Welcome to the second in an on-going series of blogs on using social media to boost your crowdfunding campaign.
Last week we covered the importance of encouraging your supporters to spread the love about your crowdfunding campaign across social media. This week we’ll dig into creating content for Facebook to inform and intrigue your current fans while drawing in new supporters.
Facebook is consistently one of the top referral locations (alongside Twitter and email) for crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe and the myriad other platforms out there. With over 1.15 billion users, 700 million of whom log in nearly every day, it’s no wonder that Facebook is such a hotbed for crowdfunding support. The average Facebook user has 303 friends, so the breadth of interests your Facebook friends share in your news feed is far beyond the scope of any niche network you might be involved in. And while it is important to activate all of the platforms where potential fans might hang out – Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. – Facebook is so big and active that it should be the cornerstone of your campaign promotion.
While social sharing is critical to campaign success, a well-planned content stream on your project’s official Facebook page will help sustain interest, deepen fan relationships, establish credibility, draw fan feedback and encourage ongoing support after the campaign is over.
When developing content, first remember that it’s all about real people supporting upstart designers, artists, craftspeople, entrepreneurs and charitable fundraisers in realizing a vision – the more personable, honest, humble and approachable you are, the better.
People who pledge often do so as much for civic pride as for the rewards involved, so use Facebook as a means to elaborate on your story, why you’re pursuing this vision, and how fan support is more than just about money.
Getting Down to Business
First things first, begin to build a Facebook following by tapping into your personal networks, the people who know you the best, and will likely be your most ardent supporters. Create a page, announce your project and keep people updated on exactly when your campaign will launch.
At this stage, you don’t necessarily need to post daily, but you should create a steady stream of content – text, photos, videos and links – that explain what you’re doing and why people should care. Remember that you’re not yet asking for pledges, so focus less on the pitch and more on expressing your personality, educating and intriguing your fans with unique content and building anticipation for big things to come.
In the lead-up to launch, focus more on how people will be able to get involved – what platform will you use, what might some rewards be, what is your fundraising goal and why, what exact time/date will your campaign go live? Consider creating custom images, cover photos and even a quick announcement video with campaign launch details with the aim to have a critical mass of fans ready to pledge on day one.
Early momentum is crucial to the success of any crowdfunding campaign, so be sure to remind your first supporters to pledge on day one. You might even consider a limited early bird special in your campaign to incentivize people to pledge early. On Kickstarter, for example, early interest will increase the odds that your campaign will appear among the platform’s “popular” projects, giving it priority positioning and more views.
Many successful crowdfunders express surprise at just how much work it is to manage a campaign while it’s running. You will be bombarded with questions and comments as well as expectations for additional content and updates; you might even be lucky enough to attract media interest. In addition, you might want to thank everyone individually for their support and social sharing. It’s a lot to contend with!
With that in mind, it makes sense to create a basic content calendar that lays out what types of content (text, photo, videos, shared items, gifs, etc.) and themes (campaign updates, product photos, news items, education, creative inspiration, etc.) you will post each day of the week, with actual content when applicable to make updates easier.
From this stage on, it will be critical to monitor and respond to comments from fans. Consider the idea that people want to pledge as much to a person as to a cause – the more you show your personality by conversing with supporters the better. Think grassroots organizing and not branding.
For your most important Facebook content (your campaign launch announcement, for example), consider investing a bit of money in the platform’s Promoted Posts to ensure your message reaches the highest number of current fans as well as their friends and even targeted audiences. Start small to test the waters, and keep a narrow focus to maximize your budget.
After that last push before your campaign wraps, and your project is successfully funded, it’s definitely not the time to cut and run. Continue to keep supporters involved in the progress of your project – they’ll keep you honest and motivated and will continue to spread the word. The crowdfunding phenomenon is built in no small part upon a foundation of peer-to-peer trust; it’s important that you do your part to honor that by consistently providing status updates and giving a good faith effort to see your project through to fruition. That way, we ensure that even more garage tinkerers and artistic visionaries can bring their ideas to life by tapping into the collective power of the crowd.
Check in next Wednesday, September 11, when we dig into tips for managing your campaign’s Twitter profile.