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When it comes to crowdfunding, social media is essential. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms are free to sign up to and are great tools for spreading positive word of mouth about your idea. Here’s how to make the most of them to build your crowd…
Using your personal Twitter or Facebook account is a big no-no. Creating new accounts for your idea looks far more professional and allows the message to stay focussed. If you want to tweet about the weather, do it from your personal account: your backers don’t want to know!
After creating your accounts, your first step should be to start connecting with people. Start by tracking down the people who are going to be most interested in hearing about your idea. To do this, you can use tools like Tweepi (tweepi.com) to find out who others in your industry follow.
This is probably the most important step in building a social media following, but it so often gets overlooked by campaigns. If you want people to listen to you, you need to talk. When you reach out to people who might be interested in your idea, send them a quick, personalised tweet to grab their attention. Or, even better, join in ongoing conversations on LinkedIn or comment on other people’s tweets to show your interest in their views. Not only will this make your time on social media more enjoyable, it will make people more likely to respond to your own posts.
Although it can have big rewards if everything goes well, it is incredibly difficult to create a hashtag that goes viral. More often than not, using your own hashtags on Twitter means you end up just talking to yourself. Instead, you should use existing hashtags to join in the conversation. To discover which hashtag is right for your post, you can use sites like Hashtagify (hashtagify.me) to find statistics about their effectiveness.
Just like a conversation at a party, things move fast in social media. You need to be able to respond as quickly as possible to everything that comes up. To keep people engaged in what you have to say, you need to keep up the momentum. If you keep your prospective backers waiting, they could feel like you’re not interested in them or – even worse – they could become bored and disinterested.
You don’t want to post the same old message every day, and your followers won’t want to read it either. Plan a variety of different updates you could use across your social media platforms. Try to include pictures or videos as much as possible. These are very attention-grabbing and highly shareable. After all, a picture speaks 1000 words!
If you’d like someone to spread the word about your idea, just ask them to! Nobody likes being asked for cash, but if you ask for them to spread the word that shows you value their judgment and opinions. Whilst people may not be able to give you money, they can give you a retweet or recommend you to their followers with just a few clicks. The free publicity will be a big boost to you – especially if it turns into cash further down the line.
Whenever you reach out to someone, keep things personal. Nobody likes receiving the same spammy message as everyone else: they want something individual. By treating people as thinking, caring individuals rather than just donation-spewing machines, you are much more likely to build a successful network to help your campaign. Above all, remember the little touches: whenever someone helps you out, personally thank them for it!
Whilst many crowdfunding platforms give out rewards for backing projects with cash, you can do the same thing to encourage people to share your campaign. For example, you could run prize draws for everyone who likes a Facebook update or retweets a certain message, with rewards including early access or a finished version of your product. By turning word of mouth into a game, people are much more likely to share your updates.
Once the campaign is over, don’t just forget about everyone who has helped you on your journey. Your backers will want to know how your idea is progressing and what you have done with their money and support. By keeping them in the loop, you’ll make them feel great about what they’ve done for you and your product – and you’ll have a ready-built crowd for the next time you need funding!
Before you start your campaign, you’ll want to build up your crowd. This will give you the momentum you’ll need to get off to an impressive start. If you’re planning on crowdfunding soon, post your idea to IdeaSquares.com to grow the early support you need to succeed.