Relationship building is no longer limited to boardroom meetings, conferences and face-to-face interactions. Social media marketing within the private equity space empowers you and your firm’s executives to connect with business owners, investors and other professionals anytime, anywhere. This opens up a myriad of ways to engage with your target audiences regularly and, ultimately, maximize your impact on marketing and business goals.
As the private equity landscape has grown increasingly competitive, every single customer touchpoint counts. In previous years, social media may have been just a fun “extra” marketing channel, but it’s since become a necessary tool you must be actively leveraging to grow your network and, in turn, your firm. When it comes to private equity, an effective social media strategy will achieve three key competitive advantages:
Establish a recognizable brand identity
Grow a wide social network of engaged professionals who could someday turn into business partners, clients or even referral sources
Foster an ongoing conversation with your audience that isn’t tied to a customer journey or high-pressure sale
Developing a Private Equity Social Media Marketing Strategy
The messaging of your social media content should align with the messaging of your brand at large. A social media marketing strategy should not stand on its own; it must be part of an overarching brand strategy that serves to differentiate your private equity firm, clearly communicate your investment philosophy and cater to a well-defined audience.
To ensure your key messaging isn’t blurred across different asset classes, it’s important to post social media content that is specific to your investment category rather than general investment content. If you focus on creating social content for a particular asset class, such as venture, growth, buyouts or mezzanine, you’ll reach a narrower but more engaged group of followers.
Of course, there is flexibility for your firm to loosen up a little on social media—as long as it doesn’t stray too far from the overall brand voice and tone of your usual content. Think about it as the difference between the level of professionalism you’d display in a work meeting versus on your lunch break. It’s just a subtle difference, but allowing your brand’s messaging on social media to be just a little lighter will make it easier for people to relate to the content and engage with it.
The target audiences of your private equity firm may vary based on the type of partnerships you pursue and what regions you serve, but they often represent three main categories:
Business owners who meet your investment criteria
Investors interested in participating in a fund
Secondary audiences such as potential employees and the media
With these audiences in mind, here are a few ways that you can engage with your firm’s target audiences on social media:
1. Share Personal Stories & Original Content
Personal storytelling, whether through writing or short-form video, is a great way to reach your audience on any social media platform. To connect with business owners struggling to scale, for example, offer a one-minute overview of how your firm helped one of its portfolio companies increase its profits. This type of human-centric storytelling is popular now and tends to perform well, with 92% of marketers reporting they receive a good ROI on video content.
Fill the gaps in your social strategy by sharing original content like blogs, case studies, testimonials, company announcements and unique data. Always aim to provide your audience with new information, or a fresh perspective on a well-discussed topic. Depending on the platform, post 2-5 times per week to stay in front of your audience and grow your following.
In fact, companies that post weekly see a 2x lift in engagement with their content on LinkedIn. It’s even recommended that you post every day for the best results. As a general rule of thumb, though, only about 20% of your social media content should be directly promoting your business. Otherwise, users will tune your message out.
2. Amplify Your Firm's Message Through Your Executives
Establishing a strong brand presence on social media isn’t just up to your firm’s marketing team. Your executives must view their personal social media profiles as an extension of the firm’s image. The collective strength of their networks can harness a more engaged following than all the ad dollars in the world. That’s because people are mostly on social media to form authentic relationships and learn more about people they care about—not to interact with a faceless brand.
In fact, 70% of consumers report feeling more connected to a brand when its CEO is active on social media. To add to this, nearly three-fourths prefer when employees share information about a brand online. Some executives may be hesitant to start posting and engaging with others on social media, but soon find that a little bit of online effort can go a long way in developing relationships and bringing in new leads.
3. Pull Back the Curtain on Your Firm
Before deciding to partner with your firm, founders who are considering selling their businesses want to know what the day-to-day of the company would look like, how their employees would be treated, and who the executives overseeing the transition are as individuals.
It pays to be transparent about your firm’s values and culture so that business owners can consider whether partnering would be a good fit. Investors and potential employees also take similar cues from social media to evaluate potential partnerships and job opportunities. Be sure to take photos at company events to share on social media, regularly spotlight employees, and give your followers a genuine sneak peek at what life at your company is like.
4. Participate in Industry Discussions
Social media is about more than just self-promotion. It’s also a key facilitator for important conversations about technology, leadership, workplace trends and more. Engaging in these virtual discussions with other professionals in your industry can open your eyes to best practices and new insights for navigating the current business landscape.
Industry discussions are not limited to just LinkedIn; there are hundreds of accounts on TikTok and YouTube dedicated to private equity, investing and accelerating business growth. All you have to do to participate is join in the comments section, or start creating videos of your own.
5. Make New Connections
Virtual connections plant the seeds for what could turn into rewarding long-term relationships, business partnerships and a more robust professional network. Don’t shy away from sending invitations to connect with other professionals on LinkedIn. Whether you’re reconnecting with someone you met in person or sending cold invites to professionals who you’d like to get to know better, it’s an opportunity to expose more people to your firm and your personal brand.
6. Engage in Friendly Conversation
Social networks are not the place for a “hard sell” approach. Make sure to take the time to enjoy the human side of social media by engaging in online discussions about matters that aren’t necessarily directly related to private equity.
For example, there are groups on social media about maintaining a work-life balance and managing the challenges of being a working parent. You could also cross-network with those who work outside of private equity by congratulating them when they accept a new role or reach a work milestone. By keeping up with your connections without a sales agenda, you’ll find yourself in a more favorable position the next time you’d like to discuss business.
7. Lend a Helping Hand
People often turn to their social networks for recommendations—whether in life or in business. Perhaps an acquaintance of yours has an open role to fill, needs a new accountant or wants to find a new lunch restaurant downtown. If you’re able to help them out, take the time to do so. Your act of kindness builds their trust and keeps your firm top of mind.
8. Run an Ad Campaign
Paid social media campaigns are useful for disseminating your message to a highly specific audience, such as senior-level executives or business owners who are interested in finance and investing. Leverage LinkedIn ads, such as display ads and sponsored InMail messages, to add another touchpoint to your customer journey and close deals more quickly.
9. Discover Top Talent
Top finance and investment professionals want to work for firms that are transparent, approachable, embody good values and are comfortable with modern communication tools. Having a strong presence on social media signals to your audience that your firm embodies these traits and could plant a seed in other professionals’ minds that you’d be a desirable employer. Plus, the more active you are on social media, the more likely you are to recognize and recruit top talent before you even have an open role.
10. Get Noticed by the Media
Having a strong social media presence may also lead to additional PR opportunities. If your private equity firm and its executives regularly post on social media about trending topics within your industry, reporters will be much more likely to reach out organically when they need an authoritative voice to shed light on those topics for a story.
Social media marketing and connection building are all about bonding over lived experiences, exchanging valuable lessons so they don’t have to be learned the hard way, and finding joy in keeping in touch with people who would otherwise fade from your immediate network. Whether on social media or at an in-person networking event, a single missed connection could be the difference between landing a valuable partnership and struggling to source your next deal.