In my last post, I introduced the concept of social media in an investor relations context. This week, I thought it would be fun to show you a sampling of some of the public companies (read: you can invest in them on a stock exchange) that are leading the charge in this brave, new world.
As you might expect, the big tech companies are flexing their virtual muscles via social media. Deservedly so, Dell gets a lot of recognition (and invitations to speak at IR conferences) for its DellShares site. Cisco is also making great use of video and other social media tools on its IR website. Last year, eBay reported on the events of their annual meeting of shareholders in real time via Twitter. GE uses Twitter to provide a healthy stream of information on its financial results and its intangible assets (remember that term from last week?). An example of a non-tech company making use of social media channels is Caterpillar, which provides great insight into its business via YouTube and elsewhere.
Ironically enough, one of the biggest shadows in the market today is being cast by one of the smaller companies out there — TVI Pacific. This mining company is using a wide range of tools — Twitter, Facebook, SlideShare and a wonderfully robust website — to help investors understand its business and to track its progress toward its growth goals. By also maintaining a presence on Seeking Alpha, one of the most highly used web resources for investors, the company is proactively taking its story to where investors are online.
Another small company using social media to heighten its exposure to investors is Microvision, which manufactures display and imaging solutions. Its corporate blog — Displayground — not only provides up-to-date commentary and information from the company’s team of contributors, but also invites investors to post their questions in advance of the quarterly earnings call. The company reports that numerous investors have responded. The resulting posts have helped management prepare for the call and ensure that the executives are addressing all issues of interest.
Obviously, there are others I could highlight as more and more companies are getting into the fray. The point was not to try to capture every and all occurrences of social media applications in IR, but rather to give you a sense of what such efforts look like in the real world. Next week, let’s spend some time talking about how to get buy-in from the senior management team–as nothing is going to happen without permission. In the meantime, let me know if there are any companies you think are doing a particularly good job in this brave new world of disclosure.