Samso Insights Episode 110
This article examines the changing state of media distribution for ASX resource companies.
Like it or not, the digital world has exploded. What are you doing to gain attention to your ASX announcements or news that require engagement from your intended shareholders?
Which website do you think is the most popular today, worldwide? If you guessed Google like I did, we were both wrong. As of December 2021, Google lost its crown to TikTok.
With video taking over as the communication medium of choice, the Metaverse updates and the first murmurings of Web3; failure to evolve alongside these tech advances and global social communication trends will leave your company at a standstill.
It's hard to fathom now, but it wasn't that long ago that the personal computer was thought to be a niche product for a handful of homes. Put simply, there was no faith, at least initially. New methods that disrupt the status quo have a habit of fostering skepticism and distrust. To remain competitive, it's vital to keep up with global trends and innovations, despite the naysayers.
What can your company do to catch the new breeds of investors' eye? This is your opportunity to get in and shape your company's online presence.
Resistance to social media
Not tackling your social media barriers head on only makes incorporating it later more difficult. Social media is synonymous with consumers, and consumers are investors. With the societal changes experienced globally over the last few years, toeing the line is not enough for investors.
Investors/Consumers demand more from businesses today more than ever before and want to be informed, not placated, about your company's choices and its resultant outcomes.
The Near Future - Web3
Web3 is about taking back the power that the large, centralised tech companies have held court over for the last fifteen years. It's the ability to be able to own the content that your company creates and maintain your privacy, unlike Web3.
When we think of Web3 what comes to mind right now is cryptocurrencies, blockchain and the metaverse. Below is an example of a forward thinking mining company from the US and their foray into the Metaverse.
Let's move into the world of marketing, the Metaverse and mining.
Silver Bullet Mining is the first mining company globally to use the metaverse as a brand awareness tool by creating three immersive Silver Bullet ‘worlds’. The 'worlds' mimic SBMI's real life sites and reflect the changes as the mine sites move through the lifecycle sequences. The virtual worlds can be accessed via the use of the virtual reality headset, the Oculus device.
“We are always looking for ways to enrich our communications with the shareholders,” said A. John Carter, SBMI’s CEO. “Being first in the metaverse allows us to engage differently with a larger demographic.” (Source here.)
Silver Bullet Mining’s three worlds via Oculus can be found here:
These three immersive worlds were set for release during the Mining Show, aka the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference in March this year, but were rescheduled to June 2022 instead. Silver Bullet Mining decided to release them earlier than wait for the June date.
As their mining projects progress, the three immersive meta worlds will update accordingly, giving viewers a unique and unprecedented perspective on minesite operations.
The quote above from Silver Bullet's CEO A.John Carter sums up this article perfectly. The world today is all about existing and making an impression online and attracting new stakeholders, preferably through video and it's only just getting started.
If you want to keep up with the Silver Bullets of the world then keep reading. Making your foray into the digital media world requires some forethought and planning ahead.
Companies that are vocal and transparent about their practices and are aligned with today’s ESG culture and are the ones that potential employees or investors are going to want to interact with, that stand out in their minds. Social media platforms are the modern way of engaging with the public at large providing a two way communication channel that doesn’t just speak at you, but provides opportunities to communicate that were once unheard of. (Source here.)
Always consult the legalities
Always consult ASIC and in the US, the SEC guidelines when making decisions on what information your business is comfortable sharing online. Protecting your company's proprietary information is paramount when it comes to social media, particularly if you have in-house staff with access to social media accounts and who are privy to sensitive information. Pay close attention to what is being posted in your company's name and vet all intended communications.
New Kids on the Block - Energy and Gold
New Australian sustainable energy companies such as Line Hydrogen have established profile accounts on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Powershop *DC have multiple business media accounts visibly displayed on their websites.
Gold companies such as Aurum Resources have profile accounts with YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter; Austral Resources have Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and Bryah Resources (a manganese/copper and gold explorer) use Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube and Facebook.
This illustrates the point that to be a competitor in today's world, your company requires a social media presence and in particular, a presence on video. The aforementioned resource companies are using platforms that all host video.
Video is the medium of the decade when it comes to all things marketing and communications, and it's only going to accelerate as time passes.
Successful companies on social media
The companies that have been successful in garnering a following on social media are those that have taken the time and effort to understand the social media landscapes in conjunction with their investor relations.
World Gold Council
If you ignore the mental image that is conjured up when you think ‘social media’ and instead think of it as an extension of your company’s communication effort, it instantly becomes relatable to your business.
Lagging on your business’s digital media strategy will emerge as a non-traditional threat the longer it is left wanting. Digital media is already taking the next leap into the baseline world of the Metaverse with advertising billboards, so if digital media is missing from your communications arsenal today, than it will be much harder to catch up when Web3 becomes a mainstay and it will be more than the Metaverse and cryptocurrencies.
Share your narrative
Digital media is any organisation's ultimate opportunity to create and control their narrative. Companies would be wise to bring their positive ESG outcomes and their CSR business models to the public’s attention. Companies that of their own volition have imposed the Good Neighbour Agreements that are legally binding should be highlighting these aspects of their business. Not to brag, but to educate, as part of many people’s opinions are only shaped by negative information, decades old misinformation and gossip and know little about how this industry has its positive and proactive members.
Performing corporate responsibility and corporate volunteering is information that can be posted front and centre by using your social media accounts. Anytime you can control your image and put out the positive aspects should be taken up on and considered essential public relations.
Who are the mining companies that stand out the most? Those who are leaders and those who implement their branding strategies the best and thus, are the most visible.
What's the focus?
