I have spent the last year really deep in the Investor Relations world as we build out Stocktwits for the Enterprise. As Dominic says on his forward thinking blog IR Web Report, we have tipped. Social Media is investor relations.
At Stocktwits we have recognized many problems and many opportunities in the industry. The two words ‘investor relations’ are the first problem. The words are a lie. There are no relations, just the product, the financials, the story and the communication of it all. If they suck, you have no investor relations, you have sellers.
The social web is an hour old and most fortune 500 companies have large ‘social media’ departments using the latest and greatest tools. The IR department is understaffed for the task at hand. They must work with expensive packaged products from a limited number of vendors, a clunky and highly regulated process as well as 1990 distribution options. I could ramble about how insane and burdensome the regulations are, but you can’t build a business hoping regulation will change.
At Stocktwits we are thinking workflow, amplification of existing messages, unique and additional distribution (see our direct to Yahoo Finance product and now Globe and Mail), compliance, analytics and reporting. This all has to be affordable because as I mentioned, you can’t budget for regulation getting lighter.
Another big opportunity involves ticker awareness. Any forward looking CEO or CFO must recognize that the ticker IS a product. The customers are on the web and they are using your product and have no idea they could own a piece.
Have you heard of PF Changs? I think so if you live in the United States…but did you know their ticker symbol was $PFCB. Every day, thousands of investors pack the PF Chang restaurants. You can follow PF Changs on Facebook and Twitter, but the company has not yet fathomed the idea of their OTHER brand…their ‘ticker’. The same ticker that defines who they are to thousands of institutions and millions of potential investors.
It’s fun to pitch the investor, social and communications teams on the power of Stocktwits and the power of ‘follow us on Stocktwits at $ticker’. We are starting to see it show up in company press releases and corporate outgoing email of companies that have signed up and on to Stocktwits. It just makes sense. I am a ticker hound and I am not alone. There are millions of us. It’s our language. We are not embarrassed by it, but the companies we follow seem to be.
I want to know if you are a public company and not just from a broker of hidden in an ETF filing. I want to see it on your front door, your menus and your website. We are going to fix this.