IR departments are holding back from using social media because of compliance fears – but they shouldn’t do, according to panelists on a webinar held today by the UK’s IR Society.
The online event – titled ‘Monitoring technology’ – discussed the obstacles facing companies that want to use social media for investor outreach, and how they can be overcome.
‘As long as people understand the regulatory environment and are given the appropriate permission, there is no reason not to embrace it,’ said Richard Coope, head of digital media at communications consultancy Radley Yeldar.
IROs should be involved closely in the creation of a company’s social media policy, to make sure their regulatory concerns are taken into account as the policy is crafted, added Coope.
Companies may be nervous about social media because they are new, but you should remember they are just another form of media, commented Adam Channell, a product manager at PR Newswire.
‘If it’s something you wouldn’t be comfortable saying in a TV interview or putting in an advert in a newspaper, it’s probably safer to avoid tweeting about it,’ he said. ‘I think that’s the best rule of thumb, really.’
One question from the audience asked how an already stretched IR department could begin using social media without overburdening itself.
‘There is nothing wrong with having an integrated policy with your market communications and your PR people – and certainly for a smaller company that makes absolute sense,’ advised Channell.
‘In terms of initial steps, the easy things are setting up a company Twitter account and Facebook page. Both of those are free to do, they can be set up quite quickly, and they lay the essential groundwork for directing engagement with the investment community.’