I received a call the other day from an individual new to Investor Relations. She had just been hired by a junior exploration company in Vancouver and was asked to represent her company at the upcoming PDAC mining conference in Toronto. This will be her first experience as an Investor Relations professional representing a company, and it just happens to be at the largest mining convention in the world. Now what?
Depending on whom you ask, these investor conferences can be of great benefit or a complete waste of resources. I believe they can be both. If you prepare properly and follow a game plan, these conferences can be extremely valuable. But, if you show up unprepared, it may be a fun experience but a complete waste of corporate funds and time.
I caught up with Bear Creek Mining’s Lisa May, an experienced IR professional, currently completing her professional Certification in Investor Relations from CIRI and the IVEY school of Business. We discussed investor conferences and came up with these four areas which are critical to the success of Investor Relations professionals.
4 pillars of a successful Investors Conference plan
There are four pillars to a successful investor conference plan. If you follow all four, you will have success and will have created value for your company. Miss any of these crucial pillars, and your conference might have been a waste of time and money.
1. Identifying the right conferences
2. Preparing for the conference
3. Executing the conference plan
4. Conference follow up – measurement of success
Identifying the right conferences for your company
First, you must understand your own company. You will need to figure out the basic facts about your company before you can figure out which conferences to attend. Next, find out from Sr. management what the corporate strategy is and why they want you to attend the conferences. Finally, use your detective skills to search for all potential industry specific conferences. Once you know these answers, it should be easy to identify the right conferences to attend.
• What industry are you in? (no brainer)
• Why does your company want to you attend the conferences? What is the strategy?
• What stage is your company in? (grass roots exploration, advanced exploration, mining)
• What’s your market cap size? (micro-cap, small cap, mid cap, large cap)
• Who are your company’s peers? (companies similar to yours)
• What conferences do your peers attend? – which ones do they recommend?
• What is your company willing to spend to attend the conferences? Some are expensive!
• Where does your management want to gain traction? – find investors, analysts, fund managers, brokers etc. (local, Canada, USA, Europe, Asia)
• Search online – maybe there are new conferences this year.
• Search through your social networks – ask what conferences to attend on Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook.
Preparing for the conference
Now that you have identified a few conferences that look intriguing, the next steps are to get registered for the conference and start the process of preparation. The registration is the easy part as long as the conference is open to all. You may find the conference you want to attend is by invitation only and your company may not meet the criteria this year. Once you have registered, the real work begins. The preparation stage is by far the most important.
• Identify the company goals for the conference. Why are you attending? (To gain retail investors, meet institutional investors, business development, or networking)
• Book all the conference extras (tables, chairs, carpet, insurance etc.)
• Book travel for you and your conference materials. (you may send your booth early)
• Do you have a conference booth? Is it current? Do you have a graphic designer to provide current material for the banners? Is your booth functional? How do you set it up, Test it out. Make sure you do a dry run in your office!
• Prepare the marketing materials: fact sheets, corporate presentations etc.
• Locate a local printer near the conference in case more materials are needed.
• Plan your schedule around the conference – what other events, meetings can you arrange for your management team?
• Invite investors, brokers, shareholders to visit you at the booth – by email and through social networks like: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
• Prepare your strategy and game plan for your days at the booth. How will you engage investors? How will you track your conversations?
• Prepare a list of frequently asked questions you will likely be asked at your booth and rehearse your answers
• Add the conference to the Calendar section of your company website – maybe highlight the conference on the homepage.
• Prepare a strategy to measure your success at the show – did you accomplish your goals?
Show time – During the conference
You have managed to get this far; now it is time to perform. I strongly recommend you arrive at least one day early and make use of the early set-up time for your booth. Sometimes they break or have issues that you will want to solve before the morning of the show. Once the doors open and the investors start to roll in, you need to be on your game. Try to have more than a few hours of sleep; this can be difficult at times. Here are a few tips once the investors start to walk the aisles.
• Don’t get worried if many investors don’t want to speak to you, each investor has different agendas and specific companies and sectors they follow.
• Start with a smile and a nice greeting to those that stop by your booth.
• Define roles of those in the booth. Are you manning the booth alone, or with the company CEO?
• Have a few good opening questions like: Have you heard of our company? Are you interested in copper? If that is your speciality, can I answer any questions for you?
• Don’t act like a used car salesman.
• Engage your audience; find out if they are a current shareholder, what kind of investor they are, how they hear heard about your company?
• Create an opportunity for follow-up.
• Create a spreadsheet and record details of the good meetings you had, and try to collect a business card or contact details.
• Tweet about the conference while it is occurring, inviting people to your booth to meet you.
• Try to attend any Tweet-ups you have been invited to – maybe create your own.
• Add the conference information to your corporate Facebook page and add daily updates and pictures of the events.
• Try to get some video footage of your CEO or management at the conference.
• Try to arrange some media coverage (perhaps an interview for your Sr. management).
Follow up and measurement of success – Was the conference a good return on investment?
Once the tradeshow is over and you have packed up the booth and sent it on its way, it will be time for a cold drink and a quick reflection on the success of the event. You may want to wait until you return home, but don’t procrastinate: do these before you move on to your next task and while your memories are fresh. Here’s what I do:
• Review your spreadsheet and compare it to your original goals – did you meet the number of retail and institutional brokers you had hoped?
• Did you meet your networking goals?
• Did you manage to arrange any business development meetings?
• Did you meet the shareholders that you invited to the booth?
• Were your social media and social network activities a success?
• Review your pre-conference checklist – did all go as planned? What changes would you make?
• Were you happy with the travel arrangements? Was the hotel acceptable?
• What events, activities did you not know about that you want to include for next year?
• Plan your follow-up with all the individuals you met with.
• Update your list of frequently asked questions.
• Create a document that you can share with Sr. management and the board showing them the company’s success at the conference and a plan to improve next year’s event.
• Plan your meeting with your CEO to review your compensation – you are surely due for a raise!
We hope this has been a helpful tool. Please contact us should you have any questions or would like assistance with any of your Corporate Investor Relations needs: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. Talk soon, see you at the next Investors Conference!
Jon Bey – Steel Rose Communications
- Posted in About, About SRC, CIRI, Investor Relations, Social Media
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In the world of investor relations, an IRO with a large rolodex of stock brokers can be very successful and in high demand. The trick is attaining that rolodex. Some say it can be bought, but I disagree. I am sure we have all been approached by people trying to sell us a contact list, but the rolodex is only as good as the relationships that the IRO has built with those brokers over time. So how do you build up your rolodex? You have to find a way to connect and build a relationship with each broker, and this is an ongoing exercise. The good news is, with the help of social networks, it is getting easier.
Are rookie brokers worth the time investment?
Not all brokers are the same; one seasoned broker, with a fantastic book of clients, can have more influence than one hundred rookie brokers just starting their careers. Does this mean you should focus your time on getting to know just the senior brokers? No not really. First of all, it’s very difficult to meet the top brokers; they aren’t usually the ones at the networking functions looking for clients and contacts. Secondly, if you want to build your network for future years, get to know those rookies as they will develop into the power brokers of the future.
So how do you meet your local brokers?
This is the hard part, it will require a herculean effort, and a staggering amount of time. You can’t sit in your office and just cold call them unless you are lucky enough to have the hottest company in town. You have to get out and network. Go to the tradeshows, to the coffee shops, the restaurants where they hang out, and the social events they attend and introduce yourself. Always carry a stack of your business cards and be prepared with your pitch of who you are, what you do, and why they would want to connect with you. Hopefully you have a current project worth speaking to them about but if you don’t, let them know you will in the near future.
Use your connections and get introduced.
I have always found that a warm introduction from a friend or contact helps make that initial conversation much easier – so leverage your contacts. This is another reason you should be networking. The more people you get to know, the more potential introductions you can benefit from. And remember, networking is a two way street and you should aim to pay it forward by giving more referrals than you ask for.
Are you plugged in to social networks?
If you are in investor relations and you are not set up on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – then either start immediately or leave the profession, because you are a dinosaur and about to become extinct. In a 2011 survey, ‘Social Media Use by Financial Advisors‘, Socialware found that 84% of brokers across North America are using social networks for business purposes and these numbers are up from 60% in 2010. The financial world is adapting and increasingly plugging in to these networks so it is becoming even easier to get an online introduction. Remember, if your goal is to establish a relationship with brokers then you need to be aware of social media etiquette. If you make a mistake here you may make that bad first impression and never get the face to face introduction you are striving for. Don’t think that just by joining these social media networks that hundreds of brokers are going to try and connect with you. It is still going to take a great deal of time and effort, but at least these online networks make it a bit easier. For example, on LinkedIn, you can scroll through all your friends contacts, and identify people you want to connect with. Then you just need to ask your friend to introduce you either in person or online. Presto – your rolodex is growing, and maybe your value as an IRO as well.
Need some help?
Get out there and network. There is a “mining connect” event coming up in Vancouver next week called Howe Street Gone Mad. http://revolvemarketing.ca/blog/howe-street-gone-mad-miningconnect-launch-party/. Hope to see you there!
If you would like more information on the socialware white paper on financial advisors use of social media, please follow this link: http://www.socialware.com/resources/overview/
- Posted in About SRC, Investor Relations
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- Tags: #bcmining, #vanmining, @steelrosecomm, BC Mining, Canadian Investor Relations Institute, how to find a stock broker, Investor Relations, Investor Relations Companies Vancouver, Investor Relations Education, Investor Relations Vancouver, IRO, IRO Lessons, Jon Bey, Steel Rose Communications, stock broker
Together with the features and best practices of our completely customizable and flexible website platform, Steel Rose adds a full service, outsourced investor relations consultant company, specializing in the resource sector, with small to mid-cap public companies trading on the North American and European markets.
Darrell Heaps, CEO of Q4, had this to say:
“We are pleased to be working with such a talented group at SRC. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Jon Bey, the company’s President and CEO, who is a high-quality, experienced investor relations professional. Our best-in-class corporate IR website and social media solutions, coupled with SRC’s comprehensive suite of services and IR solutions tailored to meet each client’s specific needs, ensure a well-managed investor relations program that will drive shareholder value.”
Jon Bey, President and CEO of Steel Rose Communications also commented:
“We are excited to be partnering with Darrell and his talented team at Q4. We understand that public companies are increasingly focusing budgets, and attention, towards a more strategic utilization of web channels for investor communications – including both the corporate/investor website, and social media channels. So it was natural for us to partner with Q4, as they have the right suite of products and services designed to address our clients’ strategic IR communications requirements.”
- Posted in About SRC, Investor Relations, Social Media
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- Tags: #mining, @steelrosecomm, BC, BC Mining, Darrell Heaps, full service Investor Relations and Corporate Communications Consultant Company, Investor Relations, Investor Relations Companies, Investor Relations Companies Vancouver, Investor Relations Officer, Investor Relations Vancouver, IR Best Practices, Jon Bey, outsourced investor relations consultant company, Q4, Q4 Web Systems, Social Media Communications, social media management, specializing in the resource sector, Steel Rose Communications, Vancouver, well-managed investor relations program
Romeo and Juliet can teach us a lot about Social Media
But, before you test my Shakespeare knowledge, I am talking about Jon’s new puppies, Romeo and Juliet =========>
Romeo, Juliet, and Social Media
(intro by Jon Bey)
I have often heard that the answer to your question is usually right in front of your face. The secret of course is figuring out what that question is. Well as things happen sometimes, my question appeared at the end of business meeting in mid-December. I was asked if I wanted the perfect Christmas gift for my children – a puppy.
The answer was yes, we had actually been looking for a puppy, and the timing was right. The real shock was when I realised we were going home with two puppies, not one. My daughter instantly named the black, girl puppy Juliet, and the golden boy soon after inherited the name Romeo, which seemed to fit perfectly.
Once the puppies were home, and we started preparing the home, and ourselves, for the upcoming adventure; I soon recognised the similarities between the lessons we were going to teach our children about puppies, and the lessons we teach our clients about Social Media.
Puppies are the new Social Media
Puppies are new, exciting, fun.
Puppies are somewhat unknown. What makes them tick? What will they do next?
They are soft, warm, and fuzzy. Always playful. Always up for cuddles. Puppies are quite simply one of the easiest things to fall in love with.
Puppies lick and/or paw you when they want something. Sometimes they just bark; possibly warning you of some impending danger, someone lurking outside; or maybe they are just wondering where you are.
Puppies are ‘Man’s Best Friend’. They are always there for you, always ready to say hello, always ready for a walk, ready for some pats, ready to give back love.
Puppies are considered by many to be ‘more social than other pets’. They participate in your life. A source of wonder. A conversation piece with friends. Say hello to neighbours as you walk around the block. Meet new friends at the dog park.
Getting a new puppy can change your life
And, this is the way many people feel as they enter into the world of social media, elation as to the potential Social Media holds for you, and your business. Excited to get involved, eager to buy into their ‘new puppy’ experience.
Social Media generally does all the things mentioned above, and more.
