Tag Archives: social media for middle market advisors

How to use online content marketing to increase Middle-Market deal flow

Sophisticated content about the details of the Midmarket deal making process will generate more deal flow for Middle Market advisors, according to a webinar conducted by John Carvalho, President of Divestopedia and Stone Oak Capital Inc.

The webinar, entitled The Changing World of Private Equity Deal Sourcing, notes how the Middle market deal space is extremely crowded, but that great deal sourcing practices can significantly help middle market advisors source more deals.  

Online publishing complements traditional deal flow efforts

Notably, Carvalho details the tremendous cost and effort some Mid-Market advisors are currently making to source good deals.  In some cases, this deal sourcing requires travel of up to 30 weeks a year, with spends of between $450,000 to 1 million annually.

He explains how an online strategy would make these efforts more efficient and less costly.  A sophisticated online effort that strengthens your firm’s brand awareness would sit beside other sophisticated deal flow initiatives, including a carefully defined deal focus, more interaction with M&A intermediaries, and increased targeting of companies that might sell. Importantly, Carvalho explains that if more relevant and high quality deal flow finds you from this online effort, it’s succeeding.  

Carvalho also cites industry thought leader on the subject, David Teten, who has identified 5 best practices to generating more deal flow, which are the establishment of a specialised outbound origination program, via the deployment of a dedicated business development professional, creating opportunities instead of waiting for them, targeting companies that are flashing deal signals, installing a CRM system, and leveraging social media. Also important to note: Another industry leader in advocating social media use by Mid-Market advisors, Axial, in a survey of their members, found that 89% of CEOs research potential contacts online before doing anything else.

There’s scepticism about social media in the Middle Market, but it does work

Carvalho notes that there’s a lot of scepticism about social media among Mid-Market advisors, hence they’ve been slow adaptors. He explains that there’s a perception that deal flow found online may be low quality. And that Middle-Market dealmaking is seen as a relationship business, which social media will never replace.  Efficiencies can, however, be achieved, as Carvalho explains, by initiating connections online that become conduits to deals.

As a counter to the scepticism about social media, Carvalho notes that social media should be seen simply as a distribution channel to increase outreach. He cites in particular how:

  • Social media savvy Millennials already in corporate decision-making positions are increasingly turning to social media to find Middle-Market advisors  
  • Indirect online-generated relationships can be a significant source of deal opportunities.  
  • Educational content can build brand and build investment leads.  
  • Among the top reasons companies select a Middle-Market advisor is brand recognition and the firm’s demonstrated expertise (which online content marketing can amplify).
  • The Riverside Companies have said their brand recognition helps bring in more deals.

Designing a middle market focused social media strategy

Carvalho details how there should be 4 goals for an online social media strategy for a Middle-Market advisor: Build Brand; Drive Traffic; Demonstrate Expertise; and Generate Leads.

What type of content?

There’s an appetite from the C-Suite to learn more about the deal process. The most successful forms of content involve digging deeper into topics and issues for business owners to know about before doing transactions – things beyond the superficial. Middle-Market advisory firms, therefore, can create content from their experience in dealmaking, Carvalho explains. Case studies, videos, and articles about the process can be created from this experience. But most firms don’t have staff able to do this, he details (this is where firms can work with a social media savvy writer with knowledge of the Middle Market, to help them develop and distribute content)

Which distribution channels?

Deal sourcing platforms, your firm website, third party publications, and social media sites including LinkedIn and Twitter (the two prime sources for promoting midmarket content, with YouTube becoming more popular) are ideal as distribution channels for your online content, Carvalho detailed. He also suggests the possibility of using sites not often used by mid-market advisors as a means by which to generate even more exposure.  In a workplace increasingly composed of millenials (35% of the workforce by 2020), expanding the scope of your sophisticated online presence is an important long-term strategy to consider for expanding deal flow

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click here for more information or to arrange a discussion.

Leveraging Social Media for More Deal Flow: 10 Resources for Middle Market Advisors

The National Center for the Middle Market details in an article by Dorie Clark, that “social media is a powerful sales and marketing tool [for Middle Market Advisors], but it’s important to recognize you’re playing the long game.”  

Clark cites the advice of Bryan Kramer, CEO of Silicon Valley-based digital agency Pure Matter, who recommends looking at every relationship on social media as long term, utilizing a focused effort on the social channels where your clients will be active, while also delivering thought leadership you produce to them via those channels – then only selling your services when the time is right.

