By Dennis Walsh, Senior Consultant & Director of Social Media
When it comes to social media for investor relations, there are some important lessons to be learned from this case.
- A social media policy is necessary for all companies. Whether your company is a consumer-focused retail boutique with an active social media program in place, or a B2B manufacturer of semiconductors with no corporate social media accounts, employees, management and the board need to be aware of guidelines for proper use of social media at work and at home as it relates to being employed by the company. The majority of employees use social media and the line between personal and professional topics is often blurred. Make it clear.
- For a public company, social media use should be specifically addressed in the disclosure policy. More companies today are using social media for investor relations. NIRI updated its “Standards of Practice for Disclosure” in April. In regard to use of social media, NIRI asserts that the “company will be responsible for statements made by or on behalf of the company and cannot avoid liability by having employees speak in their ‘individual’ capacities if employees are authorized company spokespersons.”
- Provide education for following the guidelines. Don’t assume that everyone has read and understood the guidelines. Instead, show them what is deemed appropriate and provide examples for acceptable and unacceptable uses of social media. If there is no one in-house to provide this training, hire a firm, like Sharon Merrill, that offers services that can be customized to the specifics of your business needs