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Not long after Toronto-based startup Shoelace started sending out monthly investor reports, an investor approached the company's CEO. She was looking forward to the next update, she said — she was excited for the chance to read it in a few days.

 

Shoelace, like more and more businesses these days, has found regular communication to be a valuable tool for engaging investors and gauging their sentiment and attitudes. With today's plugged-in and tech-savvy investors, no longer are quarterly investor reports sufficient to keeping investors interested. Now companies have to be more constant — and creative — in their investor communications.

The benefits of staying in touch

Shoelace's monthly emails tell a story that leaves readers wanting to know what will happen in the next month's edition. The reports include metrics and announcements mixed in with charts, videos, customer testimonials and embedded screenshots. A few paragraphs at the end remind investors of what Shoelace does and how the company adds value. CEO Reza Khadjavi says the exercise not only helps keep him and his team accountable — it also keeps the company top-of-mind with its investors.

 

Your investors can be some of your best advocates and supporters. That's why it's so important to nurture your relationships with them. Providing investors with regular updates on the details of your company's progress and its management team makes your organization more transparent. Frequent updates provide investors with a deeper understanding of your company and its goals, helping to preempt questions and concerns while building trust. The right engagement plan helps gather perspectives that can also be helpful in making decisions about the future of your company.

How to keep investors more engaged, more often

Surveys, webcasts, podcasts, blogs and videos provide a myriad of options for keeping investors engaged between quarterly reports. Process technology, automation and services company Valmet provides regular video content for investors, including site visits and summaries of results write-ups through its IR Video Gallery.

 

Videos are also the perfect opportunity for investors to hear from the top. After all, contact with a company's CEO is what investors want most. Consider filming short, regular updates with your company's leader. When they're not available, post a recent TV interview or a timely clip from an investor presentation on your IR site. If your CEO is camera-shy, a regular CEO blog on your site could work as an alternative for keeping investors in touch with company leadership.

 

In monthly communications, highlight your company's corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. This can be a great way to highlight the good work you're doing, especially if you don't have the funds to produce a full CSR report. Since today's investors often like to know that the companies they invest in align with their values, sharing these activities more often will help you retain and attract investors.

Initiating two-way conversations

When it does come time for your quarterly report, get creative. Use the report as an opportunity to connect with investors online by driving them to your social media channels. Post an interesting statistic on Twitter the day you release your report to spark a conversation.

 

While you're at it, don't forget to give some thought to how you can regularly connect with your investors on social media, which can function like a sounding board or focus group. What type of information or update on your company generates the most engagement? Which are most likely get investors to participate in a dialogue?

 

As you consider how often to reach out to your investors, remember that the ultimate goal is to engage them. You want investors to have a firm understanding of your company and how it's helping its customers. You want investors to stand behind your mission. When they do, they'll support you through good times and bad.

Deborah Blumberg has more than 15 years' experience writing business and finance topics for The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, The Christian Science Monitor and Newsday. She was a Knight Center fellow and a Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism fellow and is a founder and co-president of the Texas chapter of American Society of Journalists and Authors.

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