Getting Social with Investor Relations

Before joining PGi in 2003, I spent twelve years in various Wall Street careers. While managing a long-short equity hedge fund during the market meltdown in 2000-02, I learned first-hand the vital importance of timely information in doing my job. And the bar is even higher for investment professionals today. Markets are crazy. Traders act first, think later. People are overworked. And with all the new corporate disclosure rules, there is more information to sift through than ever before.

Not surprisingly, there is often a direct correlation between company information and stock prices. And for investors, access to timely, relevant, fairly disclosed information provides a razor-thin competitive edge. As an investor relations professional, I spend a significant part of my time telling the PGi story to the investor community. And it’s part of my job to help them sift through the massive amount of information in order to discover insights about PGi that are relevant to their investment in our company.

In addition to traditional press releases and 8-K filings that fulfill our regulatory requirements, I regularly use a couple tools that supplement our corporate disclosure and provide our investors timely access to information: social media and iMeet.

Social media, speed and engagement
Social media supports continuous and virtually instant message delivery for sharing information and building relationships with our investors. Resulting from the immediate access to actionable information social media provides, investors are gravitating to this reciprocal information portal. Speed and engagement are the biggest advantages of using social media in the IR space. Through two-way conversations with followers, companies gain true insight into what matters to investors, just like they are already proving with social media campaigns aimed at customers, users and prospects.

Social media tailored for IR
For PGi’s Q1 earnings announcement, we incorporated StockTwits (creators of the $ prefix for stocks on Twitter) into our social media program to highlight key elements of our first quarter results. I initially learned about StockTwits through its founder and my long-time friend, Howard Lindzon. Howard and the StockTwits team set-out to empower IR professionals with tools that cut through social media noise to make their news and updates more accessible to investors. Their business model and philosophies are cutting edge.

StockTwits recently launched a complete and innovative social media platform that provides IR professionals with an easy-to-use dashboard where they can manage their communications, monitor conversations with their companies and measure the effectiveness of their social outreach.

PGi StockTwits Investor Dashboard

The StockTwits platform allows PGi to actively engage in two-way conversations with our investors. An added benefit is that our StockTwits updates are now available on Yahoo! Finance and CNN Money, greatly increasing our visibility to external stakeholders.

PGi Yahoo! Finance

Creating real-time dialog in the IR community
If you can’t meet with investors face-to-face, the next best thing is to meet them in video. PGi’s latest innovation, iMeet, enables easy video access for everyone that is simple, social and enjoyable to use. As an IR professional, I leave my iMeet video meeting room open and available to PGi investors and other stakeholders. I share my iMeet room address with this community freely, so that anyone can pop in for a spontaneous video conversation.

Having an open iMeet room while discussing financial results‚ whether it’s on-the-fly or scheduled earnings calls‚ helps put a face with a stock ticker and greatly humanizes our company. Keeping my iMeet room open during our earnings calls is especially beneficial to investors, who gain a behind-the-scenes look at the production of our call. iMeet also includes streamlined chat so investors can interact with the entire management team during the call.

iMeet provides a unique form of social engagement and creates authentic dialog with our investors.

We view social media and social video conferencing technologies as an opportunity to share the entire PGi story with the IR community‚ big news, small updates, content and media coverage. Of course, we will continue to use traditional press releases for sharing material with both investors and media, but we use our social IR program to amplify this message and encourage conversation and engagement.

If you’re interested in more information and updates on PGi investor relations by @seanobr, follow @PGiInvestor on Twitter.

About Sean O'Brien

Sean O'Brien
Sean O’Brien is the strategic voice of PGi, managing the company’s internal and external communications, including his role as the primary spokesperson for PGi. He works directly with PGi Chairman and CEO Boland T. Jones, President Ted Schrafft and the executive team to craft and communicate PGi’s vision, strategy and corporate objectives.