The Impact That 2015 Social Media Trends Will Have on Raising Capital
By Judd Hollas
As many entrepreneurs know, social media is a powerful tool for promoting business initiatives through consumer engagement, and through keeping followers informed about the latest products and services. Whether using social media to connect with Facebook fans or to send fun and engaging Tweet messages, business owners recognize that social marketing, when done correctly, has the power to significantly enhance their brand, improve consumer loyalty and drive awareness.
In fact, social media has become so powerful that it is now a critical tool for raising capital online through crowdfunding. Since the fundamental principle of crowdfunding includes inspiring friends, family and “fans/followers” to invest in your dreams, it’s no wonder that social media strategies continue to play such a huge role in facilitating successful online crowdfunding campaigns. But, like with any cutting-edge solution, new technologies and trends are constantly changing the way that social media can be utilized for realizing even greater results. Therefore, in order to stay ahead of the game and ensure that you are using social media in the best possible way for engaging investors, below are some things that you should consider.
Paid Social Media Advertising Is On The Rise
With over 150,000 new URLs created every day, the web continues to become a more crowded space. This means that whatever you put out there could be buried even before someone gets a chance to see it. Take Facebook, the most popular social network, for example. The organic reach of an average post on the site is only 0.073 percent; meaning entrepreneurs are turning to paid social media outreach in order to get the most from their social media efforts. Paid social media provides much more exposure and also provides tools to target a specific audience, so entrepreneurs can not only get their message out there and promote their brand, they can focus their efforts on people who are looking to expand their investment portfolios.
Content Is King
Quality content is essential in establishing a business’s brand and authority on the web. Relevant and valuable content builds credibility and can be re-purposed and distributed via social media networks to help expand a company’s web presence, which is something that savvy investors will research to determine just how sophisticated a company is. Content marketing also serves to educate consumers about your products or services and compete with others in your industry by generating awareness of your company on the web. A lack of quality content gives your competitors the opportunity to establish a strong presence long before you do.
Social Media Propagates General Solicitation
Crowdfunding, and the platforms that enable it, comes in a variety of flavors. Sites like Kickstarter allow you to raise funds from anyone who wants to donate to your cause. People who support projects on these sites typically receive some sort of small compensation, like a t-shirt or maybe a beta of the company’s product. Sites like our own EquityNet are not donation based; rather, they offer entrepreneurs the ability to reach out to investors and lenders in order to raise capital for their businesses. These types of sites offer multiple solutions to streamline the fundraising process and allow entrepreneurs to take advantage of general solicitation in order to reach a broad audience of potential investors. General solicitation is basically advertising your need for funding, and one of the most common ways to do so is through social media. Over half of the entrepreneurs on EquityNet use a tool called Crowdcast to advertise their deals to contacts on multiple social media networks to spread awareness of their offer. Some opt not to as there are rules established by the Securities and Exchange Commission that govern how general solicitation can be conducted.
We’re Becoming A Mobile-First Society
According to the Pew Internet Project, 90 percent of American adults have a cell phone. Of those, 58 percent own smartphones. That’s a staggering number of people who have constant access to the web, and given that we live in a world where nearly everyone has developed some sort of dependency on mobile devices, entrepreneurs need to reconsider how they distribute their content. It’s no longer enough to just be aware of the prevalence of mobile devices when developing social media campaigns. Entrepreneurs should consider optimizing content to render well with mobile devices and then focus on how to deliver content on desktop devices. This methodology will provide better interaction, and again shows a level of sophistication that can lead to a positive response from investors.
By incorporating these tips and strategies into your social media channels, you will be able to leverage the latest trends and best practices with your social marketing and capital raising activities for growing your business and realizing even greater results.
Judd Hollas is the founder and chief inventor of EquityNet, and continues to lead the company’s efforts to create and introduce innovative new products and services. He is responsible for the overall management of the company, including its strategic direction and fiscal and professional integrity. Prior to founding EquityNet in 2005, Mr. Hollas served as Division Manager for Beta-Rubicon, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in technology assessment and business due diligence services.