Building a pipe directly into social networks

Canada’s Q4 Web Systems keeps pushing the boundaries. Today Q4 announced that it has integrated StockTwits into IR websites the same way it did with Twitter and Facebook.

By pushing corporate messages directly into the social networking sites using their application programming interfaces (APIs), Q4 avoids the delays and uneven access that can nobble the social web.

The announcement comes on the same day that StockTwits announced a new IR suite and CMP.LY introduced CMP.LY4Finance, giving financial services companies a way to include compliance disclosures such as safe harbor statements even in 140-character tweets. CMP.LY/F codes debuted today on StockTwits.

Darrell Heaps, Q4’s co-founder and CEO, says that as far as he knows, Q4 is the only IR website provider connecting directly with social networks on a programming level. Other vendors still use RSS feeds, which can have timing problems.

There’s another advantage in publishing directly to StockTwits: messages are distributed to the service’s content partners including Yahoo! Finance, Bloomberg, Reuters, CNN Money and Bing Finance.

Plus, by ‘claiming their ticker’, companies can make sure their messages are ‘sticky’ and stay at the top of their StockTwits ticker page.

Take Barrick Gold, for example. Its Q4 connection to StockTwits went live today with an announcement about the company’s offer for Equinox sticking at the top of the page as other messages pop up beneath it.

Q4 also integrates with social media sites such as YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare and Vimeo, but in the opposite direction. For example, a client posts a presentation on Slideshare then Q4 pulls it down and renders it on the client’s website.

However, Heaps says that more and more content will originate on Q4’s platform then get distributed to the social media sites.

On one level, it’s odd that Q4, which builds IR websites, is so focused on the social web, which could arguably supplant or at least distract users away from issuer websites.

Heaps dismisses that notion. ‘The way the market is heading, the corporate IR website is always going to have a relevancy and an importance,’ he says.

‘Some consumer companies may be pulling back on their websites and putting all their investment into Facebook. But in the IR space, with its regulatory environment and investor demands, companies have to maintain corporate websites then publish out to networks like StockTwits to raise awareness.’

Q4 will be at the NIRI conference in Orlando next week showing off its wares. In addition to integrating social networks and pushing content out, Heaps will demonstrate how corporate websites could begin embedding more social features.

And he doesn’t mean a simple Facebook button that sends users off the site. Instead, a company could show the action on Facebook, Twitter and StockTwits but show it right on its own site.

‘It’s about integrating social networks into your own website rather than sending people elsewhere,’ Heaps says.

[Article by Neil Stewart, IR magazine]

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