Over the years, we’ve written about the importance of your LinkedIn profile for prospects, customers/clients, and potential and current employees. It’s time we turn to other key groups that will most likely…no, absolutely, vet you on LinkedIn — investors.
If you are considering seeking investment money from angels or venture capitalists, or looking to be purchased or buy a company, you need to realize that the people responsible for due diligence at the M&A firms go online to review people and companies. It may not be the deciding factor, but it will serve as an indicator alongside a host of other critical signs.
In 2015, LinkedIn wrote, New Research Reveals Social Media’s Impact on Institutional Investing and among other stats, they learned the following:
“The survey found that nearly all Institutional Investors use digital media sources for professional purposes (97%), and an impressive 79% use social media at work. With its focus on professional content, LinkedIn is the preferred social media source with 48% of all Institutional Investors using the platform.”
Social media and LinkedIn provide the kind of insight into a company and its leadership that informs a single angel investor, business analysts, and portfolio managers from the largest institutional investment firms beyond the numbers and the pitch deck. Investors are looking beyond the obvious vanity metrics; followers, likes and downloads. They are looking for real metrics and perhaps, even real people.
Does an investor or successor want to invest in a company that has no online presence? What does a lack of presence or substance say to them?
I’ve talked with investors, angels and partners at venture capital firms who continually share the value of LinkedIn with me (after a couple of minutes, they realize they are preaching to the choir). Some have ninja tricks to find out even more, some reach out to mutual connections and ask questions (think references) and others go to the related LinkedIn Company Page and then see other companies like theirs. They see how they look and who their CEO is, and well, they may head down another path.
Every day I read about entrepreneurs and start-ups looking for the right investment partners. They spend a massive amount of time preparing, having coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks with potential suitors. They invest in advisors, coaches, classes, Masterminds and more to help them prepare.
They are ready. Or, are they?
While I know this is not a huge sampling, it was telling. I recently looked at 65 LinkedIn profiles of entrepreneurs who say they are positioning themselves for funding or exiting their business this year. Of the 65, 11 had profiles that would be considered informative, insightful, authentic. That is 17%. I looked at whether these folks were B2B or B2C and found a higher number of B2C profiles woefully lacked content and context. I understand LinkedIn is not a leading driver for sales like Instagram, Facebook and others may be, however, it is a driver for others who are looking at your business including suppliers, bankers, channel partners, distributors, etc.
I also looked at an equal number of women and men. Unfortunately, I found the women’s profiles lagging in personality, experience, and credibility. Based on the literature, the news, a previous post on Women, Why Your Brand Matters and the people we know, all evidence proves that it’s more difficult for women to raise money than men. Women need to employ all of the positive and manageable forces they have at their disposal, and that includes LinkedIn.
And, while you may be a social media rockstar on some channels, you should spend time on LinkedIn and look at how your peers and other entrepreneurs in your space look. Does your LinkedIn profile showcase you, your accomplishments, mission, network? It better. Need some help creating this type of profile? Read our post on Creating an Authentic LinkedIn Profile.
Look at the investors you are most interested in connecting with and see how their profiles look. Does yours stack up? And, if those investors don’t have great profiles, that does NOT let you off the hook. You’re there to impress them; not the other way around.
As a member of Julia Pimsleur’s Million Dollar Women MasterClass, I have met women from across the country building businesses in a wide range of industries. After I read her book and before our phone conversation, I reviewed her LinkedIn profile, websites, videos and posts across social channels. When we talked on the phone, she was very much the person she was online. Her voice and how she asked questions reflected her personality and business style.
That’s the point, right? People get to know us online and when they meet us in person, they feel like they already know us. And with a bit of luck, have already begun to like and trust us.
Julia, by the way, has a great LinkedIn profile that genuinely reflects who she is, why she does the work she does, her experience and points to a smart network – a network of influencers, connectors, creatives, doers, and givers comprise a smart network.
Highlights of Julia’s profile:
- Her headline highlights her personality, passion, mission and value proposition; even down to her title of Chief Empowerista.
- Her profile picture and background image are professional photos
- Her Summary captures in one place the trajectory of her career, expertise and current focus. (I’d love to see her write this in the first person. It would be more personal and approachable.)
- I see her activity including her original blog posts and social posts; I know she, or someone on her team, is active on LinkedIn.
- Throughout her Experience section, she provides a description of her role and the company. I also see the logos of all the companies she has been associated with and can jump right to their LinkedIn Company Pages to learn more about them.
- Her Education is up to date and accurate and connects her to a large alumni network.
- In Volunteer Experience, I can see where she spends time, including organizations and activities she is passionate about.
- And, finally, I can read her recommendations and read what others say about her.
Look at Julia’s profile and consider hers a model profile (and not just if you are a woman).
And remember, investors and successors are paying attention to LinkedIn. Are you?