Communicating with Investors

The days of ho-hum standard-issue investor communications are over. It’s a new investment community out there — with younger, more connected, more tech-savvy investors — and they expect more from you.

This year, consider using annual report season as an opportunity to communicate more than your basic financials. Organizations everywhere are shaping the last 12 months into a clear, cohesive, engaging narrative for investors and other key audiences. How will you communicate your story?

Here are four suggestions for communicating with investors.

1. Add an online dimension to your printed report

Printing your annual report and posting an identical PDF online is a good start. But this is the bare minimum, and stopping there might be a missed opportunity. This year, use your annual report mailing to truly connect with investors by driving them to additional content — not only on your corporate website, but on your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages as well.

These online environments let you share information in new and dynamic ways. They complement the carefully prepared paragraphs of your print piece with authentic, informal two-way conversation. This demonstrates transparency and shows that you have nothing to hide, which is a much-needed message for investors to hear.

2. Highlight your philanthropy and sustainability

Today’s investors care about the integrity of the businesses with which they associate. They want to know that an organization’s values align with their own. That’s why more companies are issuing corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports.

Sharing your CSR initiatives is an effective way to attract and retain investors, and it allows you to invite customers, employees, and the general public into a conversation with you. Don’t have the budget for both an annual and CSR report? Consider scaling back on your annual report and accompanying it with a CSR report. These reports are a bit more flexible in nature, and many businesses offer them exclusively online.

3. Enhance your corporate website

Organizations tend to treat the corporate portion of their websites as an afterthought. As you consider your corporate story during annual report season, it is also an excellent time to elevate your online corporate communications beyond the “About Us” paragraph.

Make your corporate site a place you’re proud to send visitors. Instead of posting the standard press release, feature engaging, up-to-date content in various formats to draw visitors to your site throughout the year.

Periodically post brief videos from C-level executives, employees, or other investors to supplement the President’s letter. Show new marketing campaigns. Share apps, podcasts, audio clips, and blogs. The possibilities are endless, and even small improvements to your corporate website will benefit you all year long.

4. Do the social media thing

People are sharing their opinions in online peer-to-peer networks whether you’re included in the conversation or not. Shouldn’t you have your say?

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social and mobile media hold tremendous potential for businesses that leverage them in the proper manner. Like a free focus group, social media is a critical tool for maintaining regular communication with key audiences. Be sure not to fill your content with self-promotional messages. Rather, use social media as an opportunity to show thought leadership, share industry knowledge, and educate your audiences on investing.

Your current and potential investors are out there, waiting to hear from you. Don’t miss a valuable opportunity to connect with them.