No, not the heavenly kind. I was recently invited to attend a local angel investment group meeting. It was an opportunity to meet local investors, listen to a few pitches from other entrepreneurs, and learn how the group operates. I gained some good insight and would suggest that anyone planning to seek angel investment for their endeavor find a way to attend a meeting informally before pitching your opportunity officially.
While I didn’t present, I did get to talk to several investors about Mediassembly and social media. You might think that social media, being a very hot topic these days, would naturally be of interest to investors hoping to ride the next big wave. But many waves crash into rocks. The investors I’ve met tend to be conservative and skeptical of anything that is overly hyped. They’re interested in finding companies that provide innovative, yet practical solutions to tangible problems. The clearer the problem, the easier it is for them to understand the opportunity.
Social media is indeed a phenomenal wave that is changing the way people interact with each other and the way businesses interact with customers. And it is tempting to lead into discussions with how social media is changing the world and citing amazing Facebook and Twitter statistics. But doing so will likely trigger the skeptic’s spidey sense and disengage your audience. Statistics are important, but only after you demonstrate that you’re offering a valuable solution to a clear and significant problem. Sell your solution, without incorporating the hype. The good news is there are plenty of problems to be solved with social media. You don’t need the hype.
While the context of this post is speaking to angel investors, I believe the advise is broadly applicable. It seems there are many agencies and social media champions inside organizations who encounter skepticism while proposing a social media strategy to senior management. I have found that a healthy skepticism is a trait common to both executives and angels. Angels are often retired executives, after all.
There have been several great posts and presentations recently that address the ROI of Social Media. Whether you’re talking to investors or executives, you should be well versed on the bottom-line impact of your solution and how ROI will be measured. This is a good place to start: