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
 
 

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