A major strength of using crowdfunding as your main source of fundraising is the capability of leveraging social media so as to generate extensive support for your project. Even though most pre-crowdfunding campaigns start with the people closest to the project’s creator, social media remains the best strategy for reaching beyond these immediate families and friends. In fact, it is an efficient method of reaching a broader network of people and informing them of your project in your pre-crowdfunding campaign.
It is very important to reach this broader network of potential financiers. Research shows that 30% of your initial funding will be sourced from people who know you, with most of these people hearing about the project online. This central network of people serves two important purposes: they share your campaign on their personal social networks (creating a broader seed audience for raising funds) and also assist your project to attain the first, important 20% funding level. According to Kickstarter, nearly 80% of crowdfunding projects that attain this critical milestone in funding later become successful.
Besides, social media can be a great tool for pre-crowdfunding with regards to how information is shared across several networks. One Facebook post can be shared to many News Feeds; likewise, one Tweet about your project can easily be retweeted numerous times. This viral nature of social media means that it is an especially cheap way of leveraging your current network and reaching out to other networks.
That said, social media must be managed and navigated with purpose and care if you are to use to enhance your pre-crowdfunding campaign. For example, by not clearly displaying your social links directly on your crowdfunding campaign page, then you may make it hard for your supporters to use their personal social networks to promote your campaign. Likewise, being overly aggressive in how you approach fundraising (e.g. posts about “Give me some money” that don’t contain any beneficial content) can even deter potential supporters.
Below are several tips on how you can use social media effectively to grow your audience or target market through social media and boost your pre-crowdfunding efforts.
It is very important that you create a clear social media plan before getting started with your pre-crowdfunding campaigns. This is the only way you will optimize the huge potential benefits linked to using social media for promoting your campaign.Find out more
Hootsuite is a very popular and effective social media tool for pre-crowdfunding. The website enables you to join all your social media networks and manage them from one place.Find out more
If you have an existing online community built around your professional and personal networks, start by leveraging that following. Likewise, if you are not on any social media network, start by getting connected and then build a realistic following before even thinking about launching your pre-crowdfunding campaign.Find out more
Avoid restricting yourself to your current business or personal networks. Instead, seek out more online networks that speak to the same subject or topic like your project. To achieve this, you can try posting to the relevant group pages on Facebook or using the appropriate Twitter hashtags.Find out more
There are many social media platforms available today from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Tumblr and LinkedIn among many others. Remember that different platforms will be best for different kinds of interactions.Find out more
1. Have an Effective Social Media Plan or Strategy
It is very important that you create a clear social media plan before getting started with your pre-crowdfunding campaigns. This is the only way you will optimize the huge potential benefits linked to using social media for promoting your campaign.
At a minimum level, an effective strategy for social media to assist with pre-crowdfunding must:
- Outline your present social media reach
- Identify your audience and the specific online communities
- Identify where and how to reach those target communities
- Clarify how your current social media initiatives will combine with other communication activities (i.e. media interviews, website posts, etc.)
- Outline a timetable and strategy for pre-crowdfunding activities on social media
- Summarise a strategy regarding how to access the resources you need to manage all social media activities linked to your pre-crowdfunding campaign successfullyMake Use of The Various Social
2. Media Related Tools to Fire Your Prelaunch Campaign Into Action
Here’s a good number of them that could come in handy any day.
Hootsuite is a very popular and effective social media tool for pre-crowdfunding. The website enables you to join all your social media networks and manage them from one place. You can effortlessly schedule all your messages simultaneously and use the analytics option to see which messages and networks are most effective.Benefits
- The analytics feature helps track the effectiveness of your social media activities
- You can schedule a pre-crowdfunding social media task a couple of weeks in advance
- You can share the account with your team members for better teamwork and information sharing
- It requires users to use the ow.ly URL shortener which can take up space when you want to write important messages
Like Hootsuite, Sprout Social is also great for pre-crowdfunding as it enables users to join up several social profiles. However, it is much more customizable and comes with a convenient feeds feature, which integrates feeds from your different social profiles on one page. You will not even need to visit the different social networks, just review the feeds and respond directly using Sprout Social.Benefits
- Feeds feature presents all your social profiles on one page
- Brand monitoring capability
- Integrates with the bit.ly URL shortener
- No free account
- More expensive at roughly $60 per month
It goes without saying that with a strategic pre-crowdfunding campaign, you can effectively collect a couple hundred of email followers. You can then use iContact.com to connect with your audience and generate enthusiasm. The tool is very easy to use and once you have uploaded your contacts you can start sending your first email within an hour.Benefits
- Schedule emails and auto-responders, which is important for pre-crowdfunding
- Different types of templates included from newsletters to coupon emails and so on
- Great technical support offered
- Integrates seamlessly with all your social media accounts
- Unlimited emails
- Cheap to use with monthly subscriptions starting at only $14
These three tools for effective social media management will make it easier to keep track of your pre-crowdfunding campaign. As a suggestion, use the free trial option first before committing to a paid subscription. Also, ensure you track your posts to ensure your pre-crowdfunding strategy is being enhanced.
3. Create a Strong Online Presence
If you have an existing online community built around your professional and personal networks, start by leveraging that following. Likewise, if you are not on any social media network, start by getting connected and then build a realistic following before even thinking about launching your pre-crowdfunding campaign.
Remember that creating social media accounts just a couple of days before launching your pre-crowdfunding campaign will not help in any way. You must strive to build a long-term relationship across all your networks so as to gain the trust and support from your collects. Try building the online community around yourself as the main force behind your project. When you focus on a narrow campaign (i.e. your product), then you will likely find it hard to keep attracting people to your networks, and you will also start losing the people who followed for other reasons.
Understand that people on social media are eager to share mutual interest information and engage with other people; they don’t want to feel like they are only solicited for money and support. So have it at the back of your mind that a successful pre-crowdfunding campaign is one that aims to create a strong online community not just for the buzz, but for building early momentum for the impending task as well.
And speaking of buzz, let’s talk about one of the most significant social media platforms as far as generating a sizable buzz goes – Twitter.
Signing up for Twitter might be free of charge, but the real tedious work lies in building a following. There are many Twitter tools that you can use to enhance your marketing, but most are either too bloated or do not achieve what you wanted them to do. This is the inspiration behind Crowd Builder, which is a well-managed service aimed at building an engaged and targeted audience on Twitter and simultaneously drive traffic towards your pre-crowdfunding campaign.
Crowd Builder enables you to easily target your specific audience using hashtags and search terms and then engaging with them. All through the day, the app searches Twitter for relevant tweets of your target audiences and then positively engages them. Users are not limited in the number of search terms to set up and also setting pre-determined actions when matching tweets are found. Some of the actions include to either favorite or retweet and also following the author.
Special filters are used to ensure that Crowd Builder only engages with reputable authors. Bot accounts, fake accounts, and any other low-quality authors are usually filtered out. Besides setting up what search terms to look out for, you can also indicate which ones to ignore. This is done through an account manager that helps optimize your growth strategy on Twitter.
Depending on how popular your hashtags and search terms are, and also the general appeal related to your Twitter account, expect between 2% and 10% of users to engage your tweets and follow you back. Anyone who does not follow you back in two days is automatically unfollowed.
Also, since Twitter accounts usually gain anywhere between 50 and 100 followers every day, using Crowd Builder for pre-crowdfunding could land you close to 4,500 users each month. Now, that’s worth talking about!
4. Try Reaching Beyond Your Current Networks
Avoid restricting yourself to your current business or personal networks. Instead, seek out more online networks that speak to the same subject or topic like your project. To achieve this, you can try posting to the relevant group pages on Facebook or using the appropriate Twitter hashtags.
These actions ensure that everyone outside your immediate network will see your posts. The more external links you generate to your pre-crowdfunding campaign, the greater your likelihood of success.
The other strategy in this regard is to leverage the online presence of other major players in your project. For instance, if it is a movie you are shooting, consider using the fan base of an actor or any other crucial creative who is involved in the project. Fans of your actor will be inspired to support your project since it involves their favorite actor. Besides, you can even ask the actors to re-tweet or share your posts to their followers to increase your reach and get more people interested in your project as part of your pre-crowdfunding efforts.
This method even lends some credibility to your project. Through promoting your project through people who already have a positive online reputation and existing supporters and fans, potential supporters will view it as a genuine project with lots of potential, instead of a mere hobby project.
5. Use The Most Effective Social Media Platforms
There are many social media platforms available today from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Tumblr and LinkedIn among many others. Remember that different platforms will be best for different kinds of interactions. For instance, Facebook is largely used for communicating with family, friends, and acquaintances, LinkedIn is used to connect with business relations and colleagues, and finally Twitter is used for connecting broadly with other like-minded people online. Meanwhile, Instagram is best used for sharing images (i.e. production shots), while Tumblr offers a useful avenue for frequent updates on certain issues.
After establishing who your intended audience is (in your effective social media plan), you now need to identify the specific social media platforms that your audience is most active. For some, this is very simple, particularly if you have an existing strong social media presence and already very active online. Alternatively, it could mean building a new social media presence on another platform to reach other communities that were not earlier connected.
Obviously, the platforms you decide to use will largely depend on your project’s nature as well as the communities and audiences you want to reach. It could mean posting demo videos to your current YouTube channel or starting a Twitter account and then building a realistic following before starting any posts about your campaign.
For example, Sauropod found that through posting videos about their imminent project to Reddit, they effectively built up interest in their project called Castle Story. They instantly started engaging with that new community by answering any questions and also responding to feedback and comments. The Sauropod development team even launched a blog with linked Facebook and Twitter accounts to ensure their fans stay informed. After establishing strong relationships with their supporters, they started promoting their pre-crowdfunding campaign along with frequent development updates.
As explained further below, communication and content distributed through social media must be tailored so as to match the platform and audience for maximum benefits to your pre-crowdfunding campaign.
6. Start Building Momentum
After identifying your chosen social media platforms and then created authentic relationships with them, you can now start promoting the pre-crowdfunding campaign. Avoid waiting until you have launched your campaign to start promoting it. Rather, it is advisable to create interest and buzz in the campaign and project before launching. In effect, once the campaign finally launches, you will not have the steep challenge of creating momentum in the first few days.
Building good momentum also helps in keeping a pre-crowdfunding campaign going long after the first couple of days when family and friends have made their contributions. By promoting your campaign effectively before the launch through pre-crowdfunding, you will help in creating enough anticipation and longing in your online community to boost that momentum after the launch.
When well implemented, social media offers an excellent avenue for successful pre-crowdfunding campaigns. Focus on developing informative and shareable content to be able to reach a larger audience. The more efficiently you utilize social media and the online community for pre-crowdfunding, the more pledges, donations, and contributions you will likely receive.