Middle Market advisors may ask, however, which social media channels should they utilize for their unique businesses? As well, what sort of thought leadership should they produce, and with what frequency?  And finally, who can help them do this effectively so the efforts lead to more deal flow?

To help answer these (and more) questions Middle Market advisors might have about how they might effectively adopt social media as a means by which to generate more deal flow, I’ve compiled a list of 10 articles I’ve produced on a variety of social media subjects for Middle Market Advisors.  Here’s a list of them in chronological order, with an excerpt from each that provides an overview of the subject each article covers:

  1. How investment bankers can find needle-in-the-haystack deals, By John Grimley, LinkedIn Pulse, July 26, 2014. “Middle-market focused investment bankers are well-positioned to secure new deal flow in highly specialized niche-areas by blogging. Whether it’s based on the geography, revenue, sector or ownership structure of the companies you serve – or the market niche you’ve carved out in your financial services business.”
  2. Why investment bankers should be blogging, By John Grimley, LinkedIn Pulse, August 4, 2014. “The importance of social media in the decision making process of senior corporate management teams is increasing rapidly. Compared to the costs associated with traditional referral methods used to generate proprietary deal flow, it is likely that a blog will generate more proprietary deal flow at significantly less cost.”
  3. International opportunity dawns for boutique investment banks, By John Grimley, LinkedIn Pulse, August 9, 2014. “Boutique investment bankers seeking cross-border deal flow in an increasingly global marketplace need to transcend traditional deal origination methods characterized by in-person networking and become active on social media – in particular, blogging – in order to most effectively reach sources of deal flow across the globe on a 24/7 basis.”
  4. Social Media: An Overlooked Business Development Tool, By John Grimley, Axial Forum, September 3, 2014. “Mid-market deal professionals, from private equity professionals to investment bankers, often face the challenge of being perceived as simply a vendor to mid-market C-Suite executives – their services indistinguishable from their competitors.­ However, social media is increasingly becoming a tool to help overcome this misconception.”
  5. Do You Need Social Media to Secure More Deal Flow?, By John Grimley, Axial Forum, January 20, 2015. “Strictly speaking, no middle-market advisor must use social media. Traditional in-person networking has, and will continue to have, a fundamental role in middle market dealmaking. But in an age where the internet is increasingly becoming the means of communication (Twitter alone has 284 million active users) — if you’re not using social media to source deals and nurture relationships, you are likely missing out on some opportunity.”
  6. Why Private Equity Firms Should Publish, By John Grimley, Axial Forum, June 15, 2015. “As Forbes magazine recently outlined, the US economy is now the number one focus for foreign private equity investors seeking a global safe haven.  But what they’ll find here, as Forbes explains, is “more capital in the hands of a growing number of PE funds chasing too few good assets..”
  7. How Content Marketing Can Help Portfolio Companies Grow, By John Grimley, Axial Forum, September 8, 2015. “To outperform their rivals, private equity firms will need to enhance their ability to spur organic growth in the companies they own,”.  Content Marketing can be a part of generating that organic growth.”
  8. Why Deal Professionals Should Emulate Business Insider, By John Grimley, Axial Forum, December 2, 2015. “Midmarket deal professionals can learn something from the recent acquisition of online digital news magazine Business Insider by European publishing company Axel Springer: Online publishing is something you should be embracing.”
  9. How to Combine Social Media and Traditional Deal Sourcing for Maximum Results, By John Grimley, Axia Forum, May 10, 2016. “Combining traditional deal flow sourcing with social media and content marketing can help middle market dealmakers more effectively connect to key audiences, including C-suite executives”
  10. How private equity can generate more deal flow in the Asia-Pacific region, By John Grimley, LinkedIn Pulse, November 25, 2016. “A new Bain report details how Asia-Pacific region economic uncertainty and fierce competition for deals means that private equity funds in Asia — currently holding much unspent capital — will have to work harder and in a more disciplined fashion to find attractive companies.”

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click here for more information or to arrange a discussion.

9 ways to use social media to promote business events

Social media can be used very effectively to promote business events.  Even if your firm or organization hasn’t yet utilized social media to promote events — here’s an inspirational story:  One very high-profile business organization has successfully gone from opposing the use of social media to promote its’ events — to enthusiastically embracing the use of social media: The World Economic Forum (WEF).

