Posted on July 10, 2014 by David Laidlaw
In his insightful book, “On Writing,” Stephen King described writing as mental telepathy between author and reader through time and space. We use social media to disseminate our ideas regarding investment and other finance related topics that we find interesting. Our goal is to provide an insight into how we view the markets and investment themes or securities. When we invest, particularly in common stocks, we are putting money into an enterprise that we believe will be able to provide a return on that capital. Through our commentaries, letters and blogs, we are trying to expand on our mindset for our investment decisions. Unless one has been trained as a consultant and/ or performs manager due diligence, it is difficult to look at the portfolios we are managing or a history of transactions to understand our investment discipline.
Less esoterically, we also provide announcements regarding office news or financial related deadlines. For instance, Hurricane Sandy forced the closure of our office for a couple days and we informed our clients and business colleagues. Another example of topics covered in our communications would be to let clients know that we would be harvesting capital losses in taxable accounts during the last quarter of the year and that clients should call us to discuss their particular concerns if there was relevant information that we should take into account regarding their circumstances.
Social media has been very helpful in allowing us to efficiently communicate with our clients and the broader universe of investment professionals. The vast majority of this communication is unidirectional. We encourage comments on our blog, but the dialog so far has been limited. We receive individual responses to emails that we send out and that has helped deepen the communications between us and others. However, we are open to exploring ways to increase the level of engagement.
As far as vehicles, our website serves as the hub of our communications effort. Aside from the primarily static information on the site, we update relevant firm information every quarter. We also post all of our commentaries on our blog located at www.laidlawgrp.com/blog. Our blog contains a history of all postings since September of 2006 so it should provide a comprehensive review of our investment philosophy.
We also use a program to send out emails to multiple recipients. This program, MailChimp, allows us to distribute the same content to lists of individuals with whom we work. It also provides us with statistics on how effective each campaign was in reaching its recipients. We allow anyone on our list to “unsubscribe” by clicking a button on the email. Individuals who take this action will not receive future communications since we do not want to spam anyone.
At Laidlaw Group, we use LinkedIn fairly extensively. We maintain a company page on LinkedIn at the following URL:https://www.linkedin.com/company/laidlaw-group-llc.
Similar to the blog on our website, we have started posting comments on this page. We also connect with other professionals with whom we have had contact in the real world. We do not connect with individuals who are interested in building the widest network possible since we believe the quality of the network is much more important than the quantity of connections.
We also post communications to Twitter; however, we are generally very passive users of Twitter. We do not follow others or engage in any back and forth. We would be interested in learning whether or not others have had success in communicating their message to the wider world through Twitter.
Finally, we do not use Facebook as a business tool. We have a company page on Facebook, but have not updated it beyond the barest minimum. We reserve Facebook for limited personal communications, but use LinkedIn, instead, for our professional lives. At some point, we may expand our use of Facebook, but it is not a priority at this point in time.
Our main goal with our website and social media usage is to communicate efficiently with clients and others outside of the office. Our rationale is not to increase hits, page views or followers for the sake of creating a larger digital footprint. We are only interested in increasing the level of engagement and dialog to make our investment decision-making more transparent.