99% of all Venture Capital websites are tributes to themselves.
The typical Venture Capital website is full of former investments, some good some bad. A virtual brochure and usually nothing more.
Not so with First Round Capital. Most corporations can take a page or two out of their social playbook. Some may need to borrow the entire guide.
It’s starts with their tagline: “First Round Capital is a seed stage fund dedicated to helping talented entrepreneurs build remarkable companies. Read More”. Music to any start-up CEO’s ears. And, if they practice what they preach, then they’ll rise above their peers.
A quick check of The Funded reveals the firm is well liked by prospective entrepreneurs but may be more difficult than others in securing favorable deal terms.
But for our purposes, let’s focus on what they are doing in social media that is relevant to you. With their new website, they’re basically saying we have nothing to hide and we want to connect with you.
To their competitors, they’ve upped the ante by widely disseminating their aggregated content front and center on their home page. Risky? Maybe, but the strategy is remarkable.
So, here are 5 reasons why you should emulate First Round Capital in their new social media strategy.
#1 Transparency: To most entrepreneurs, Venture Capital companies are a closed book and a case study on how not to do business. Not so with First Round Capital. They’ve turned the industry inside out by exposing everything. Portfolio company news, blogs, twitter streams and location information from FourSquare are all integrated into a master stream on their home page.
Question: Are you brave enough to do the same?
#2 Connect with prospective entrepreneurs: Imagine your a young start up CEO that’s grown up in the Facebook/Twitter culture. You run across this VC site then you click over to First Round Capital’s site.
Questions: Which is speaking to the young CEO with the billion dollar idea? Now do the same with your competitors. What have you learned?
#3 Make it easy to digest information about your company: First Round has made it extremely simple to follow all of their information via a single RSS feed. That allows their prospective customers to easily stay connected with First Round.
Questions: Have you done the same? Do you even have a blog?
#4 Stand out in a crowded field: Their new site will make them stand out amongst their competitors/peers. They will be perceived as innovators, creative and daring – in short remarkable.
Questions: Are bloggers & journalists writing about your social media strategy? Do they cite your website when they point to the best in class in your industry?
#5 Increase your brand equity: Your not in control of your brand anymore. You can influence it but it’s gone forever in the new age of the internet. Your brand is measured simply by the feeling or impression it gives your prospective customers. And, your website is the first brand impression they see in some cases. When I view First Round’s, I get the impression they are innovators, open, transparent and will promote my company. Exactly what I want in a Venture Capital firm.
Questions: Have you done a voice of the customer? Do you know how you are perceived by your current and prospective customers? What do they think of your web site?
How do I emulate First Round Capital’s site?
First you need to find a web team that has implemented similar solutions. Usually you’ll find activity streams being used internally at companies, rarely do you find them used by companies externally.
Then build a strategic plan but keep it short. It needs to be flexible. Make sure you understand the how and the why you want to connect with your current and prospective customers. Then implement, test, measure and tweak as you learn.
Furthermore, the more you rely on your website for your business, the more you need to connect with your customers on the home page. Above is a good start, but take some risks to find out how you best connect with your customers.
It’s worth being unique, it’s worth being remarkable, it does pay off.
(Cross-posted @ Seek Omega )