As the BBC reported in 2016 — in the past few years – WEF has gone from opposition to social media use – to a highly active and successful example of its’ best use.  As many will know, WEF’s annual meeting occurs in Davos’, Switzerland.  Attended by many prominent business and political leaders from around the world — in the last few years the organization has been superb at promoting this event using social media.  I wrote in more detail about those efforts here – and emulate them in another blog and social media channels I publish here.

As the BBC details: “In the past couple of years, the World Economic Forum’s social media operation has come into its own. A decade or so ago, sharing what was going on at the WEF’s meetings was verboten, but opposition to using social media as a communication tool at Davos has changed in a big way.”

WEF’s social media team in action

As the BBC explains, WEF now has a social media desk staffed by two professionals who search for what is being shared or provoking online discussion.  They then repost or repackage this content in a way tailored to reach a broader audience.  When WEF conducts its’ annual meeting at Davos, the WEF social media team live-tweets the event — often adding original posts focused on its’ followers on its’ widely followed social media channels.  In addition to Twitter, Facebook and it’s own blog — WEF also utilizes Weibo, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat.

Mike Hanley, Head of Digital Communications for WEF () told the BBC that these outreach efforts are intended to harness the power of social media to amplify the conversations at Davos: “It helps us emphasize the importance and complexity of the issues that our participants are discussing, it helps us make those issues understandable, and it helps us bring the voice of the general public into our proceedings.”

How can your organization emulate WEF’s social media success?

Social Media-focused blog Tint has published an excellent article about how you can promote events via the use of social media.  Below I’ve distilled that post into 9 basic tips for promoting business events via social media:

  1. Create a short Twitter hashtag for your event and use it often — It can markedly increase awareness, participation and attendance for your event.
  2. Be proactive with your Twitter hashtag — “Promote it everywhere including your event website, dedicated emails, social networks, and the event’s mobile app. The hashtag is a great way for your attendees to engage with the event content, speakers, and each other. You’ll be able to watch what is trending around your event in real-time and get relevant feedback in the process.”
  3. Promote your event as early as possible — “The earlier you promote the event and dedicated hashtag, the greater your chances are for success. Promote early to create momentum and reach a larger audience.  Social media is an ideal channel for initiating conversations.”
  4. Create enthusiasm before the event — which in turn will encourage others to promote the event.  “Reach out to attendees, speakers, and prospective conference-goers to get them excited about the event.”  Share other related content about the event, e.g. blogposts by influencers, news reports, social posts by those interested in the event.
  5. Leverage Thoughts Leaders — “Using social correctly can help your attendees to become your biggest promoters. Encourage attendees to leverage their social networks to help spread the word. Create mutually beneficial relationships with industry and thought leaders by sharing their updates and engaging them in conversation online. They already have loyal fans and are admired in their industry.”
  6. Encourage event speakers to promote the event. It’s helpful for them to promote conferences where they’ll be speaking.
  7. Engage guests before the event — Here you might publish and promote shareable content with interesting facts, discounts or other creative efforts.
  8. Use All Your Social Channels – Or Create a Dedicated Event Channel — “Create a LinkedIn group and a Facebook page for your event. Post topics including activities, photos, sponsors, special guests, speakers, agenda info, and anything else that is relevant for the conference. Organically growing an attendee community on these networks means higher shareability for your event”.
  9. Follow Back — “Engage with and reward attendees [and dedicated social followers] who are regularly promoting and mentioning your events on social media and encourage two-way communication.”

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click here for more information or to arrange a discussion.

Why it’s important for professional services firms to develop thought leadership

Companies are turning to online sources of information when seeking to be educated buyers of consulting services, according to an article by Braden Kelley.  It is vital, therefore, as Mark Clemente details, for firms to seek to maintain a sophisticated online presence.

Power has shifted to the buyers of professional services

The reasons for this, as Kelley detailed, are rooted in how the internet has changed the relationship between professional services firms and their corporate clients.  He explains that in the past — information “was scarce and external knowledge was valued by the client.”  But now as information is so readily available — corporate buyers of professional services are – via their own research — amassing data and information once held by their professional advisors.

