PR industry trades suggesting that these outlets, while valuable, may not produce content frequently enough to warrant a daily read.
  • A mere 2-11% read highly targeted social, digital or SEO-oriented blogs and articles. While this may be because these topics are heavily covered  in other industry publications, we were still surprised by such a low number.

What do you think?  Which publications are you reading every day?  Take two minutes to fill out this survey yourself, and we will continue to share updates as the data change.

Business Wire Reader Survey

Business Wire Reader Survey

You can find the survey here:  http://blog.businesswire.com/2014/02/27/what-publications-to-top-marketers-read-business-wire/


Investor Thoughts on the SEC’s Proposed Disclosure Reform

February 13, 2014

By Farah Merchant, Business Wire

SEC Chair Mary Jo White recently issued a staff report to Congress on disclosure reform initiatives.  The report, mandated by Congress in the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, offers an overview of the SEC’s Regulation S-K.

Regulation S-K pertains to disclosure, and first applies to companies upon IPO that register with the SEC using form S-1, and refers to ongoing reporting requirements in Forms 8-K and 10-K.

SEC reportWhite’s primary concern is the risk of information overload to investors, and she defined information overload as, “a phenomenon in which ever-increasing amounts of disclosure make it difficult for an investor to wade through the volume of information they receive to ferret out the information that is most relevant.”

She believes the guidance needs to be updated as there is repetition in disclosure, where certain items appear in more than one section, i.e., information on legal proceedings that appears in its own section but also in the notes to financial statements, risk factors and MD&A.

White addressed the need for input from market participants for the following proposed recommendations:

  • Recommending that companies file a “core document” or “company profile” with information that changes infrequently (needs to be reworded)
  • Amending the filing process by streamlining and simplifying disclosure requirements to reduce administrative costs
  • Researching ways to enhance the presentation and communication of information; and to use technology to address these issues

Click here for a copy of the full SEC report.

Is less disclosure more helpful or harmful to investors?

According to a recent Fortune article, the early opinion on the street is that although the disclosure requirements of the SEC may need an updated and possible streamlining, the information currently available is useful and helpful.

Although it may be true that not all investors read a filing in full, there are many that do, as the full filing provides insight on investment and voting decisions. By having more information available, investors feel that they can be more diligent in assessing risks. If nothing else, the recent financial crisis has taught investors a valuable lesson and that is to be more informed, more educated and to not discount risks.

So already we have a difference of opinion. On one hand you have the SEC looking to ‘simplify’ their disclosure process, with the possibility of reducing the amount of information necessary for companies to meet disclosure requirements. On the other hand, you have the street, which at first blush is more than happy with the amount of content and would be happy to receive even more granular details.

So where do you stand on SEC disclosures: More, less, or just right?


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 http://go.businesswire.com/social-media-for-financial-disclosure
Share this with your friends!  Tweet this news out in one click by visiting http://ctt.ec/UEbvf

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


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