Why Social Marketing Matters in the Private Equity Sector

Asset managers who ignore social forums - whether LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, or Facebook - do so at their own peril. Here's why:

First and foremost, the nature of how people communicate is changing. Let me re-phrase that, has changed. There is no single overriding way in which people communicate any more. In the old days, people wrote letters. This evolved to the telephone. Prior to receiving 500+ messages a day, email was extremely effective as well. Today people text, call, email, tweet, post, blog, IM, and more. Information at you in short snippets from a variety of different sources, all the time. 

There is also the misconception in the PE space that social forums are trivial entertainment media where nothing of consequence occurs. This is akin to saying that you don’t need to learn the alphabet to write. Social forums are quickly becoming the primary form of communication between people. If you're not connected into this loop, you're going to start to miss out on deals, new introductions, access to capital, liquidity opportunities, new hires and, most importantly, timely information. If you disagree with me, I wish you the best in your retirement.

How then should you tackle this beast? Number one, understand that you need to join more than one network. As soon as a social network becomes really big (Facebook being a great example), commercialization of that network begins to cannibalize its credibility and effectiveness, and a new lighter, faster “cooler” network comes to life. Personally, I think LinkedIn is about to hit a wall. Why? Because it's actually a very effective network for professionals: it's only a matter of time before they (read: we) ruin it. My advice, join the majors: LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, yes even Facebook, but also align with smaller fringe networks that seem applicable. It is a new business term, but in doing so you are mitigating your social risk. That will eventually become very important in any sector.

Taking part in social forums is analogous to driving a car: once you know how to drive one, you can pretty much hop into any other car and be OK.

However, at some point you need to learn to drive. If you take anything away from this article, that should be it. The second reason why you want to be socially engaged, it will make the transition to whatever happens next a hell of a lot easier.

By Kyle Dunn