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Investor Relations Turning To Social Media (Finally!)
I recently had a conversation with a Financial Analyst for an investment firm - a local branch of one of the big boys - about social media and how their company was using it in the course of business. He shook his head and proceeded to explain that due to the risk of liability involved in discussing their business, their employees were prohibited from posting on social media accounts. While the marketing department could make rather watered down statements in relation to company activities, not much else was available.
This makes sense. Sometimes social media can be a bit too social. But what a missed opportunity! Consider that clients and prospects alike already discuss these topics and may want to have an outlet to reach out to an expert.
Last week, LinkedIn became a public company. Using their own applications, they were able to disseminate investor information through their network in a way that did not expose them to undue risk. LinkedIn decided to take the relevant investor information and post it to their SlideShare modules (essentially online PowerPoint decks.)
It's isn't that LinkedIn did anything extraordinary but they have shown that a company's website shouldn't be the end-all/see-all of finance/investment information. While the website is safe, controlled and relatively predictable, using the LinkedIn network and the slideshare module reaches an audience that can interact with the information without risk of liability. It creates opportunities to showcase information to a larger audience and develop a following.
Twitter is also being used to generate buzz about company earnings. Using Twitter to broadcast an earnings call is becoming more common. Shareholders are advised of a specific Twitter hastag and receive real time updates during the course of the meeting. Again, the information being broadcast is sanctioned and interactive without the overreaching fear that the company is primed for a lawsuit.
I am not suggesting that everything that hits social media is risk-free. However, I am saying that by creating an avenue by which stockholders or clients can follow in real time or via LinkedIn, financial firms create opportunities to promote their brand, interact with current and prospective clients and drive business much more so than reliance on their own site.
Isn't that what social media is all about?
Washington Post Article: