By Kelly Byrd You have a great business/product/service idea or cause that you'd like to support. You need more funding, so you decide to use a crowdfunding platform as your springboard. How can you ensure that those that would be interested in supporting you know about your campaign and hopefully contribute?
As Kendall Almerico noted earlier this year on Entrepreneur.com, "To be successful in rewards-based crowdfunding, effective use of social media is critical. Successful crowdfunding through social media requires planning, dedication and determination."
Here are some tips to help you spread awareness:
Choose Your Platforms Most campaigns leverage Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but if you have good content for these networks it may be worth re-purposing it to share your campaign on other platforms. Only use the platforms that you can manage, but consider that the more diversity of platforms you use, the more exposure (and donations) you'll likely get.
Switch It Up A variation of content is essential for a strong social campaign. While you could share the link to your crowdfunding page on all of your platforms, it is much more effective to present it in different ways. As Brittany Edwardes wrote for Volunteer Forever, "An image can be something as simple as a picture of you with some well-placed text [or] fundraising graphs that show how much money has been made and how much money is needed. Making a video can also be very simple - even something similar to a presentation that potential donors can watch to see why they should donate, what you're going to do with their money, and how serious you are about the cause." Get creative and tell your story in a variety of ways!
Think Like a Pro Using social media for marketing is different than personal use. Make use of the many free services that allow you to optimize the timing of your posts and analyze post type (text, link, photo, video), and consider the possible advantages of getting feedback from your communities about your campaign via comments or polls. Having a strong social strategy may significantly affect the reach of your message.
Model Success Don't build your crowdfunding marketing plan from scratch. Research relevant examples and take notes on reasons for their success.
There are several great examples featured in the AOL On show Funded, hosted by Baratunde Thurston, that are available to view for free.
Another great example is the effort by CENTURY 21® in support of the Climb For Kids by Easter Seals campaign, which is led by Rick Davidson, president and chief executive officer of CENTURY 21 Real Estate LLC and 2013-2014 Chairman, International Board of Directors at Easter Seals. Easter Seals is the philanthropic partner of CENTURY 21 and has been for the last 30 years. To support this cause, they launched a campaign where each Facebook LIKE on a select post was equal to a $1 donation to Easter Seals on behalf of their social community.
Another recent example is the Auntie Anne's Join the Mighty Fight campaign to support Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation in the fight against childhood cancer. Since partnering in September 2011, Auntie Anne stores have raised more than one million dollars for childhood cancer research. This summer, they are asking their social communities to support the Foundation as well with the goal of finding cures for children who are in the mighty fight of their life against cancer. The campaign features tiered funding and encourages involvement even further - for every share of the campaign, Auntie Anne’s, Inc. will also donate $0.25 towards childhood cancer research.
With a strong social component to your crowdfunding campaign, you can expand awareness, reach, engagement and donations!
What other suggestions do you have for someone using social media for their crowdfunding campaign? Share them below in the comments or with me via Twitter - @KelByrd.