Companies have, therefore, “become less open to being sold consulting services and instead more focused on becoming buyers of consulting services”.

Thought leadership requires commitment and discipline

But as Kelley details — professional services firms are “struggling to identify and provide the content necessary to help them maintain (and possibly extend) their success in this new environment.”  He argues that professional services firm tend to under-invest in thought leadership and consequently become vulnerable to competitors who do — missing out, therefore, on the revenue that would have resulted had that thought leadership been cultivated.

He argues that the value of thought leadership and those capable of creating it and facilitating the execution of a content marketing strategy — cannot be underestimated.  And specifically — to do it well — as Carter Hostelley details — “treat your blog like it’s important” – “think like a publisher” – “make it about your target audience” – “blog often but keep quality high” — and “get other experts to contribute”.

Sophisticated thought leadership distinguishes professional services firms

With this information in mind, professional services firms can seek to distinguish themselves in a crowded marketplace of competitors by a commitment to carefully cultivating the best thought leadership posture they can.

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click here for more information or to arrange a discussion.

How to find an excellent content writer

An article by Chris Warden on JeffBullas.com succinctly details what to look for in a great content writer.  As Warden details: “In an age where content is the new gold standard of web-related and social media marketing; it’s time to start producing great content or find someone who can.”

He explains that great writers are capable of creating content which is informative enough to lead customers or clients to take a desired action.  And that while anyone might have the ability to write, not everyone is a good writer.  Warden argues that if you’re not confident in your writing ability — or I would add – don’t have the time to produce excellent content — then it’s time to find a great writer to help you do so.

Warden details 5 key attributes to look for in a writer who can be trusted to consistently produce great content:

  1. Commitment to meeting deadlines 

Deadlines are about as important as the content itself.   Professional writers know this and always produce content in a timely fashion.

2. Ability to articulate your message in writing

Great writers have the ability to craft distinctive written messages capable of articulating the unique story of each client.

3. Adaptability

In today’s digital world – written communications take a variety of forms transmitted via a number of mediums.  Great writers are capable of understanding how to write for specific audiences and the specific mediums you’ll be utilizing

4. Ability to conduct effective research

What underpins good content and makes it meaningful is:  Good research.  Great writers are able to effectively research topics to help underpin your message with verifiable information of specific relevance to your unique audience.

5. Availability

A professional writer should be able to turn around even the most challenging content on short time frames.  Warden explains that: “This is one of the most profound arguments for hiring professional, full-time writers rather than hobbyists and those that use content as a means to derive a second form of income.”

Finding good writers isn’t easy

In the age of content marketing, finding and retaining a great writer isn’t easy – but producing client-focused superior content on a regular basis – requires it.

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click here for more information or to arrange a discussion.

Why changing buying behavior makes marketing with content more important

Use of the internet as a means to learn about purchasing options – has fundamentally changed the way those purchases are being made, as Jose Sanchez (@zesanchezr) wrote recently in Sales for Life (@MySales4Life). And these patterns apply across the whole of the economy, including the C-Suite.

B2B purchasers are relying on content

Sanchez cites statistics including a Forrester study that found that B2B buyers go through 90 percent of the buying process before speaking with a vendor.  And that “Eighty four percent of key decision makers” — [including] C-level executives — “use social media to support buying decisions.”

In this changed reality, Sanchez explains, “businesses get found through their content, not their traditional [sales] efforts. How good you are at creating and promoting high quality content will determine how much prospects know about you, your business, and products.”

“It doesn’t matter whether your buyers find you through a Google search or an article on their LinkedIn news feed”, he outlines, “to show up and stand out, you need content.”

So what content to produce?

“Delivering content in context isn’t a new trend for content marketers…it’s become an expectation” as Jon Henderson (@JHendyoutlined recently in uberflip (@uberflip).

“Context, relevance, theme”, Henderson continued, “whatever you want to call it, if you aren’t having meaningful conversations and serving up relevant experiences, you’re doing it wrong.”  When talking with your audience,” he explains, “whatever the situation, you need to think about what’s next.”

The net result in the change in the economy and buying behavior, therefore, doesn’t just mean content needs to be produced and integrated into the sales process.  It also needs to be well researched and well written — as it will be published into an ocean of competitive content for what is likely to be increasingly discerning audiences going forward.

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click herefor more information or to arrange a discussion.