Not too long ago, the digital footprint for most private equity firms was confined to a relatively static homepage and whatever one could find in a simple web search. Social media was seen as time consuming and an unnecessary risk not worth the hassle.
Yet, in recent years, many firms have changed their posture by embracing communication, acknowledging its impact on broader society, and using digital and social media as a tool rather than a path to be avoided. Today, many private equity firms boast visually engaging websites and showcase their activities on social media to an array of stakeholders, from prospective management teams, to limited partners, to recruits.
The data helps make the case for this dramatic shift. In an Edelman Smithfield Investor survey conducted in November 2022, 80% of fund managers said they often look at the social media output of a company and its management team when making investment decisions.
Among the growing number of social networking platforms in the landscape, LinkedIn tends to be the preferred destination for private equity firms and executives, and for good reason. It offers access to a more professionally minded network and the ability to more accurately target stakeholders than possible anywhere else.
Whether you’re looking to launch a new LinkedIn page or brush up your existing presence, check out these 10 LinkedIn considerations for private equity firms in 2023:
- Take an audience-first strategy. In crafting your approach to LinkedIn, keep your priority audiences in mind. For example, if you are trying to reach limited partners more effectively, make sure you establish a consistent cadence of posts showcasing your firm’s broader investment views and philosophy. And if you want to reach prospective management teams, publish content that demonstrates you deeply understand their service or product area. This framework will help you prioritize your efforts and build an effective mix of social content.
- Look beyond your closest peers for inspiration. When considering audience engagement, bear in mind that your firm’s posts are competing for attention among not only industry peers, but also content from the companies and individuals users follow. In other words, the standard by which you evaluate your content is higher than just your category. For inspiration, look at effective social media pages beyond private equity (i.e., FinTech, even Consumer tech) and draw inspiration from differentiating tactics that work for them.
- Elevate your key executives. With the democratization of private markets comes different communication needs. Your investor relations team might be transitioning from working with an already large number of institutional investors to an even more vast retail market, where understanding of the asset class is still evolving. Establish LinkedIn programs that support your key executives so they can help get the message out, provide resources to RIAs, and generally bring greater familiarity to the firm.
- Show the human side. With ever-growing scrutiny of the industry and its effect on society, let your impact speak for itself. Use video and vivid storytelling to showcase portfolio company employees speaking to the value your firm has brought to its growth, overall employee experience, and impact on end users—especially those who rely on critical services, like healthcare.
- Go beyond the corporate page for announcements. When there is an important moment, such as a transaction or significant new hire, activate your employees to help amplify the message. Potential activation tactics include encouraging them to engage with / reshare the lead post from the firm’s corporate page or even providing an employee toolkit with custom graphics and post copy with guidelines for personal customization to draft and publish their own post. The key is to think beyond using the corporate page and get your talent involved in spreading the word.
- Be consistent. Rather than hit a certain number of posts each week or month, shift your goal to simply be consistent at a volume that is actionable given your current business and team—whether that is one post every week, or two. Establish a LinkedIn editorial calendar to layer into your broader communications planning that ensures you publish at an achievable cadence and don’t miss any key milestones.
- Use video to drive engagement. Where possible, embed dynamic video instead of relying solely on static social cards or text-only posts. According to LinkedIn’s own research, members of their platform are 20x more likely to share a video than any other type of post.
- Boost results through paid targeting. While organic posts should be the staple of your social media program, consider supporting key posts with paid targeting. Using paid targeting will help you target your priority audiences by specific criteria, such as sector and job title. This is especially effective when promoting content that is geared towards prospective management teams operating in defined niches.
- Get on the same page as Compliance. Rather than seeing Compliance as a hurdle or gatekeeper, proactively align with them about what falls within the firm’s guidelines when crafting your approvals and distribution process. This can translate to faster approvals and greater efficiencies as it will mitigate the need to re-work content.
- T@g Wisely. @Tags and #hashtags can help drive more user engagement to posts and increase the post’s searchability. Tag users/company pages as needed depending on the post’s subject while limiting tagging to no more than 15 users/pages per post, as any more will cause LinkedIn to significantly reduce the impact of the post’s engagement.