Posts Tagged ‘@IRmag’

How to Succeed at Investor Conferences

February 28th, 2012 by Jon Bey

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

Puppies are the new Social Media (Pt.2)

January 6th, 2012 by Chris Rudden

Puppies are the greatest


But, here’s the thing, … Puppies need to be taken care of.

And, as with your social media program, the time you invest at the start will make all the difference in years to come. So do it well; and if you need help, get it, you will be glad you did.

Learning to have pets

Puppies are a responsibility.

You need to feed them. You need to walk them. You need to love them. Pet them.

You need to give them a place to live. A space to play too, and let loose.

Dogs used to sleep in ‘doghouses’. Now they sleep at the end of your bed. ie. they are more a part of our lives than ever before. An extension of who we are. Our family.

People buy their dogs all sorts of toys, bones, booties, bells, and whistle; but your relationship really depends on the quality of the interaction with the dog.

Puppies/dogs are not free.

 

Learning to start a Social Media Program

Social Media is responsibility.

The tools are ‘free’, but the time commitment is not. What you do with it, and how well you do it, is up to you.

You don’t want to let your puppy down. If you are going to commit to doing social media, you might as well commit to doing it well.

Building your social media presence requires you to be a homemaker. Building your ‘castle’, whatever the size; but one that is inviting, full of love, acceptance, for you, and your loved ones.

Bells and whistles are neat and all, but your content creation is what you’re building.  ‘Content is king’. Concentrate on interactions.

It can be overwhelming. Sometimes it is best to start with one puppy, and see what you can handle. Perhaps start by simply Monitoring social media, see what it is all about, and figure out where you fit in.

To reap the benefits of Social Media, you have to get involved. Pups thrive on a firm schedule – try to be consistent with your social media. You need to build your presence, you need to feed your followers with content, you need to utilize your network.

 

Puppies are the new Social Media (Tweet Me)

Social Media and Puppy Similarities  

  • Easy to fall in love with
  • They are social, participate in your life
  • Can alert you to potential threats
  • Require a serious commitment
  • Can be a distraction, and even annoying at times
  • Require your attention, suffer without it
  • Can make a real mess if left alone, and potentially cause serious damage
  • Thrive on a firm schedule
  • Benefits increase the more time you spend with them

Woof woof, paw paw

Perhaps you find social media overwhelming. Perhaps you can’t commit to doing it right by yourself. If you need some help, let us know, we are here to help.

Or, if you just want to tell us of your own puppy to social media comparisons, that’s cool too. We would love to hear them.

Say hi on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn, or email us.

Woof you later!

 

(Related post : Puppies are the new Social Media Pt.1)

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.

New School

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.

Context

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.

Denouement

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 FacebookLinkedIn, leave a comment below, or even email us.

 

Talk soon …

 

In another post, we discussed the WHY of Social Media, mainly citing that ‘your customers are having a conversation without you’, and therefore, you should be joining in on that conversation, somehow. And, there’s more than one way to utilize all that is Social Media.

WHAT am I doing here?

You can generally break your social media activities into 4 main categories:

Monitoring :

What is being said about your brand? What are your competitors doing? What content are they creating? Who do they follow? Are they any good at ‘this social media thing’? Can you see ways to differentiate yourself from them? Keep up on the latest research or trends, find opportunities, get inspiration for your own blogging/writing.

Communication/Storytelling :

Establish your profile, raise awareness of your brand, engage followers, perhaps reach out to other content creators. Build interest in your content.

Connecting : 

Build relationships with industry peers, potential investors, influencers and the public. Find researchers and experts in your field. Connect to executives. Build trust with and among industry peers. Help media, and collaborators find you.

Collaborate :

Work and collaborate more effectively. Create/join groups, choose tools and tags that relate to your industry, support your professional development.

 

Approach

Maybe you utilize one, or maybe you utilize all of the above categories. Perhaps you use Twitter for Monitoring, Facebook for Connecting, and/or a blog for Communicating. Why didn’t he mention StockTwits? … Generally, how you approach social media, what tools you should use, depends on your goals, assets, and audience. There are many unique examples of internal and external uses of social media.

 

How are other companies using social media?

a) Internal social media use example: Deloitte using Yammer.com, The Enterprise Social Network

“Steve Jobs once said, ‘innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea.’ Deloitte is a massive global organization with hundreds of offices, but now, we all have one, common ‘hallway’ called Yammer, and it is always 10:30PM.”

