Social Media ≠ Sales Strategy
In my last newsletter I talked about the power women have leveraging social media to effect positive change. Founders, especially of consumer-facing brands, can benefit from its use in a business context, leveraging its peer-to-peer sharing among their fans. But here’s where I’ve noticed it can hurt some founders; I call it the problem of “substitution delusion.” This is when founders spend way too much time and energy putting themselves out there as ‘influencers’ on social media and the event circuit, operating under a misguided notion that this substitutes for a sales strategy.
In their pursuit of “likes” and “followers”, I’ve seen some founders confuse the size of their social media footprint with more fundamental metrics of their business, such as sales. They may even be deluding themselves into thinking that PR equals sales, a startling fantasy. In my 19 years of angel investing, I’ve rarely seen PR create top line success; it can support sales by driving positive momentum but usually that comes after a lot of very smart business decisions have been made as part of a comprehensive sales/user growth strategy.
If we look at Jessica Alba’s success, whose Honest Co. is in talks with Unilever about being acquired for a $1Bn, we would see that even more impressive than her 9Mn Twitter followers is her $300M in annual revenues after five years of being in business.
Getting others to believe in your idea is essential to success. Using social media and PR are important tools for achieving that goal, but they should not come at the expense of your primary goal, strategically building long-term, sustainable growth.
What does a venture investor with operating experience look for in the entrepreneurs she funds? Kara Nortman, a VC partner at LA-based Upfront Ventures, shares some inside baseball with BroadMic host, Kelly Hoey. Nortman, a former co-founder of Seedling, a family activities startup, claims her previous experience as a founder has improved her ability to support founders as a VC investor.
What is Inspiring Us This Week
Upcoming Guests & Events
- 9/28 – SheWorx Breakfast with Sara Weinheimer
- 9/29 – Aileen Gemma Smith, Co-Founder Vizalytics Technology