When Canadian mining junior TVI Pacific launched its new corporate website a few months ago, much was made of how the new website was leveraging social media channels to spread the company’s message.
However, in the months following the launch it has become clear that TVI’s website might have missed the boat in one key area. It turns out that the company’s loyal and long suffering retail shareholders really wanted a forum where they could discuss things with company representatives.
But while the company’s new website didn’t offer a discussion forum, its Facebook page did. It wasn’t long before a shareholder started asking questions in the Facebook discussion area and the company’s IRO Rhonda Bennetto started replying (even long past normal office hours).
Soon other shareholders joined in, and today TVI Pacific has what surely must rank as one of the most active company-sponsored shareholder discussion forums on the web.
Shouldn’t it be on the company’s website?
I was discussing TVI Pacific’s forum with a client last week and they expressed a fairly common view. Why, they asked, would they host a forum on Facebook when they could offer one on their own website.
And sure, by conventional standards of thinking that makes sense because everyone knows that you want to “keep people on your own website.”
But “everyone” is wrong. If TVI Pacific had indeed offered a discussion forum on its own website, or even on a third-party service that it paid for, I bet few if any investors would have participated out of concern that the company had too much control over the forum.
And a lack of participation is never good because it can easily be interpreted as a lack of investor interest in the company.
Facebook offers greater participant accountability
Facebook works because it is neutral terrain. The company and the fans/shareholders are on a more even playing field. Shareholders can start discussions and post comments without first having them moderated by the company. The company can delete comments and whole discussions it doesn’t like after the fact, but by then it will probably be too late.
The fact that anyone can post anything in the Facebook discussions isn’t a legal worry for the company because the company can’t be held responsible for what others post if it is not party to the posts and doesn’t endorse them. (However, TVI Pacific is fully liable for anything it posts to the forum and it cannot disclaim responsibility for its own posts.)
Keeping forums civil is also less of a concern on Facebook because participants typically can’t participate under pseudonyms, which makes them more accountable for what they post.
So no, TVI Pacific didn’t miss a key feature on its new website. By chance, it stumbled upon something much more powerful. Check it out.
Originally posted at IR Web Report Bits