Three men talking business.

Tech Companies Need to Step Up Their IR Game

The tech industry is booming, but many tech companies are missing out on a better valuation by ignoring modern Investor Relations best practices.

 

According to a recent Investis study, technology companies “comfortably outperform” the global average in terms of capitalizing on social media platforms and multimedia on their corporate websites.

 

But these companies lag far behind other sectors when it comes to key corporate sections such as Company and Business Model Description, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Governance and, perhaps most importantly, Investor Relations content. In fact, the report points out that “90% of technology companies fail to explain their business model or investment proposition on their corporate websites.”

 

What’s clear is that not enough effort is being made by the sector to effectively attract new investors, hold onto existing shareholders, and to communicate effectively with key stakeholders including investors, research analysts, journalists, and even members of their Board.

 

It appears that many U.S. tech companies feel there’s no real need to develop effective communication strategies with shareholders because they believe their offering is self-explanatory, or because they feel comfortable with their current programs, or perhaps they don’t have the internal expertise or focus. All these scenarios are counter-productive to building a fully-valued, well-funded public company.

 

By optimizing existing digital assets within an IR program and incorporating new technologies to improve transparency and communication, IROs in the tech industry can enhance the sector’s investment proposition and ensure that their companies are giving themselves every opportunity to achieve a fair valuation.

 

Websites

In today’s tech-savvy marketplace, as the Investment Relations Society explains, a website functions as a company’s central communications hub, the definitive, deep source of company information for the world to access. While it can serve many purposes, the website excels as a multimedia platform, allowing users to engage with the company through video, blog posts, and downloadable podcasts.

 

Even though a website offers visitors a varied media experience, maintaining a basic design is the key to successful user engagement. Keeping your site as simple and easy-to-navigate as possible is essential for the online audience, as the traditional web is the medium open to the most varied group of people.

 

As the site will also serve as the key entry point for those interested in the company, ensuring that the information on the site is both current and accurate is absolutely essential.

 

Social Media

While the corporate website remains the hub of online activity, in recent years the importance of social media as a best practice for modern IR has risen dramatically, according to Greenwich Associates. Social media platforms enable companies to engage with their target audience in an interactive way, fostering a more meaningful level of connection and communication.

 

Take, for instance, Twitter’s Periscope app, which can allow investors and other stakeholders to watch otherwise inaccessible corporate events in real-time from anywhere across the globe.

 

But in certain situations, social media can be just as damaging as it is helpful — anyone can use these social platforms to state their minds freely and visibly. Sure, businesses can monitor what is being said about them, but if they wish to use social media to their advantage in damage control scenarios, they must have a clear, executable strategy to immediately engage their audience’s attention and direct it towards official channels for more accurate information.

 

Mobile

As PC sales and usage rates continue to decline steadily, mobile devices have quickly swooped in and taken their place. The versatility of access points is central to the mobile experience, with engagement taking place on mobile browsers, social media apps, and proprietary apps for businesses and other third-party services.

 

While mobile websites and social media remain key channels for companies to reach investors on mobile devices, mobile apps are dominating most users’ attention, as Nielsen details. In fact, according to a recent Yahoo & Flurry report, nine out of every 10 hours spent online on a mobile device is spent browsing apps, not the mobile web.

 

As consumers continue spending the majority of their time using apps, it’s essential that companies evolve their strategies to remain aligned with expectations of their target audience — especially companies within the tech industry, where being on the cutting edge of innovation is a baseline expectation.

 

A native app is the ultimate unified source of information on the mobile platform. Shareholders benefit from having an intuitive and direct channel through which to engage with their investment, while companies are able to build an additional level of trust within their IR operations.

 

Industry-specific mobile apps have emerged as the strongest tool for companies to expand their IR activities because of the proactive features available. Leading platforms like ShareholderApp offer powerful push notifications, alerts, and document sharing capabilities, giving tech companies the opportunity to deliver materials proactively to their most important audience: their investors.

 

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(Main image credit: Intel Free Press/flickr)