The investor relations (IR) task of listed companies in recent years has evolved to become a technically complex function demanding increased sophistication.
Traditional communication tools like analyst briefings and investor roadshows are mandatory communication events, however annual reports and annual general meetings are showing less investor engagement every year. Therefore, companies are employing new digital methods to speak with their current and prospective investors.
In terms of digital however, the spectrum of applications is increasing well beyond the previous “state of the art” website and webcasts.
A recent update to an ongoing benchmark study of S&P/ASX 200 companies by the Australasian Investor Relations Association (AIRA) has shown marked increases in the use of social media and apps.
The study shows that almost three quarters of respondents are either currently using social media to communicate with investors or may do so in the near future. From the social platforms available, LinkedIn was clearly the first choice for organisations and showed a fivefold increase from the 2010 benchmark. LinkedIn was followed in popularity by Facebook and Twitter, respectively.
Apps were also becoming an increasingly important element in the IR communications toolkit with 30 per cent of ASX 200 companies citing they had deployed or were thinking about deploying an app.
AIRA’s study also showed that although the percentage of ASX 200 firms using webcasts remained largely unchanged at 36 per cent, more than 50 per cent of these companies were now making them available in mobile applications, reflecting the increasing use of these devices to access content.
“The biggest drivers of the use of technology for investor relations is the phenomenal growth in the use of mobile devices for investors accessing company information,” said Ian Matheson FAICD, chief executive officer at AIRA.
“For that reason, as an absolute minimum, companies need to ensure their websites are responsive to all mobile devices. This is critical now that Google gives priority to those websites that are responsive to mobile devices.”
A responsive website is one that has the ability to adapt the content to properly fit the mobile device being used.
Matheson added that the growth of social media is also integral to the uptick in companies embracing social media, as although many may not fully engage in a two-way conversation with investors, at the very least, companies need to be aware of what is being said via these channels.
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