I launched the China Stock Blog in 2004 (now Seeking Alpha China Stocks) and consequently done product development. I’m no more associated with the business. “cultural/business mass media pilot program geared towards the needs of companies and IROs specifically. The brand-new platform will obviously identify (and certify) a user as the IR representative of an organization on the site, therefore allowing direct communication with investors. 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 employed in IR, make SA your social media home. Forget Twitter. Use SA’s real-time investor platform and other serious investors. SA’s renewed effort to end up being the social press home for IR would seem to seem sensible. A recently available study shows that public companies are using Twitter for IR purposes significantly.
And, supposing a trend is represented by these survey results, this demonstrates a stark departure from IR’s background to do a little online beyond their own commercial websites. SA might be aware of this or is merely hoping to end up being the real-time investor system of choice before Twitter (or StockTwits for that matter) increases too much traction force in IR/trader circles.
From an IR perspective (assuming you have the resources), I’d suggest experimenting using all 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 guessing that IR seems the same way since these SA tools have been available for quite a while, and few, if any, IR professionals seem to be participating. What else is SA currently doing for IR? Well, SA’s CEO has been courting IR for a long time (since my departure) as you can see here (sub req) and here (sub req).
My figure is he began speaking with the IR Web Report (a must-read for anyone in IR) after the editor penned a series about how useful StockTwits and StockTwits Desktop can be for IR professionals. While I wouldn’t recommend advertising (ROI unclear), Dominic’s suggestions for identifying bloggers who may potentially write about your business is a great idea and a no-brainer. Similarly, I’ve always recommended that IR encourage their institutional traders to contribute articles to SA.
Institutional holders know your story, they’ve done intensive research, they can articulate your stock moving catalysts, and, if they’re still position post-credit crisis they could engender some respect from fellow SA readers. I’ve enough anecdotal evidence to claim that contributions from institutional holders can lead to 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 firm Jaffoni & Collins made sure that there have been no violations of RegFD and we made ourselves open to remove any unacceptable comments (of which there were none of them). The high quality of questions posed was a testament to the SA community. IR Web Report called the Q&A program: “the future of IR”.
For a number of reasons the SA Q&Awas eventually lost steam — however, not because open public companies weren’t interested. There’s no good reason this service can’t be re-launched, assuming, of course, you have the correct partner at SA. For all those concerned about RegFD, issuing a press release announcing the Q&A, including a legal disclaimer, and performing as careful when you are about not disseminating non-public information should be sufficient always.
But, checking out with your lawyer is an apparent proceed 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 had been in discussions with an IR professional who wanted us to host a Q&A so his CEO could address negative rumors impacting his stock.