Category Archives: Social Media

Using News Cycles to Promote Your Business With Social Media

Football fans from coast to coast will soon converge on Phoenix to watch the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots vie in the biggest game of the year. Whether they attend the game or watch from their living rooms, did you know that more than 110 million people are expected to watch this year?

While you may have planned what to serve for your big party, have you thought how to capitalize on this national pastime for your business? Here’s some food for thought.

This bowl game is a great example of a major news cycle event, and tying into major news cycle events can be a great way to promote your business. Almost everyone has heard about the multi-millions of dollars big corporations shell out to air ads during the big game to promote their brands, but many companies and even individuals have made waves in different (and less expensive!) ways. Social media is a great way to promote your company as it is inexpensive and far reaching.

Last year, JC Penney got some attention for their “Tweeting with Mittens” campaign during the big game – playing off of the cold weather in New Jersey. Not nearly as much attention as Kohl’s did, though, by responding to JC Penney’s tweets and referring them to leather texting gloves on the Kohl’s website. Cost to Kohl’s? Nothing beyond paying an employee or social media company to tweet for them.

Let’s take a time-out to review:

  1. Pay attention to what your competitors are doing
  2. Tie in to major news cycle events

Another stand-out last year? The woman in the pantsuit – Hillary Clinton. During the game, she famously tweeted, “It’s so much more fun to watch FOX when it’s someone else being blitzed & sacked!” Displaying a sense of humor and poking a little fun at herself (and perhaps at FOX) was a great way to seem down to earth and approachable. It’s a tough line to walk to gently poke fun at yourself/your brand and promote yourself/your brand at the same time, but done well, it can be marketing gold.

Time-out game review:

  1. Know how others perceive your business
  2. Know how you want others to perceive your business
  3. Look for opportunities to bridge the two

You have a lot of ways to score marketing points for your business, so whether it’s tapping into the Big Game hype or later news cycles, we hope these tips will help you think creatively and make your way to the end zone. Sure, we’ve only given you two plays to review, but you’ve got the ball now. What are you going to do with it? Your fans are rooting for you, and we’re with them!


Crowdfunding : A new panacea for early stage companies?

Facebook’s recent acquisition of Oculus VR for $2B, after raising $2.4M on Kickstarter without giving away any equity, makes Crowdfunding look like a no brainer for any new company. Indeed, many entrepreneurs see these high profile examples of successful crowdfunding and think it will be easy for them to avoid raising an equity round or to demonstrate market validation to future investors.  However, according to Grandpoint’s SVP and Director of Technology and Venture Banking Petra Griffith, “Crowdfunding is not a panacea to fundraising – it’s hard work and much more akin to traditional fundraising than people might think.”

If you think crowdfunding might be a good tool for you, here are some tips to consider:

  • Build your brand and social media presence and have a core of dedicated followers before you begin a crowdfunding campaign.  “Think of a crowdfunding site as more of a transaction platform than a brand-building platform…Start with who you know. With early stage companies, people invest in people as much as the product. Take stock of all your relationships, from family and friends to your business and social networks, online and offline. Alumni groups are great sources of support, for example.”
  • Plan to have 30 percent of your funding lined up before you start your campaign, and work all your sources and contacts to keep the interest alive. “You want potential investors to see momentum, and not meeting your goal is the kiss of death.  Your campaign has to have traction,” cautions Petra. “Keep the discussion going through blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social media as well as traditional channels such as public relations, email, phone calls and good old-fashioned personal contact.”
  • Don’t expect to raise millions of dollars through crowdfunding, although it can happen; it’s typically a source for small amounts of investment, and best suited for early stage companies with both a compelling product – especially consumer products – and message.


Grandpoint partners with Crowdfunder as part of Social Media Week LA

Recently, entrepreneurs and investors gathered in Santa Monica to participate in Social Media Week Los Angelesscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am Business and Entrepreneurship Day. Crowdfunder, a crowdfunding platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors, hosted a panel discussion on “Angels, VCs, Crowdfunding, and the Future of Investing.”screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am Grandpoint Bank’s Senior VP & Director of Startup Banking, Petra Griffith,screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am was among the panelists giving her perspective on startups and investors in LA.

Pulling from her experience at two Bay Area start-ups and as a senior product manager at Yahoo!, Petra discussed the difference between LA and the Bay Area. “The LA ecosystem is maturing, with more capital entering the LA market,” Petra observes. “We still need to see more established companies and more large exits before we can say we have a mature ecosystem, but we are definitely in a flourishing phase. We are seeing so many exciting startups in LA, and there are so many more resources available than there used to be. It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur.”

Following the panel discussion, Petra was asked to judge the CrowdfundxLA Fall 2013 Startup Competitionscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am, alongside other judges including Jonathan Teo from General Catalyst and Brian Garrett from Crosscut Ventures.  During the live competition, 10 startups chosen by investors and the Social Media Week crowd presented their ideas in five-minute pitches, competing for a possible $100,000 prize from LaunchPad LAscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am. “There was so much energy in the room and a very supportive audience,” Petra recalls. “It was such fun to be a part of the competition and to be inspired by the contestants. It wasn’t easy to choose a standout.” Grandpoint hosted a reception after the event for the judges and panelists to help keep the conversations going.

Grandpoint’s work with startups was reviewed in a Social Media Week blog postscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am during the event.


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