How to Attract Corporate Sponsors Using Social Media

Heather Satterfield Heather Satterfield, Marketing Manager

One of the best ways to raise money for your business or organization is by getting corporate sponsors. Many large corporations are seeking smaller businesses, non-profits and organizations to invest in. They may want to do this for a variety of reasons. If it’s a charity or cause, provides the corporation with good publicity. If it’s a business, it lets them get in on the ground floor of potentially profitable endeavor.

If you want to attract corporate sponsors, social media provides you with many useful tools for doing so. Twitter and LinkedIn are especially useful for this purpose. Let’s see how you can use these and other social media sites in your quest for sponsors.

Develop Your Own Platforms

Before you can even begin to attract corporate sponsors, you should make sure you’re ready. In addition to having a great proposal, you also need your own strong online presence, especially on social media platforms. When you contact potential sponsors, one of the first things they’re going to do is look up your website and social media pages. If you’ve contacted someone on Twitter and you only have 20 Twitter followers, you aren’t going to make the best impression.

You want to build a growing and organic social media presence on your chosen platforms. The way you do this will depend on the nature of your business and industry. If video is one of your specialties, it’s always impressive to have a popular YouTube channel. Having lots of engaged followers on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn also helps. It’s about more than numbers, though. Everyone knows nowadays that anyone can buy Twitter followers or Facebook likes. You need to make the effort to attract engaged, long-term social media followers. This will put you in a much more powerful position when it comes to getting sponsors.

Locating Potential Sponsors

Most of your potential sponsors will be on multiple social networks. It’s therefore best to connect with them in as many ways as possible. There’s no one “best” site for connecting, as it really depends on the habits and preferences of the people with whom your trying to connect. Some people are more active on Twitter, others on Facebook or LinkedIn.

You need to connect with individuals, not merely businesses. It’s therefore not enough to like or follow the business pages of companies. After identifying as many companies in your niche as possible, you’ll want to identify specific people in that organization. This includes not only the owner, CEO or CFO of a company, but any influential people with whom you might connect.

Since it doesn’t take any time or money to follow people, you should seek to connect with as many people in a company that interests you as possible. All you need is to develop a relationship with one key person in the company. And developing relationships is the crucial concept here.

Focus on Developing Relationships

Sending someone you just met a message such as “please sponsor my business” is most likely not going to work. You need to develop relationships with people. This may sound like a long and drawn out process, but keep in mind that the world of social media operates at lightening speed. You can exchange multiple messages with someone over the course of a few days.

Here are a few tips for developing relationships with key people in corporations.

  • Show a genuine interest in their activities. When you message someone, it’s good to refer to an article, blog post, video or talk they’ve given. Refer to something specific so they know you’re paying attention.
  • Share their content. This includes retweeting, sharing Facebook posts and otherwise linking to their content. You can do this on your own social media pages, your blog or anywhere you’re active online.
  • Connect with as many influencers in your industry as possible. This goes beyond companies you think might sponsor you. The more relationships you have, the better your chances of finding the right sponsor. Having strategic alliances enhances your status and it also gives you access to people who know people in the companies you do want to approach.

How to Request Sponsorships

If you’re confident you have a great proposal, you can contact people you’ve just met online. The above suggestion to first establish some kind of relationship is usually best to follow, though. Either way, you have to be careful how you word your request.

  • Ask for a meeting, phone call or Skype session. You aren’t going to secure a sponsorship via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn message or email. Your goal using such platforms is to open the door to a real conversation. You should create a compelling pitch that makes them curious enough to at least listen to your proposal.
  • Make sure you emphasize the benefit to their company. it’s obvious that you’re going to be getting something from this partnership. But it’s up to you to show them how it will benefit them.
  • Contact lots of people. Don’t get overly attached to the idea of getting a particular sponsor. You may have to contact hundreds or even thousands of people in many companies before you find the right match.
  • Send a powerful sponsorship letter. This is a letter that outlines the benefits to both you and your sponsor. You can start with a template and adjust it to specific companies. It’s best to send this letter once you have an existing relationship with the prospect.

Using social media to attract corporate sponsors is a powerful strategy. You don’t have to limit yourself to social media. You should also utilize email and offline tactics. With so many business owners and executives active on social media, however, you should definitely not overlook this method of finding sponsors.

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