A SURVEY of mostly Canadian investor relations professionals who are using social media for business has found that a strong majority agree that social media impacts stock prices and influences investors’ decisions – but few are acting on that belief.
The survey, released at this week’s Canadian Investor Relations Institute (CIRI) annual conference, was conducted by PR wire service CNW Group and market research firm Leger Marketing. It polled 99 investor relations professionals, of which 56 (57%) said they use social media for business. Of the 56 IR professionals who use social media for business, 49 were Canadian and 7 were from the US.
In the survey, 71% of the IROs who use social media for business agreed with the statement that social media activities and discussions influence investment decisions while 7% disagreed. Asked for their views on a statement that social media activities influence share prices, 64% agreed and 13% disagreed.
Few have formal objectives or budget
Ironically, despite agreeing that social media impacts share prices most IROs that use social media for business use it to keep up with industry news and developments at other companies. Only 36% said they monitor the impact of social media on their company’s stock price and less than 10% said they look at share prices and volumes before and after specific social media campaigns.
Meanwhile, 46% say they use social media to share information and only 38% say they engage investors through social media. Engaging journalists and bloggers ranked lowest among the activities polled, with just 27% of social media using IROs saying they do so.
Only 18% say they have formal measurable objectives they are trying to achieve through social media and just 23% of those that are using social media for business have a budget for it.
Visibility and awareness main objectives
Among their informal objectives, IROs saying improving awareness and raising their companies’ visibility is their priority, cited by almost two-thirds of those who use social media. General activity metrics, such as comments and inbound links, are the most often used metrics.
The most commonly used social media by IROs are LinkedIn (82% ), YouTube (57% ) and Twitter (52% ). Facebook was used by 39%. Interestingly, the survey categorized Wikipedia, the crowd-sourced encyclopedia, as social media and 48% of social media using IROs said they use it, but it’s unclear if they are editing Wikipedia entries and properly identifying themselves as company representatives when doing so.
The survey also polled a small group of financial industry professionals on their social media use and found limited social media use among this group. However, CNW Group told me the survey sample is small and “should be considered directional only.”
About 225 delegates attended the three-day CIRI conference, which featured three sessions on the use of web technology in IR, including social media and the influence of financial blogs.