When it comes to the all-important task of communicating with investors, providing easy access to information is essential. New technology can help companies build a more connected relationship with all stakeholders.
Over the past two decades, the rapid advancement and proliferation of technologies like high speed internet and WiFi, as well as devices such as tablets and smartphones, has completely reshaped the way public companies communicate. Today’s investor expects maximum transparency, instant and seamless accessibility, and proactive updates on breaking news and vital information.
Seasoned Investor Relations professionals know that solid communication with stakeholders is a vital part of ensuring a public company is fully valued, which nowadays includes the addition of innovative new technologies into their existing IR programs in order to meet the expectations of an increasingly tech-savvy shareholder base.
Effective IR in the Age of Over-Information
For public companies, the proliferation of new communication channels has been a godsend in terms of keeping the market informed and helping to enhance a brand’s appeal to investors. However, this never-ending stream of news has opened up a whole new set of challenges for IR professionals as well.
In the digital age, taking a passive stance and simply relying on third-party sources can result widespread misinformation, mainly through inaccurate interpretation or incomplete reporting of an issue. Irrespective of whether it is good news or bad, a public company must ensure that shareholders are immediately informed through official channels.
This means that businesses must establish direct channels of communication in order to build rapport and trust with shareholders. The questionable content that circulates on the internet and social media has decimated consumer trust in these platforms as sources of reputable information, as Sensei Marketing points out, but utilizing clearly-branded, official channels to keep investors informed can have the opposite effect.
Yahoo Small Business Advisor emphasizes that fostering informational transparency is a better way to instill confidence in your investors than taking an overly-cautious approach.
But it’s not just about giving shareholders access to honest information — keeping your investor base as up-to-date as possible is crucial to their ability to make informed decisions. Today we have more channels for instant communication at our disposal than ever before, and consumers expect businesses to utilize all of them. Optimizing your program across all digital platforms (including social media, traditional websites, and mobile apps) is non-negotiable in the world of modern IR.
Mobile Continues to Grow
By now, the idea of mobile as a tool for communication definitely isn’t going to come as news to anyone in the business world, but the platform’s exponential growth over the last two to three years has elevated its status to a whole new level. In fact, according to Marketing Land, smartphone penetration in the US market is expected to reach 85% by the end of 2015.
But it’s not just that more people own smartphones than ever before — it’s that they’re using the devices more than ever before. Search Engine Watch reports that mobile internet usage exceeded PC Internet usage for the first time in the U.S. in 2014. What’s clear is that without a dedicated mobile presence, businesses lose the all-important opportunity to engage with shareholders on the most ubiquitous digital platform in the world.
So how are users spending their time on their mobile devices? A recent study by Yahoo and Flurry found that consumers spend over 90% of their time on smartphones using mobile apps. The remaining 10% is spent on the mobile web.
The Power of Apps
Of course, traditional websites and social media remain integral components of any solid IR program, but when it comes to providing investors with a highly-targeted, intuitive channel for accessing information, the mobile app offers a number of advantages over other digital platforms.
An emerging wave of industry-specific IR apps are bringing these advantages to public companies. For example, ShareholderApp was built by a team of IR and technology professionals in order to provide the most effective, convenient, and importantly, modern, conduit for seamless communication between public companies and their investors.
With an IR-specific platform like ShareholderApp you can:
Announce: the app automatically pushes regulatory announcements, SEC filings for U.S. companies, press releases, and more.
Notify: investors can choose to receive automatic push notifications, so they never miss a beat.
Customize: choose to update investors on current trading values and time sensitive news, or provide long term performance figures and trading history. The app is highly customizable to suit your strategic communication goals.
Inform: relay share price data with the standard 15 minute delay, and choose the level of detail you wish to offer your investors.
Be Seen: every aspect of the app will feature your company logo exclusively. There’s also dedicated section for your company description and key contact info.
By adding the mobile platform into your existing IR program, you’re not just enhancing your ability to communicate effectively with company stakeholders — you’re also sending the market a message that you have the capacity to evolve and embrace forward-thinking technologies. Ultimately, your investors aren’t just interested in what’s happening to your company today — they want to see you’re ready for what’s coming tomorrow.