The first step to find investors on LinkedIn is to start with your own LinkedIn profile. When you connect with investors on LinkedIn, you can almost guarantee that they’ll view your LinkedIn profile before they accept your connection request. Any potential connection will want to learn who you are and how connecting with you would be useful to them. Be sure to include verbiage in your LinkedIn profile that explains you’re looking for investors, and describe your project or business.
Also, use keywords that investors would use to search for investment opportunities such as “startup” or “venture capital.” By adding these keywords to your LinkedIn profile, you increase the chances that your profile will display in related searches. This gives you a great opportunity to get in front of investors using keywords they’re already familiar with.
Make sure you stay active on LinkedIn to keep your profile fresh and to demonstrate that you’re committed to networking, learning, and sharing. A profile with no activity is far less attractive to a potential investor than an extremely active profile that tells a complete story.
Search for People
Once your profile is ready, start searching for investors on LinkedIn. Simply type a keyword like “investors” into the search bar in the top right of your screen (when you’re logged into your LinkedIn account), select “People” from the search options drop-down list, and browse through the results. From the advanced people search screen, you can narrow your results by company, location, and more.
LinkedIn members who match your search criteria are listed as either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree connections to you (meaning you’re connected directly to them or through one of your mutual LinkedIn connections). Browse through the list, review the member profiles, and send connection requests to members that you’d like to connect with.
If you can’t connect directly to a person because you don’t have a history that enables you to do so, ask a mutual connection to introduce you. If you have no mutual connections, you can send a connection request using InMail (depending on the type of account you have, you might have to pay to send an InMail).
Search for and Join Groups
Groups are very popular on LinkedIn, and you can search for groups the same way that you search for people. Just be sure to choose “Groups” from the drop-down menu next to the search box. You can narrow your results using the advanced search page, and look for groups related to angel investors, venture capital, start-up funding, and so on. Also, look at the groups your LinkedIn connections belong to. This is a great way to find relevant groups.
When you find interesting groups that are open to the public to join, don’t hesitate to join them. You can belong to 50 groups with a free LinkedIn account. The value of LinkedIn groups comes not just from the conversations and networking that happen between members, but also by increasing your ability to connect to people on LinkedIn. You can connect with and send LinkedIn messages to all group members when you join a group.
Take some time to participate in relevant groups, listen to the conversations happening, and get to know key investors. Connect with those people and work to build relationships with them. If a group isn’t helpful, leave it and look for another. Some groups also include subgroups for more focused networking and conversations, so don’t forget to investigate those, too.
Use LinkedIn Answers
Using LinkedIn Answers, you can ask questions about funding that investors can answer. When you receive an answer to a question you ask on LinkedIn Answers, review the member’s profile, and send a connection request to them. It’s a great way to establish a relationship with potential investors!
You can also conduct searches on LinkedIn Answers. It’s very likely that another LinkedIn member has already asked a question like yours. Search for questions that investors would answer and browse through the answers provided. When you find an answer that is beneficial to you, investigate the member’s profile who provided that answer and connect with that person.
Your overall objective on LinkedIn should always be to connect with people who can help you learn and meet your goals.
Have you found investors on LinkedIn? Tell us how you did it by leaving a comment below.
Susan Gunelius: Susan Gunelius is a 20-year marketing veteran and President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She has authored nine books about social media, content marketing, branding, copywriting, and blogging, and she is a marketing columnist for Forbes.com and Entrepreneur.com. Susan speaks about marketing, branding, and social media at events around the world and is often interviewed about marketing topics by television, online, print, and radio media organizations.