In fact, ‘social never sleeps’. It’s always there. Always on. There is a constant conversation going on around you. Interact/engage, and it can be your best friend.
Through Monitoring your Social Media, you can gain insight into the conversation surrounding your brand, or lack thereof, perhaps even finding some issues that need to be resolved.
It is an opportunity to expand your horizons, find new things, get more information on issues you are interested in, meet new people, while building existing relationships.
Puppies are the greatest
But, here’s the thing, … (stay tuned for Puppies are the new Social Media Pt.2)
Woof woof, paw paw
(Related post : Puppies are the new Social Media Pt.2)
Woof you later!
… and, yes, here is a video of Romeo and Juliet …
- Posted in About SRC, Investor Relations, Social Media
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- Tags: #bcmining, #mining, #puppiesarethenewsocialmedia, #socialmedia, #vanmining, @steelrosecomm, BC Mining, build relationships, Canada Mining, Canadian Investor Relations Institute, coaching assistance, How to make use of Social Media, Investor Relations, Investor Relations Communications, Investor Relations Companies, Investor Relations Companies Vancouver, Investor Relations Education Vancouver, Investor Relations Vancouver, Jon Bey, Puppies, Puppies are the new Social Media, Puppy, social media, social media education, social media management, social media strategy, social media training, Steel Rose Communications
I read an article recently that made the blanket statement, ‘if you only have X # of followers, that you aren’t doing social media right'; that you only know what you are doing, if you have thousands of followers. But, I personally think that statement may be missing the point, certainly in some cases, on a few levels.
Missing the point?
First, as we showed you in another post, WHAT can you do with Social Media, there are many things you can do with social media in general: Monitor, Communicate, Connect, Collaborate. Now, I know some who have under 100 followers on Twitter, for example, but get tons out of social media. How? They simply aren’t using social media for connecting, they are using it for monitoring only. Point is, Social Media can be used in different ways, and calling someone out for only having a certain number of followers might miss the point of the their social media context.
To take it out of this industry for a second; say you’re a high school football team, and all the kids use social media, and team information is disseminated using social media. It helps build team culture, it helps to keep the kids focused leading up to game time, it helps the kids stay focused when there isn’t a game for two weeks, talking about things they can do to practice their skills. They really get a lot out of it. But, the team only has 100 friends/followers/group members, including parents. Are they not doing social media right? Of course they are. They are creating value, and getting value, out of their interactions.
From another post, “how you and your company will use social media, what you will do with it, depends on what your goals are.” And, in turn, who your audience is. Some audiences are smaller, and some are potentially larger, requiring you to cast a wider net. Focus on your goals and audience; defining what you are trying to do with social media, who you are trying to reach out to. Let that dictate the extent of your need for followers.
I am not arguing that having lots of followers isn’t a nice touch for many of our marketing needs, obviously it is. But, social media is more than just a game of compiling followers, and depends on your social media context.
Again, from another post, “There are many unique examples of internal and external uses of social media.’
Interactions over followers
Most importantly, “stress interactions over followers”(@jeffbooth, 90,000+ followers). If you can only really have 150 social relationships in your life, as suggested by Dunbar’s number , does it really matter if you have 70,000 followers? With all that potential noise, where’s the value in your social media? The value of social media is not in the noise, but in the interactions it helps to foster, create, and build.
People, especially in this industry, really get tied into the numbers. They think that’s the game, and they want to win. Some people have 12,000 followers and don’t get that much out of social media(really, a friend of mine has 12,000 followers, but calls it all ‘fluff’). And, some have less than 100, but get tons out of it.
Remember 2 things
1) Who is your audience? What are your goals with your social media? What is your social media context?
2) Even if your goal is communicating, stress interactions over followers.
Bye for now
Still need help defining your social media goals, objectives, or even your audience? Still don’t understand how social media applies to you? Just don’t know where to start? We are here for you. Let us know your questions. Reach us at @steelrosecomm, find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, leave a comment below, or even email us.
Talk soon …
- Posted in About SRC, Investor Relations, Social Media
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- Tags: # of followers, #mining, #vanmining, @IRmag, @jeffbooth, @steelrosecomm, BC Mining, build relationships, Canada Mining, coaching assistance, How to make use of Social Media, Investor Relations, Investor Relations Companies Vancouver, Investor Relations Education, IR game plan, Social Media Communications, social media education, social media program, social media strategy, Steel Rose Communications, winning