— US & Global Managing Director of Technology Innovation, Deloitte LLP

 

b) External social media use example: How Provident Security uses their blog

“Use social media for Customer service”. “We don’t sell online”. “Acts as an internal reference for out team”.

– Mike Jagger, Provident Security

 

What’s with the tangent?

Now, we are a Investor Relations and Corporate Communications firm, yet neither one of the above examples has anything directly to do with ‘selling’ anything, marketing, lead generation, ROI, etc. The point is, social media is much more multi-faceted than just straight marketing. The above examples are meant to get you to take a creative look at how social media can help your objectives, and how your company can potentially further integrate social media.

Again, how you and your company will use social media, what you will do with it, depends on what your goals are.

 

WHAT is stopping you?

So, with all the potential of Social Media, what is the one thing stopping CEOs from jumping on board? … more on this very soon.

 

How do make use of social media?

Do you have any unique examples of you or your company make use of social media?

Tell us about them in the comments section below, Twitter, and/or Facebook.

 

Social Media SOS?

Still need help defining your social media goals and objectives? Still don’t get 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 …

 

Why I joined CIRI, and why You should too

November 17th, 2011 by Jon Bey

This morning I received my renewal notice for my CIRI membership. As I read the letter, the thought crossed my mind, “Where would I be in this industry if it weren’t for CIRI?” The reality is, not as well rooted in this profession, as I am now.

What is CIRI?

Let’s back up a step, for those that may not know what CIRI is, CIRI is the Canadian Investor Relations Institute, which is the authority on Investor Relations in Canada. It is a professional association of executives responsible for the communication between public corporations, investors and the financial community.  CIRI is Canada’s only organization dedicated to advancing the profession and credibility of investor relations and the competency of its members.

Educate

Initially, like many of my peers, I transferred into the Investor Relations profession from a previous profession. As such, I was looking to further educate myself to thrive , and stand out, in this profession.  When I searched for information, I was directed to the BC chapter of CIRI. After a few minutes on their website, it was obvious I was on the right track. I contacted Darren Seed, one of the Board members of the CIRI BC chapter, and he agreed to join me for a coffee, and answer a few of my initial questions.

Connect

Darren was great; he explained what CIRI was all about, and he listened to my questions, and assessed my strengths and weaknesses. I am sure he will tell you there were a lot more, ahem, weaknesses, with his usual smile and chuckle. Thankfully, he suggested I join CIRI, and start reading the available materials, attend the programming sessions, request a mentor, and register for the National conference, which was only a few weeks away. This seemed daunting, time consuming, and probably expensive. But the reality was, I knew CIRI would provide me with invaluable experience. Looking back now, I can honestly say, that conference probably transformed my IR career.

Luckily for me, the National conference was in Whistler that year. It was exceptional. The educational sessions were incredible; and networking with the best-in-class IR professionals was amazing. I came away from the conference motivated, with the knowledge that the tools to increase success in IR could be attained through my membership, and participation, in CIRI.  I may also have returned home a bit sleep deprived, and missing a few golf balls,  … but with a few new dance moves.

Certify

John Wheeler, Vice President Investor Relations of TELUS, once remarked, “Membership in CIRI is a good investment to ensure you are an effective IR professional by continuously learning and developing your expertise. This is driven by accessing CIRI information, resources and participating in CIRI seminars and conferences. These provide valuable networking opportunities to widen your circle of contacts and give you real-time access to the best practice experts.”

I recommend CIRI to anyone choosing Investor Relations as a profession; and I strongly believe the more you involve yourself in something, the more you will benefit. Today I continue to play a role with CIRI BC as a board member, and programming co-chair. Our members speak very highly of our association, and remain supporters throughout their IR careers.

Why you should join CIRI:

Educate. Certify. Connect. As they say, “membership has its privileges

CIRI’s Goals:

  • Professional development
  • Professional Certification (CPIR)
  • Voice in Public policy
  • Recognition
  • Membership

CIRI provides quality education al programs, networking opportunities, a wealth information and research, as well as professional certification. CIRI supports members by helping them stay on top of their profession, and abreast of IR best practices through educational events, networking opportunities, and timely, relevant publications.

If you have any questions about CIRI please check out the CIRI website at: www.ciri.org , or if you are already convinced, Become a Member.

Otherwise, please feel free to contact me, Jon Bey, directly. I am happy to join you for a hot, or cold, drink, and share a few of my insights and experiences.

Please share your comments and questions below.