Yesterday, rumours of an outright sale of one or more of Research in Motion’s (RIM) divisions to Samsung abounded on the internet – causing an 8.5% spike in the company’s share price on the NASDAQ and a 5.4% spike on the Toronto stock exchange. RIM, the makers of Blackberry, has now seen five share price spikes since December 21st due to talk of a potential sale to the likes of Amazon and others.
The rumour has been categorically denied by Samsung and share prices have subsequently begun to fall. The event is interesting, however, in demonstrating the power of social media and the need for companies to play close attention to what is trending. The Boy Genius Report blog that broke the story is, as a blog, outside of traditional forms of media yet it was undoubtedly the cause of yesterday’s investor speculation on RIM shares.
Within an hour the report was being tweeted to millions on investor related Twitter accounts such as @SAI and @StockTwits. So far, there have been over 17,000 mentions of the rumour online.
However, the companies themselves, despite numerous customer-focused Twitter accounts and other social media outlets, appear to have no corporate or IR-focused means of responding to such rumours on social media and thus, having refuted the allegations via the usual channels, were dependent upon others disseminating their statements on the social networks.
Yesterday’s share price spike may prove to be beneficial to RIM, and it does not appear to have done anyone any damage, but positive results cannot always be predicated. As our blog post about Danske Bank demonstrated last September, the negative potential is equally strong – unless corporates start to address their approach to social media more thoroughly.