Crowdfunding is no longer the secret weapon it once was: it’s now a popular method of raising funds and, as such, well-thought out, inventive campaigns are increasingly necessary in order to catch the eye of a potential backer.
Unfortunately, though clever social media campaigns can secure powerful investment for their associated projects, committing a blunder on social media can lead to your venture being ignored – or, even worse, kill it completely.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. all have one thing in common: these are platforms on which people are looking to make a connection. Just as an entrepreneur might aim to build their network of contacts by mingling at conferences or events, so too they should approach potential investors on social media. After all, you’d never go up to a complete stranger at a business seminar and ask for them to pledge big bucks towards your latest venture without any preamble, would you? Why should social media be any different?
Keep reading to hear about the most common social media mistakes that crowdfunders make – and how to avoid them!
Failing to Make Connections Before Launch
The notion that there are swarms of people simply waiting for your venture to explode onto social media is a fallacy. Obvious, right? You’d think so, but sadly there have been many instances of crowdfunders simply ‘launching’ on social media without having taken the time to build an audience. Whilst there are several tools – like Twitter Marketing – that can help you define your audience quickly, there’s no substitute for taking the time to identify potential supporters yourself and building relationships with them.
Surveys show that campaigns that reach 15% of their funding target within the first week have more than 80% chance of success – but to achieve those levels you must have a pre-launch marketing plan.
…Or Connecting with the Wrong People Entirely
When market testing your product or service prior to development, you should already have asked yourself: who does this appeal to? Where can I find these people? How can I connect with them?
Once you have composed a consumer profile or two and you’ve reached the stage at which you wish to transpose this research to social media, you can simply type these characteristics into Twitter or Facebook and you’ll be greeted with a host of potential backers, right? Wrong. The algorithms that social media platforms utilise take a huge variety of factors into account, not least the handle or page names. This can skew results, meaning that you may be confronted with lots of industry professionals – either in the crowdfunding arena or in your chosen product or service field – who may well be in competition with you (or simply unlikely to invest). What you really want to find is the key influencers in your field – from there, you can see who follows them, and begin to reach out to their networks. To achieve this, you need to do some keyword research (Google has a useful tool) to find out what people typically search for if they’re looking for a product or service like yours. That way, you can find relevant users as well as expanding your own consumer profile (what else are these people interested in, besides products like yours? Are there any common demographic factors that link them?).
Broadcasting requests for money
As mentioned in the introduction, social media is about engagement. A profile that simply broadcasts a static message (one that changes infrequently or not at all) which doesn’t invite a response or, worse, a request for funding, will not succeed.
Simply put, there is no shortcut to be taken here: you get what you give. Connections need to be fostered before you can even think about requesting funds – and that means liking and sharing other people’s posts, commenting and starting conversations, and giving your profile a real sense of personality. Don’t just say how great your product is – show your followers with behind-the-scenes videos and photos of work in progress. Don’t just pretend to be interested in what your followers care about – actively engage with their posts. Build a relationship before you ask for support.
Bear in mind that a social media strategy should be about so much more than asking for money. If you’re a budding entrepreneur with a passionate belief in your project, that’s what you need to make people fall in love with: your enthusiasm and commitment. Convince your followers that you are more than just one big idea, but also that your idea might just be the next big thing – which you’re inviting them to be a part of – and you’ll be onto a winner.
Crowdfund Campus is proud to guide students and universities through the crowdfunding process, providing a safe environment in which to learn and take risks. Our innovative Sandpit tool and live marketplace, for example, is a perfect medium for testing marketing ideas and networking strategies. For more information, please contact us – we’d be more than happy to discuss your project.