By Matt Kovacs, President & Senior Strategist, BLAZE PR
1. Be bold – it takes time to see results, but stay true to your course and post your vision on a consistent basis. Social media is a great way to highlight your campaign and offer up the features and benefits of the product you are bringing to market. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your most innovative ideas and eye-catching strategies, as these are often the most effective in getting and keeping consumers’ attention. Incorporating humor, bright colors, and references to popular culture are all great ways to ensure that your campaign will get noticed, especially among the younger generations that are typically more comfortable with using social media.
2. Be humble – once you start to receive funding, know that it is a long road. Do not give up and think that it will be easy. Remember that each individual who donates to your campaign is taking a leap of faith by giving you his or her financial support. Thus, it is unrealistic to expect to receive hundreds or thousands of donations a day for a new and relatively unknown venture that does not yet carry the name recognition of a well-established brand. Remember that with some patience, crowdfunding can be incredibly rewarding, hence its meteoric rise in popularity over the last few years.
3. Use your community to spread the word – start with family and friends, but then move out to your followers and let them join you on the journey. You can budget a small ad expense each month on Facebook for page likes and promoted posts to expand your reach into new audiences. Follow like-minded individuals who you feel may be interested in donating to your campaign on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, and Reddit, and stick to a consistent schedule of posting messages, photos, and videos explaining your vision for your product. Recruit friends and followers to post about the campaign as well to demonstrate that people who have no personal stake in the product objectively view it as an intelligent and worthwhile venture. Once people begin to see that others are supporting you on your journey, they will be more inclined to do so themselves.
4. Share your story – as articles start to run about your campaign from news media and bloggers, post them and let your social media share these third party validations and post them to Facebook. Knowing that well-respected journalists are publishing works praising your product lends both glamour and credibility to your campaign. Someone may be a total stranger to you, but in many cases, the simple sight of your product on one of their favorite websites being hawked by one of their most trusted reporters is enough to convince them to donate to your cause.
5. Be human – people buy people. To have people fund your campaign they need to learn about the people behind it all. Be a storyteller for your brand. If you can demonstrate your earnest commitment to your cause in the context of a purpose that you know will resonate with consumers (for example, launching a startup venture for a high-quality but affordable product after feeling continually frustrated by sky-high prices), you will increase the likelihood of running a successful campaign. Potential donors love to be able to relate to the people whose efforts they are making possible, especially when they can personally connect with the campaign’s mission.
6. Bring people into your company – Cliched as it may sound, two heads are always better than one when launching a new venture, and you may find shrewd promotional ideas in the most unexpected of venues. Also, let both your followers and the community at large witness the inner workings of your operation. Highlight your partners and employees, staff meetings, ideation sessions, etc. Give people a taste of your company culture. Instagram is great for this, as your followers will feel more of a personal connection to your campaign after getting a special “inside look” at your company.
7. Tweet Pitch – Use your Twitter page to tweet at reporters to share your news. Media are just like real people, they stare at their feeds and like the social interaction on their own pages. Sharing a clever description of your product in less than 140 characters that adeptly explains your campaign’s purpose without diving into unnecessary detail will pique media curiosity about your venture. Furthermore, juxtaposing a tweet with a photo will help intrigued reporters put a face to a name of an as-yet-unknown campaign. Crowdfunding emails and voicemails to reporters can sometimes get buried underneath the massive body of messages that members of the media receive, but tweeting is an excellent way to demonstrate your campaign’s purpose in a concise but coherent manner.
8. Build a brand, not a product – you are in this for the long haul. The first campaign gets you going, but you’re looking to create a brand that consumers can trust and offer multiple products down the line. Use a LinkedIn company page to build your brand and you can do promoted pages now for a small investment. LinkedIn is an exceptional avenue to showcase the professionalism of your company and of your campaign. Additionally, the website’s suggestions of both individuals and corporations to connect with will help guide you towards potential donors with similar interests. These people will have an advanced understanding of your motivations for launching your venture and thus will be more likely to make a contribution to your campaign.
9. Don’t compare – yes, there will be competitors, but you can’t be affected by what they’re doing. It is unproductive to get swept into the black hole of comparison, as any indication that someone is achieving more success than you are can cause you to get sidetracked from your goals. While the occasional glance at a similar crowdfunding campaign page can be useful to help monitor your individual progress and the overarching direction of the industry, remember that your campaign is truly unique in its mission, product, and objectives. Create a content calendar of posts and make sure deadlines are met. Look but do not leap!
10. Find great partners – there are smart, creative people out there from agencies or freelancers that are living and breathing the social media lifestyle every day; outsource this so you can focus on your business at hand, but also learn from afar. There is immense value in enlisting experts in the social media field to take care of the day-to-day details of media maintenance and to handle more complicated elements of the technological world. Bringing these people into your business will educate you about the secrets of social media domination within your specific crowdfunding field, and will take a weight off of your shoulders so that you can fully concentrate on the goals of your campaign.