‘Our general social media strategy is to provide the community with content and context,’ says Patrick Kiss, Deutsche EuroShop’s head of investor and public relations.
Social media will also be used for embedding tools within the site. For example, one section will have presentations embedded using SlideShare.
In addition, Deutsche EuroShop’s two IR officers include in the contacts section details of all their social media accounts, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and even Foursquare, a service that allows users to ‘check in’ at different locations, informing other users of where they have been and how frequently.
Foursquare could help people meet up who are, for example, attending the same conference, says Kiss.
The small size of Deutsche EuroShop’s IR team gives the company more freedom than most other issuers to experiment with social media, adds Kiss. ‘We have the advantage that we are a small team,’ he says.
‘We don’t need the regulations and guidelines companies normally should use. So we are in one room and decide what to do and what not to do and how to react on the fly.’
While Deutsche EuroShop used many social media tools on its previous site, the IR blog is a new initiative. The company has not yet finalised exactly what it will put on the blog, but it could include pictures from conferences, speeches and small videos, says Kiss, who is writing the first two entries today.
Social media tools not only help the company communicate with the investment community, but also give the impression that Deutsche EuroShop is making the most of new technologies, notes Kiss.
‘Some of our analysts, especially in our sector, are really interested in the reaction to the development of the internet because, for shopping centre owners, internet trading is always increasing in competition,’ he explains.
‘Some analysts, especially from the Netherlands, take a close look at what the landlords of shopping centres do in social media.’
The launch comes as debate intensifies over the extent to which companies should use social media for IR. Last week, Strabag, the major German construction company, announced that it would stop sending out messages from its corporate Twitter account indefinitely, blaming a lack of engagement from its followers.
IR consultants say the fact that Strabag could not deep-link to its site from its tweets presented a major challenge to the company successfully engaging via the micro-blogging tool.
Kiss notes that much social media use is passive, not active, and companies should not expect too much from their followers in terms of engagement. ‘We are still waiting for the breakthrough in dialogue through these channels,’ he says.
Deutsche EuroShop’s Patrick Kiss will be among the panelists for IR magazine’s webinar on social media happening on March 10. Click here to find out more.