A strategic approach to social media communication for listed companies will ensure both positive and negative news is managed and appropriate risk mitigation strategies are in place.
Some key listing obligations around the world include:
In April 2013 the SEC issued guidance permitting companies to use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to communicate company announcements, provided investors have been told in advance where to look.
“Most social media are perfectly suitable methods for communicating with investors, but not if the access is restricted or if investors don’t know that’s where they need to go turn to get the latest news”
– George Canellos, Former Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement in an SEC Press Release issued April 2013
In the UK, companies are increasingly disseminating market-moving information via social media, proving that social is no longer just a channel for consumers, but is in fact a tool for businesses looking to control their own flow of news.
In May 2013, the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) implemented a series of obligations in their revised Guidance Note 8 on listed companies with respect to social media. These changes recognise the importance of social media and their increasing role in providing commentary around the Australian stock market. Companies are obligated to monitor social media sites and report credible information or speculation that may impact market price.
Hong Kong is not subject to China’s “Great Fire Wall” and a mix of social media platforms are used by listed companies. The top 50 firms on the Hang Seng Index (HSI) are active on social media to varying degrees. The two most popular platforms are LinkedIn and WeChat.