In our recent blog, we set out the ways in which social media can be leveraged to attract the attention of potential investors. But once you’re on their radar, how do you convert interest into investment? We’ll walk you through some sure-fire content strategies that will present your business in its best light and raise the investment you need to grow. Here, we’ve identified three key elements that can influence the decisions of VCs and angel investors, and demonstrate how you need to maximise their impact through powerful, confident and effective messaging.
There is no ‘I’ in Team
Unless the ‘I’ stands for investment, that is… There is nothing that demonstrates business credibility and viability more to venture capitalists than an established, assured and progressive team. They need to know that you have a scalable business model that can obtain high growth rates over time. As VC Mark Suster stated back in 2010, “For any investor, it takes a miracle to get investment dollars out of them if they’re not impressed with the team.”
This is where great storytelling comes in. A potential investor who knows your company’s backstory, who knows that your team are all working off the same page, and who has access to information about the expertise and even personalities of your team, is likely to find your profile more trustworthy and reliable. Added to that fact, the success of startups is closely linked to the founders and the supporting team members around them. If all of the information you share on your website, social media channels and company literature present a picture harmony, a shared vision and the same trajectory then that ticks a good number of boxes in the mind of an investor. Understanding your organisation’s structure can also already offer them a good deal of ‘soft’ information on the bare bones of the company’s infrastructure, how you are looking to drive the business forward and the areas where their investment can make a difference.
It is essential that if any key team members already have industry experience, this is highlighted on your website and through social media. Similarly, the profiles and backgrounds of founders and CEOs can be a deal-breaker. Make sure that both individual accounts on pages such as LinkedIn, and their online presence on company pages are consistent, trustworthy, reliable and offer a sense of vision and personality. VCs and angel investors are humans too. If they don’t trust or believe in the CEO or founder, this could potentially put them off of investing in a startup, however good its figures might look on paper. As Apple and Intel early investor Arthur Rock said, “I invest in people, not ideas…”
Traction Speaks Louder than Words
Thinking about deleting your earliest social media posts to hide the low number of likes or the less than polished messaging, strategy or branding? Think again. While you might want to do some ‘tidying up’ as your business progresses, evidence of your company’s evolution offers valuable information to potential investors on the momentum of your business and its potential for growth. While infographics, white papers, financial reports or presentations might offer hard facts and figures, such ‘soft’ evidence will serve to demonstrate and validate your company’s traction.
This is also why you need to consider potential investors when planning and executing your social media activity right from the launch of your business or even before. The earlier you can get on their radar, the more effectively you will be able to demonstrate your company’s momentum and document your journey with engaging, confident and inspiring content. If a VC can see a development to your product, such as new features, a new member of the team, or the development of a clear brand image and vision across the various channels, these are all signs that your business is moving forwards in the right direction. Such information adds significant value to cold hard sets of data and figures when it comes to swaying investment decisions.
Publicise your Product
If you’re exceptionally lucky, an investor will fall out of the sky who just really likes your product, sees it as something they would use, or has a gut feeling about it. But for the other 99% of startups, establishing a clear vision and path for your product is another key element to raising capital. Does your product solve a problem? Is its launch timely and can it undergo further developments or incorporate add-ons from its current state? Can the product or service you provide either branch out, transform or seamlessly adapt to changing times? Startups need to have the answers to these questions clearly defined and then find their top selling points and shout about them on social media. Investors need to be able to visualise a future and a forward trajectory for your business in order for it to be an attractive investment option.
Instagram posts that highlight your product’s desirability, tweets that hint at new features in the pipeline and thought pieces on LinkedIn that position your product as providing a solution or ‘life-hack’, all serve to demonstrate the future viability of your business.
For any fledgling or more established business seeking to raise investment, an integrated approach that includes a clearly-defined and confidently-executed social media strategy is becoming an essential part of an overall approach to win over potential investors in an increasingly global and crowded marketplace. Traditional avenues for securing venture capital are gradually becoming diversified, with 80% of institutional investors stating that social media is a part of their regular workflow in decision-making.
For any business startup, investing in great social media content now to highlight the USPs and vision of your company can not only pay dividends in helping to remove some of the time-consuming and costly searches associated with securing investment later down the line, but also greatly increase your chances of securing the investment that will allow your company to grow.