ASX lays down the rules on when listed companies must monitor social media

Listed companies in Australia should monitor social media when they are close to completing a market sensitive transaction and when they have an announcement pending, according to the ASX.

Kevin Lewis, compliance manager at the ASX, told SmartCompany business should be monitoring social media as part of a general monitoring program at these two key times.

“The two scenarios are when companies are close to completing a market sensitive transaction and when they have an announcement pending,” he says.

“This includes looking at their share price, looking at mainstream media and social media and enquiries from analysts and journalists.”

Lewis says the ASX is not following the lead of the Securities Exchange Commission in the United States, which has allowed companies to use social media to make key announcements to investors.

“Before you can release it through any media outlet, if it is market sensitive, it must go on the ASX’s platform first,” Lewis says.

“That is essential to market integrity”.
Lewis says the ASX does not require listed companies to monitor all of social media at all times.

“We don’t expect listed companies to monitor social media at large, but they should monitor the websites they are aware of that generally post about them, like companies which have the joy of a shareholder action blog,” he says.

But Catriona Pollard, director of CP Communications, says whatever the ASX edict, listed companies should be using social media anyway and have a social media strategy in place.

“Listed companies should recognise that social media gives them access to their stakeholders, including employees and shareholders,” she says.

“A part of a social media strategy is you monitor it as well, with social media it is not dipping in and dipping out, that is not how social media works.”

Pollard says listed companies, as well as small to medium businesses, that just “dip in and out” of social media are missing out on information and the opportunity for customer research.

“Not having time is not an excuse to not do social media in the first place,” Pollard says.

She recommends, to reduce the time spent on social media, setting up free hashtag searches your industry, the name of your business, the name of your chief executive and your competitors.

Pollard also recommends setting up free Google news alerts that go across all news and blogs of keywords, including your business name and have a look at that once a day or every couple of days and see what is going on in your industry.

“The beauty of social media is small businesses can have just as effective social media campaigns as large, listed companies,” she says.



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