When discussing IR and social media with Nordic IROs, they blame the maze of regulations and legal issues as the main reasons to why they not are implementing social media programs or corporate blogs.
Instead of seeing a maze of regulations, I see the legal requirements as a GPS-function that sets the direction for embracing a proactive and interactive dialogue with your investors and analysts.
Social media as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are third party service providers. The consensus among the social media pioneers in IR is that you should continue to publish information in your traditional news distribution channels. Then you will use the social media channels as a complement, for example tweeting the earnings call announcements, linking to a release on your website.
A survey done by Q4 Web Systems in 2009, studying 80 companies use of Twitter, stated that seven out of ten companies (68 %) provided a link to their earnings release.
Dell has been early adopters of social media channels and is as of today one of few companies that have a corporate blog, dedicated to the company’s investor relations’ disclosures.
The main challenge by having a social media program for investor relations is not the maze of regulations. It remains the same as for other channels. As noted by Serena Erlich, EVP for Social Media at US-based Startuparmy :
– “To date no public company (US) has been investigated by SEC for their involvement with traditional social media sites, although several companies have modified their conduct. “
Instead, I would say that the real challenge is to set up a social media policy and strategy and how you measure the success. What is your goal by communicating trough interactive media? Attracting new investors and financial media or just using social media channels as additional information providers?