About nine months ago, I had the pleasure of connecting with John Jacobs, CMO, NASDAQ OMX, to talk about the launch of the NASDAQ Community. So I thought you'd enjoy learning how the initiative is going, what they have learned, and what the future holds.
A nice piece of news in the story is also that they have implemented a single sign-on functionality to the site, which allows community members to register and log-in using their existing social network accounts like Facebook and Twitter.
Q: You stated that you wanted to further establish NASDAQ.com, NASDAQ OMX the company as a technology leader and information authority through community engagement. How have you achieved that goal?
A: We’ve embraced community engagement as a way to better educate investors and foster transparency in the markets, going beyond our competitors who are dabbling in social media.
One example of how we’ve done that is NASDAQ Answers, which allows members to ask questions about market events, trading terminology, and investing ideas and get answers from other community members. Anything that allows our members to get better investing insights and become more educated about the markets helps us achieve those goals.
Although we’ve made great strides in the area of community engagement, we don’t see this goal as something that gets achieved and crossed off the list –- it’s an ongoing process of experimentation, feedback, and improvement. This applies not only to NASDAQ.com, but to our complimentary external channels on Facebook & Twitter.
Getting involved and experimenting is crucial because if you want to create compelling and useful social tools for investors, you need to clearly understand how things work within the context of a social channel. For example, having a Twitter account might seem like a no-brainer these days, but what are you going to do with it that sets you apart?
In our case, we tweet small samples of market activity throughout the day to not only to showcase what we have to offer on NASDAQ.com, but to provide standalone value for the Twitter audience in a way that uniquely represents our brand.
Q: Success was defined by you with the following KPIs: 1) number of community members; 2) growth of page views; and 3) growth of advertising sales in the community area. Did you have any surprises or did the numbers meet your projections/expectations?
A: We haven’t had a lot of big surprises, which is probably a good thing because it means we did our homework. We have seen continued positive results as measured across all KPIs, but of course there’s always room for improvement.
Our community now numbers more than 21,000 members and continues to grow. Initially a lot of the focus has been on getting things right and optimizing the user experience, so the more interesting things we’ve observed have had to do with the content to which most of our users naturally gravitate.
For the remainder of this year, we’ll be releasing enhancements that add more prominence and utility to some features we’ve seen demonstrating the most organic growth. What’s good for our users also happens to positively impact our KPIs, so it’s all about delighting our audience.
Q: Investors are using sites like Seeking Alpha, Wikinvest, Whale Wisdom, Yahoo! Finance, and Stocktwits. What makes them also participate in NASDAQ Community? Do you see it as complementary to those sites?
A: I think it’s a great idea for investors to use as many sources of information as possible to conduct research, and all of the sites you mention are good at what they do. In fact, we’ve actually partnered with a couple of the sites you mention.
What sets the NASDAQ Community apart, however, is our combination of depth and breadth of accurate market data, innovative research tools, and expert commentary from a variety of trusted content partners.
We believe our audience also appreciates the trust associated with our brand and the fact that we’re likely to be around for a while.
Q: What insights have you had from the NASDAQ community?
A: We’ve gained valuable insight about what works for our audience and what doesn’t.
For example, we found that features like our Community Stock Ratings are a natural draw, while some of the more nuanced features, such as controls for customizing article display based on user input, take a little longer to understand and are better suited to an advanced user.
As a result, we’ll be releasing enhancements in the near future that optimize the user interface by giving more prominence and better functionality to stock ratings, while taking some of the least used features out of the spotlight.
Q: What's the future of investor relations? Will we see more community participation from investors?
A: The future of investor relations will almost certainly play out in the social media space as investors seek objective sources of information online.
This represents a big opportunity for IR representatives and community participation from investors will continue to grow in those communities where there is reliable information and a well-moderated dialogue taking place.
Key take aways from the conversation:
- have a strategy for getting involved -- that way you know where you're going
- experiment to learn from your community -- what you think is useful may not be what they think
- provide value to the community for the community -- in other words, it's about them
- grow organically -- it's more work, and it's more sustainable
An observation about the NASDAQ Facebook page. Now that they have built quite a few fans, there's opportunity to engage more on the wall to build that community and realize synergies with the NASDAQ hubs. What else would be helpful to you on their page?As I was researching investor relations resources in social sites, I also came across quite a few presentations on SlideShare. Seek by category.