1. Share liquidity, Brand Awareness and Reputation Management
A core goal is to get eyes on your business for the right reasons. Potential shareholders need to know you exist, why you exist and that your operation is sound. Creating a website and leaving it at that is the equivalent of phoning it in and still expecting outstanding results.
Twitter and LinkedIn are the standard platforms resources industries use but with video taking over you need to expand your horizons and quickly. LinkedIn is a slow moving platform where changes made to a profile can take up to two hours to take effect, not exactly ideal for all your business news and for people getting their eyes on it. Creating relationships with stakeholders and potential and current investors should be your main goal.
As your business grows you will want to attract the best talent out there. Getting in front of new graduates where they hang out online is only going to work in your favour.
3. Social innovation
Highlight your company's work in social innovation. Showcasing your company's progress and adaptation in implementing digital and sustainable practices to save on inefficiencies is vital to staying competitive.
4. Beat the fake news
Corporate social media is the place to celebrate and educate your company's wins and it’s also the place where you can correct misnomers and misinformation and provide discrete and accurate information updates should a crisis occur. Facebook has been the biggest source of news for many social media users which, as we know now, is by no means always accurate.
By being proactive in the correction and the monitoring of misinformation, historical fake news or hearsay, it is essential to combat these aspects from proliferating.
For many people the immediate association mining brings up is = bad and greedy. Bad for everyone and only good for the faceless and nameless executives in control. It's become a dehumanized industry. Much can be done to present a different perspective and educate those who think they are already informed.
5. Reputation management - Focal points
Common areas of misinformation that can be clarified are historical misinformation, environmental concerns, First Nations peoples displacement, location damage, contamination fears etc.
Many would still consider our society to be very selfish, but there has been a shift particularly over the last five years from individuals to businesses taking responsibility, accountability, and redress to correct past wrongs. Community relationships matter more than ever and the mining industry should take note. The University of Queensland recently concluded a study that found protests can cost a business approx. $20 million dollars a week in suspended production. A digital strategy can help mitigate this risk and save your business money.
6. It’s all in the way that you use it
How the information is presented, the use of jargon or lack thereof also makes a big difference. Relaying of information and using plain language is imperative to ensure the right message is being disseminated through media channels. Otherwise, it can go against what you are trying to achieve.
Assumptions made about the industry and those that work at every level of it, are another way to dispel the misnomers. Bringing a human element to the staff from grassroots level to the C Suite, can reduce the faceless, heartless corporate executive image people often conjure up.
By being proactive with digital media and presenting your business on video, performs one key function: it puts a face to a name and it provides the essential connection that is missing from the faceless and uncaring mining company stereotype.
7. Video Du Jour
You can achieve this by speaking with industry experts like Samso and getting your essential business messages across through the medium of du jour, video. Video imagery delivers your message across to audiences faster than words could ever convey on a screen or on paper.
The world of social media is an exciting world in itself, and you have choices. All you need to do is take that first step. And the time to start is NOW.
You are aware of the tools available to your business, but where do you start? Before you get stuck into this section, consider how your business has adapted your existing investor outreach methods to the 'new normal' hybrid working conditions?
Convert and conquer
COVID took the nascent working from home trend and kicked it into becoming commonplace. This means converting your previous physical investor outreach methods into flexible, hybrid workplace friendly ones.
Our pre-covid lifestyle hasn't returned yet and it may not ever be the same. COVID causes multiple interruptions and delays with workplace absences, service interruptions which can be mitigated by using today's tech app staples like Zoom/MSTeams and Google Workplace. You can reorient your former investor outreach activities and create appointments with serious investors, virtually. It also saves on expenses, time and no travel delays or disruptions.
Ask Me Anything
AMA webinars are a great addition to outreach activities. By organising, recording and uploading company investment information webinars onto platforms like YouTube, serves multiple purposes.
It serves to keep authoritative company information in the public domain,
It's in the fastest growing media format, video
and is available to anyone globally, who wishes to view/listen to the recording for however long you wish for it to be available.
After converting your investor presentations into hybrid workplace friendly formats, your next task is to audit your company's current communications materials and outlets.
any existing online social media accounts
company website, company website blog
any email communications that are regularly disseminated
Keep an eye out
Scan your website for:
holiday closures dates *you would be surprised!*
ex staff profiles and organise for their removal or update.
Once a thorough audit has been conducted and the changes noted down, you can engage another person(s) to assist in removing the unwanted information.
Social media accounts audit
Conduct an audit on who your company's account follows and who follows back. This might seem inconsequential, but who your company's profile engages with forms part of your online reputation. It can affect your company's credibility both positively and negatively. It can effectively be an endorsement of the person or business, so be mindful of the optics.
Audit past posts if you have existing social media profiles so an awareness of what has been posted in the past can form an online company history dossier for future reference.
Consider the platforms, if any, your business is utilising:
How do these platforms fit in with business goals?
How effective have they been thus far?
Do the platforms suit the content that is being distributed on them? Not all platforms suit all content.
Ask these questions;
How often are these materials accessed/requested?
Do they need updating? It's a good idea to keep previous iterations of all published materials for reference.
What are their primary goals for existing?
Once you have ascertained the materials raison d'etre the next stage is asking the
question, what does the business want to achieve by using social media?
Is it brand awareness?
Increased reach into new audiences?
Increased SEO rankings?
This list is not exhaustive. Your business may have a singular objective or it could use a combination of all of the above.
Once you have decided upon the objective(s) you can move ahead to planning your content and using the platforms best suited to the content you wish to convey.
The information or opinions provided herein do not constitute investment advice, an offer or solicitation to subscribe for, purchase or sell the investment product(s) mentioned herein. It does not take into consideration, nor have any regard to your specific investment objectives, financial situation, risk profile, tax position and particular, or unique needs and constraints. Read full Disclaimer.
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