How Social Media Usage Could Affect Your Startup Funding Opportunities

Social media can play a role in helping founders secure funding for their startups. But it could also come in their way of securing funds from scrutinizing venture capitalists.

Getting funding for your startup could pose one of the most difficult hurdles of your entrepreneurial career.

While many startups usually receive poor attention from investors for reasons such as having a “me-too” product in an already oversaturated market or a founder delivering a poor pitch, many have not actually considered other outside-the-box factors that could affect their chances of getting funded.

One of the ways your startup might miss out on funding opportunities is your social media habit.

Social media can play a role in helping founders secure funding for their startups. But it could also come in their way of securing funds from scrutinizing venture capitalists. This is more so now that we’re in an era where the Silicon Valley funding bubble is almost fading.

To put things in perspective, it’s widely reported that more startups were funded in 2015 than in 2016. If this does not mean anything, it’s that VCs are getting tired to throwing their money around.

While the amount of cash in the hands of willing investors may not be short, these backers are now looking for more “worthy” startups to invest in. One of the factors that may help a startup measure up on a backer’s barometer of worthiness is the person behind the startup itself.

Use social media badly and you could ruin your chances of wooing a VC to bet their money on you.

Your social media posts reflects on your startup

Many people have the impression that the content on their social media accounts does not reflect their professional views. This culture is seen in some startup founders, as well.

Investors, however, see things differently. They often look out for reasons not to invest in a startup, and this means they see things differently than you do. While you’re happy to see the reasons your startup deserves that million-dollar funding, they’re often searching for reasons why you shouldn’t have it.

Angela Roche, founder of Design By Day, a Manchester, U.K.-based design company, who has worked with several startups, from well-funded ones to those on bootstrap, says:

The truth is that customers and VCs do not want to think your social media activities would do not reflect on who you are.

We’ve seen some founders come to us after having lost a promising funding opportunity. They usually want something different from what they’ve hoped for because they were not successful in securing funding from VCs. And they tell their stories. Many are varied, but all wished they did some things differently, including how they used social media.

Investors infer culture from your statements

One of the golden nuggets founders use to attract high-valued investors is company culture. If investors love your company culture, then your customers could, too. But for some startups, their culture is only good on paper and shabby in real life.

If you say your customer is your No. 1 priority, then your social media content should reflect this. Apart from being able to use social media to attract customers, VCs want to see how well you value your existing customers through your social media content. Do you argue with a customer on Facebook, even if you know they are wrong? Or do you show that customers are always right?

Investors, and your customers, would infer your startup culture from statements your share on social media.

James Jorner is a content strategist and marketer at Effective Inbound Marketing. His company specializes in online branding and digital marketing for businesses.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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