The Social Media Payoff for Companies and Venture Capitalists


April 21, 2012

Bain Insights crunched the numbers and found that investing in social media for corporate and customer communications pays off (image above). Nike, for example, increased market share by 20% through the use of Nike+, its social media and online community project.


Elsewhere but on the same trend, Openview Venture Partners published a report that we found via PE HUB about venture capitalists and their use of social media and their influence.


The report lists Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures and Mark Suster of GRP Partners as the leaders, or social media “mavens”, and Brad Feld of Foundry Group came in third (Image right).


The benefits they get from their high profile is also described. “Social media is quickly becoming the most compelling form of communication in the world. Those venture capitalists looking to significantly increase their influence on the Web should adopt the techniques outlined throughout this report as industry best practices.


Fail to do so, and it could mean getting left behind altogether,” concludes Brian Zimmerman, managing director, OpenView Venture Partners.

Another interesting thing to note in the report is that Openview polled its 11,000 subscribers (entrepreneurs, CEOs and startup professionals) to find out how they get information about VC investors.


The answer (See Figure 2) is interesting because besides word of mouth, which is the number one source, social media like LinkedIn and blogs, are ranked as more important than attending conferences.


We noted the news here because unlike tech VCs, PE partnerships tend to be known for not using and exploiting social media even if they are actively investing in the industry.


The key areas where they could be using social media is in branding to aid in things like fundraising and investor relations, as an article in Dealmarket Digest reported (page Issue 29) back in November.


Part of the reason for reluctance to use sites like LinkedIn and Facebook is the fear of running afoul of the SEC and other regulators, as FN reported a few months ago.  There are some exceptions, according to David Teten’s blog, such Duane Street Capital, 2xPartners, Healthpoint Capital , Riverside Company, and MCM CapitalImage Source: Bain Insight, Openview Venture Partners

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