Capital. You’re no stranger to the word, but chances are, you’re only thinking about it in terms of funding your business. There’s another type of capital—social capital—and it’s vital if you want to increase brand awareness, gain authority as an expert, and fuel a profitable business.
Unfamiliar with social capital? You’re not alone; it’s a relatively new term. However, the concept is not. You may even have tons of social capital and not realize it.
The reality is that it’s incredibly under-utilized by fund managers, and you likely have plenty of room to grow.
WHAT IS SOCIAL CAPITAL?
In its purest form, social capital is the power of people you connect with, wherever they are.
Back in the day, before the Internet (ahh, good times), building social capital was a very localized activity. We’re talking face-to-face meetings and lots of phone calls.
In-person relationship-building is still essential today, but travel and scheduling can make it challenging to keep up with. Luckily, modern marketing provides us the whole entire World Wide Web to broaden our networks.
Social capital is the result of the connections you’re out there cultivating. Don’t get it twisted, though—this isn’t just a woo-woo, feel-good theory that pays you in smiles and rainbows.
Through authentic exchanges, sharing ideas, and helping others, you foster trust, build your reputation, and fuel collaboration. And what do those things often lead to? Profit.
3 of the Most Valuable Mediums for Building Social Capital
You meet someone for the first time—online or IRL—and then you go on your merry way. What do you think happens next?
Yep, they’re gonna Google you.
There’s no way around it. It’s happening.
What will they find when they search? Do those results build authority and social capital long after you’ve left the room?
In our experience, certain mediums have proven more valuable than others for social capital. Here are three places you’re likely to get the best ROI:
1. Social media.
Specifically, LinkedIn (unless your niche is super active on another platform as well, like Instagram). Be vulnerable. Be honest. Be yourself. Bonding over shared experiences paves the way for authentic connections.
Those first few weeks and months of posting on LinkedIn can be silent and scary, and you’ll probably feel like you’re shouting into the void. But you have to show up and engage to get that social capital. Real social media is engaging—not just posting, checking it off the ol’ to-do list, and walking away to get a snack. You will usually find more value—especially in the beginning—by leaving articulate, thoughtful comments on other peoples’ posts.
Let’s be clear: Having your own podcast is a lot of work. If you have zero experience with podcasting, this may be not the best route for you right now. Being a podcast guest, though? A prime opportunity to build social capital. You get the benefits of speaking to the pod’s established audience, connecting with new people, and getting your name out there as an expert.
For example, our founder, Stacy Havener, dipped her toe into the podcasting waters by being a guest on shows like Permission to Succeed, The Value Perspective, and Standard Deviations. After a while, she launched her own: Billion Dollar Backstory.
No one expects you to jump into podcasting like an old pro when you have zero experience. Slow and steady wins the race for social capital. (Honestly, it’s not even a race. There’s only one you. And that one unique you brings a whole lot to the table.)
Some people prefer written content, while others like to listen to podcasts. But don’t forget the group of more visual folks who love watching videos. By varying the types of content you’re putting out into the world, you will reach a wider audience simply because you’re meeting people where they are.
P.S.: You don’t need to get fancy and have a Scorsese-esque production budget. If you have something to say and think your network will find value, then go for it.
Like anything, the capital builds on itself. People who are not engaging with you are still watching—and sometimes, they show up seemingly out of nowhere and want to work with you. That’s the power of social capital.
How You Can Start Building Social Capital Today
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, go viral, or (gulp) create a new TikTok dance. Start simple and build from there.
Need a little guidance? Love a checklist with actionable steps? Here are some ways to start building your social capital right…now.
- Post on LinkedIn. Not a press release for your firm or stats about performance. Something that makes you a real person with a story your followers can connect to.
- Comment on LinkedIn. Choose five people on LinkedIn that you respect and admire. Maybe you already know them in person, or maybe they’re #goals. Comment on their most recent posts and be intentional with your words; add something to the conversation.
- Help someone. Do something for someone else without expecting anything in return. Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment. (We’re so passionate about this that it’s one of our company’s core values.) Good vibes multiply.
- Go through your inboxes. From Outlook to LinkedIn, go through those overflowing inboxes and find the messages you forgot to answer. You know, the ones you didn’t jump on because they didn’t have the ‼️urgent red exclamation point‼️ or present a clear money-making opportunity. Respond to as many people as possible—a simple, kind response can go a long way.
You've Got the Power (of Social Capital)
Social capital has real monetary value because it can be converted. The hard part? You might not see quantifiable results at first. Keep building, focus on creating authentic connections, and don’t stop believin’—you’ve got this.
It's time to stop sending PDF letters to prospects and investors and calling it your marketing strategy. We've got a free video filled with tips from our founder, Stacy Havener, that'll help you harness the power of social capital, personal brand, LinkedIn, and more.