Twits and Stones May Break Your Bones

Photo Credit: crunchbase.com

As the year begins to wrap up and office parties kick into high gear, I wonder what next year holds for the world of investor relations.  Proxy access, say-on-pay and XBRL were widely discussed topics throughout the year, but none may have reached the feverous pitch more than the use of social media in investor relations; and that trend will likely continue in the New Year thanks to a recent development.
 
Last week, Yahoo! Finance launched a feature called “Market Pulse,” an area of the site that aggregates feeds or discussions of a particular stock in real-time from StockTwits and Covestor. If you have never heard of StockTwits, just think of it as Twitter for the world of investing. Maybe a little less known is Covestor, a social network for investors that allows them to mirror transactions of other investors.
 
At first glance, I admit that I dismissed StockTwits as nonsensical ramblings by a bunch of “Twits” and Covestor as speculative herd mentality – but I decided to take a closer look.
 
Within a few seconds, I noticed that Dell recently created an official StockTwits page, for which they most likely paid the going rate of $250 dollars a month. Their page had around 45 posts and five followers through last month, and I began to wonder why Dell might have established the account in the first place.  My thoughts:
 

  1. Monitoring online conversations is an important component of reputation management. If you are not engaging with your investor constituencies online, you should at least be listening and ready to respond.
     

  2. As investor audiences increasingly move online, content should be distributed across multiple platforms simultaneously.
     

  3. Companies do not always need a press release or Web cast to communicate with shareholders.  Sometimes it is more efficient and cost effective to express yourself in 140 characters or less.

 
As social media platforms debut and real-time applications evolve, I suspect that in the New Year the investor relations community will have plenty of new services to consider.  While it is important to keep an open mind, one should understand their value and whether they are worth the time and money in the first place.

 

Matt Sheldon, msheldon@pondel.com
 
 

Why Football is Just Like Investor Relations

Photo Credit: Al Guel Photography on Flickr

As a huge fan of the game of football, I got to thinking recently about how similar things are in my daily life as an investor relations professional to Eli Manning’s life as the star quarterback for the New York Giants (shameless plug for my hometown team – Go Giants!).
 
In football and in investor relations strategy is key.  Eli Manning spends hours strategizing about the best way to win the next big game.  I spend hours strategizing about the best way for my clients to win positive attention from the investment community.
 
In football and in investor relations knowing the competition is paramount.  Eli scrutinizes his competition by watching clips, reading scouting reports and analyzing other teams’ histories to gain the upper hand.  I scrutinize clients’ peers by reading voraciously, examining financial statements and listening to chatter to make sure I understand industry dynamics, know the analysts who cover the space and recognize what propels investors to buy.
 
In football and in investor relations communications is vital.  On the field, Eli must talk to his players to relay plays, position his players correctly and make sure they are all on the same page.  Likewise, I must communicate with clients, investors and analysts to ensure we are all on the same page.
 
In football and in investor relations, you must play by the rules of the game.  There are hundreds of rules that govern the game of football.  Coaches, players and referees must follow them and embrace them.  There are also hundreds of rules that govern the practice of investor relations from the exchanges to the SEC to employing IR best practices.
 
In football and in investor relations, the eye is on the long-term prize.  For Eli, that prize is a Super Bowl ring.  For me, it’s helping clients grow and sustain shareholder value.
 
While watching me in action is surely less exciting than watching Eli fire the ball down the field, we may just be kindred spirits.

 

Laurie Berman, lberman@pondel.com