There are many digital resources to touch base with an accredited investor, financier or venture capitalist but, excluding personal bias, the following reasons make LinkedIn the best place to start networking with them:
1. You “connect” or network with investors & study their LinkedIn presence before the disclosure of your pitch or requirements to them. In fact, you can soft sell your brand to them & gain their confidence before risking your intellectual property to their scrutiny.
2. Your LinkedIn profile is an essential part of any evaluation by most investors today. Almost all major websites that specialise in finding connecting investors to businesses prefer the inclusion of your LinkedIn profile in their user summary.
3. You can discover reliable referrals from a list of existing or potential mutual connections that know you as well as the investor. You can also avail the direct messaging facility by joining a common LinkedIn Group.
4. Unlike other sites, you can also search for investors who went to the same school as you, worked with the same companies as you, or even share the same network as you via 2nd & 3rd-degree connections. Here, for the uninitiated, Degree refers to the least number of people that serve as links in a chain of connections between you and your target.
5. The investor can not only review your business information but also evaluate the profiles and LinkedIn activities of you, your partners/senior management etc.
6. Apart from listed investors, you can also connect with wealth managers, family offices, bankers, accounting firms, fund managers, upcoming impact investors & entrepreneurs.
Beginner Tips to Find Investors
When you look for investors, you have to compile a list of targets, build an investor pipeline & persist with your LinkedIn activities until you find the right match. Usually, this takes a multi-pronged approach, comprising of the following:
Advanced searching for them:
LinkedIn is the largest directory of investors, including unlisted and inactive investors and the search tab at the top of your LinkedIn page can help you find most of them. For example, you could search for the words “Angel investor” and the tab shall open a search results page with suggestions, based on your existing network. Moreover, the results page shall also provide you with:
1. One-click filters like location, connection or degrees of connection, current/past companies & All Filters.
2. An All Filter Tab that provides some exclusive type-in/dropdown tabs for Industry, title, profile language & services.
3. Now, on the face of it, you may be tempted to overlook the search in the jobs tab but sometimes, the job description of a recruitment post may give a hint as to the intended diversification of an investor’s portfolio. What if a tech investor wants to diversify into real estate or vice-versa? Their recruitment strategy can help you determine their plans.
Similarly, you could also search for keywords like VC, investor, venture capitalist, impact investor, seed fund manager etc using the Boolean search facility (https://www.linkedin.com/posts/melaniegoodmanfinancialmarketing_guide-to-boolean-searches-activity-6574512327096365056-_Vco). Once you try all possible combinations of filters and choices at your disposal, you will be amazed as to how quickly you can populate a list of potential investors and also create the right networking strategy for each one of them based on:
1. Their LinkedIn Profile, especially their title, summary, testimonials, company pages, LinkedIn groups & mutual connections.
2. Their activities such as comments, content, stories & hosted events.
3. A list of hashtags or nametags that are frequently used by them or their network. While hashtags lead you to a feed of similarly tagged content, nametags lead you to a profile with a single click.
Improve Your Search-ability, Visibility & SEO:
Incidentally, a 2015 study of LinkedIn states that nearly 97% of institutional investors use digital media, 79% of them use social media from their workplace & 48% of them were active on LinkedIn. While the latest figures are yet to be ascertained, experts opine that activities of investors & business successors have only grown on LinkedIn, especially during the pandemic induced lockdown.
It is possible that investors may be searching for businesses, just like yours. In such a case, wouldn’t it be great if you could make this search easier for them?
Fortunately, the following tips can help:
1. Make a list of keywords by:
a. Using free keyword generators discovered via Bing or Google searches.
b. Studying activities of intended investors as well as peers, start-ups, recent successors and entrepreneurs who are actively networking for investments.
c. Studying the social media presence of leaders in your industry. After all, investors don’t just look for experts & specialists, but they seek people with leadership skills i.e. people managers, project managers, innovators & crisis handlers.
d. Availing the advice and guidance of LinkedIn experts.
2. Create an All-Star and Optimised LinkedIn Profile: Herein, all-star means that you have not left any section of your profile blank and optimisation refers to the use of right keywords in your:
b. Customised URL (yes, you can rename your LinkedIn URL in a few easy steps)
c. File names of uploaded pictures in head-space & banner.
d. Profile information, especially summary, experience, education & volunteer work.
e. Top skills and endorsements.
f. Testimonials, especially if they highlight your leadership skills.
3. Execute a content marketing strategy that makes use of:
a. Relevant keywords, hashtags & nametags that invite engagement from mutual connections & key influencers.
b. Content calendars and automation tools that can schedule posts in public view, groups or Inmail lists at the right time of the day. You can guess the most appropriate timeslots by studying the activities of your intended audience.
c. A curated list of backlinks of other LinkedIn posts within each post. These backlinks can be carefully embedded within your posts, articles & comments and increase the engagement of all your content, making it more visible on the LinkedIn feed. Herein, backlinks help create the right balance between the overall focus of your content & the refreshing variety within each post.
d. A Live Feed, LinkedIn Group or Event that attracts the attention of your intended audience or their key influencers.
e. Integrates your entire digital presence with your LinkedIn profile at its center. Save your intended audience, the time & effort to review your credentials by leading them to LinkedIn. Sure, your website does leave a lasting impression but a LinkedIn button on your website or blog can lead them to a profile that also carries mutual connections & testimonials.
Then finally, invite them to connect…
It’s important to build a relationship so no pitching.
If you can ask a mutual connection to introduce you even better.
If you do not have a mutual connection, follow a potential investor’s company page. Join any relevant LinkedIn groups to which your target belongs. Read their blog, Scour their profile and posts to familiarise yourself with the person’s portfolio, investment approach, likes and dislikes.
Then, write a custom invitation to connect email. Here are some things you can mention:
- If you’ve met before, remind them about that
- Explain why you want to connect
- Describe the mutually beneficial relationship that you can have by connecting
- Mention something that you have in common — did you go to the same university, do you share a hobby? Did you see them speak on a webinar or buy their book, or do you have a mutual connection or share 100 plus connections etc.?
Keep the invitation to connect short and to the point. You are limited to just 300 characters, so make them count.
If they connect, thank them for connecting and send a few enticing words…
“Thanks for connecting, Jane. FYI I help luxury boutiques raise money and find retail opportunities for investors. If there is anything I can help you with, let me know.”
Follow these LinkedIn strategy steps well to ensure you build your network of investors and VCs who can not only help you fund your business but also provide you with critical life and business lessons that will help you and your business grow, exponentially.
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