Before Crowdfund Investing, Build from Your Core Social Network Outward
Chances are, you have at least one social network already. If you don’t, you need to create one before you can attempt crowdfund investing. And if you do, now is the time to make your network(s) as robust as possible.
Consider the example of LinkedIn, the social network for the business world. (It was started by one of the most connected business people in Silicon Valley, Reid Hoffman, who was constantly asked to make introductions to his contacts. One day, Hoffman decided to make his life a lot easier and put his Rolodex online.)
If you’re on LinkedIn, you most likely have connected with all the people you’ve worked with in the past, people you went to school with, and anyone else who knows you professionally. Who else can you possibly tap to be part of this network?
When you’re signed on, LinkedIn lets you see people’s résumés. If you locate second- or third-degree connections who seem like strong potential investors, you can ask your first-degree connection for an introduction.
For example, if you’re about to launch a campaign to raise money for a food distribution company, you can easily see everyone in your extended network who has any experience in this field. Invite these people to be your first-degree connections.
Next, go into the related groups on LinkedIn and join the existing conversations. Make a name for yourself by posting relevant comments. Find the movers and shakers in the groups, and start conversations with them. When you’re engaged in a conversation, you can add this person as your first-degree contact.
As you can see, this process takes some time. It’s never too late to start, but if you haven’t started already, start today. Set up a schedule for yourself with specific goals — for example, make ten new contacts each week or spend 20 minutes two times a day engaging people on social networks.
When taking these steps, do not spam people. There is a thin line between providing good content that people will enjoy and spamming people with things they don’t care about. In the business world of social networking, everyone wants to gain fans or followers, but don’t get so aggressive that you become a nuisance.
Be diligent about growing your social network. The larger and more comprehensive it is when you launch your project, the more potential people you’ll have to invest in your business.