In a very strong sense of the word, crowdfunding is a type of social media – in that it involves people sharing ideas and supporting each other’s ideas. However, just creating a crowdfunding campaign on a platform – even one of the big, well known platforms such as Indiegogo or Kickstarter – is rarely enough to reach enough people to gain a response that will achieve significant goals.
One of the reasons that crowdfunding experts recommend starting preparations for a crowdfunding campaign at least six months before going live is so that you can develop a social media following. This means putting in some legwork to develop your social media communication feeds, such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest. These need to be separate from your personal accounts – the ones where you post pictures of the kids or your friends at your day job. Your social media sites for your crowdfunding campaign need to focus on the goal selected for the campaign. For example, if you have created amazing jewelry from recyclables, then you will need social media sites that focus on the items you are creating. You might post to your Facebook page things like, “Today experimented with rolled paper earrings. Found that glossy magazines – which are not as recyclable as newsprint – make gorgeous earrings.” You would accompany the words with a picture of the earrings. For those of you who are wondering, this is a valid craft, and glossy magazine pages do make lovely rolled-paper craft resources. You might tweet #lovely earrings and say something like, “Check out my latest.” And give the Facebook post address. At the same time, you could add a full page display to Pinterest, and add “Creative Artist” to your Linkedin professional page.
As you go along, during the six months when you are busily developing rewards to offer those who pledge to your crowdfunding campaign, you can begin developing backlinks with interested parties – such as businesses that might be willing to sell your wares, potential customers or even other creative artists. Backlinks are very simple to create, but require a certain amount of diplomacy. For example, it is considered rude to include a backlink in a comment on someone else’s page, unless you have permission from the website owner. It is also courteous to ask permission before using material or pictures from a website. Furthermore, gaining permission protects you from copyright infringement – something that can have repercussions, including a civil lawsuit if the website owner chooses to pursue the matter.
If you ask permission, many website owners will post a link to your website – and that doubles your potential exposure, particularly if they have an active social media base.
You will need a much larger social media base than the number of people from whom you will need pledges. This is because most of the people who read about your campaign won’t even take the time to go look at it. Others will look at the campaign, and might even post a link on their social media, but they will not contribute. Less than one third of your social media contacts are likely to actually pledge monetary support to your project. Doing the simple math, that means that you want to have at least three times the number of people from whom you will need contributions in your social media contact list.
Unfortunately, the simple math is only part of the picture. Some ideas seem timely, but just don’t take off. Others, and these can be the craziest things, catch the current Internet viewers’ attention and your campaign can become the latest, greatest thing on the Internet. If it catches the imaginations of your viewers, if it is brilliant, beautiful or endorses an important social concept, the messages on social media can start blazing out across the Ethernet at amazing speed.
Once you achieve even a modest amount of excitement, you can keep it going by posting updates to your websites. These can include thank you shout-outs for donors who want their name to be known – “A huge thank you goes to Mary White, for her recent contribution”, to new developments in your product or business, such as: “Took 150 earring samples to local arts and crafts festival. Sold them all!” or “First product productions rolled off the line today. My team will start packing boxes tomorrow – watch for yours in the mail.”
Social media messages going out to the audience you have developed can keep the excitement of your crowdfunding campaign going throughout the four – eight weeks you run your campaign. Although some platforms allow for longer running times, experienced crowdfunders indicate that putting a time limit on contributions helps to move the campaign along.
You can find more crowdfunding tips and examples of how to develop your crowdfunding campaign on Best Crowdfunding Websites. If you have questions or need help, SMT Agency has the trained staff that will be able to assist with articles and press releases featuring your crowdfunding campaign, and with ideas about how to drive your social media coverage of your crowdfunding event.