Technology has become a backbone for individual and corporate productivity. Our social lives are now published to the world via tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and Snapchats. The average person has five social media accounts, spending roughly an hour and 40 minutes browsing those networks everyday, which accounts for 28 percent of the total time spent on the internet. With this being said, it is clear that we have all contributed to the creation of a consumer-facing paradise for businesses.
By definition, crowdfunding is, “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the internet”. Unlike traditional ways of financing a business or project through capital investment, crowdfunding campaigns are funded by us—the general public. In fact, $34 billion a year is expected for total crowdfunding online, which would surpass VC in 2016. This recent projection has come from the recent news of the SEC passing and implementing Title III of the JOBS act.
Now that the general public has the power to influence the marketplace through crowdfunding, equal doors are opened to individuals, small businesses, and large corporate companies. No matter how big or how small you or your product might be, the opportunity for financial support is fueled by a community of backers who believe in your campaign. And luckily, that community is a resource we all have access to through social media.
Build a Community
Viral is a keyword we all know contributes to a successful digital marketing campaign. When something goes viral online, there's an immediate increase in traffic, which leads to a high volume of impressions, engagements, and conversions (this could be sales, click-through rates, referrals, etc). In the world of crowdfunding, this viral reaction will be the centerpiece to reaching your financial goal, and that centerpiece is known as your community.
Building a community requires planning, resources, and execution. Whatever your budget may be, one of the most cost efficient ways to rally a group of backers is through social media. The stats above provide hard evidence that our society is overwhelmingly influenced by ties to social networks. Our social channels have progressively transitioned from your best friend's latest rant to your favorite brands being advertised ubiquitously. In a way, this has become somewhat of an annoyance to the everyday social media user, and has created a more competitive environment for engagement and creativity. Therefore, taking the time to map out your target demographics is a step in the right direction to sift through the mass waves of content.
Breaking through the endless layers of content on social media can be a daunting task, but there are ways to speed up the process. One of the fastest ways to rally support is by partnering with influencers. Take the time to map out strong social media profiles that relate to your company or project. Make the effort to communicate your passion and confidence in your work as you reach out to these people, and highlight the opportunities that will come from the partnership. Cross-promotional campaigns are the most cost efficient resource for organic growth no matter how big or small your company may be.
As your community grows, it is important to stay engaged and show your supporters the value they bring to your project— especially when it comes to your crowdfunding campaign. Man power is one thing, but having the right online resources to manage your social growth is highly necessary. Here's a few companies that can help you execute this aspect of the campaign:
- HootSuite– All around great tool for social media marketing. Helps with managing engagement, tracks analytics, and easy-to-use publishing tools.
- SproutSocial – Scheduler and publishing tool. Also great for discovery and managing engagement.
- Nuvi – Social media monitoring platform that provides real time analytics. Generates detailed reports to help you understand your target market.
- Buffer – Great publishing tool for all your social media accounts.
- Iconosquare – Tracks performance rates from your Instagram account.
When it all comes down to it, your success from social media will be based off your ability to harness your creative mind. Not only does it help you stand out from the crowd of competition, but it can personalize a message to your community. In a digitally owned world, automation is an instant red flag, but customized copy and visual content is invaluable. Find ways to incentivize your community for being strong and loyal supporters. One way I have achieved this in the past with previous crowdfunding campaigns is by hosting contests and giveaways. Brainstorm ideas that would intrigue your audience to engage with the contest and share it with their friends. For example, our team launched a Facebook contest to giveaway a trip to Switzerland to visit CERN, headquarters of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), which was also the focal point of our Indiegogo campaign for an upcoming IMAX film Secrets of the Universe. Try using third-party resources like Gleam to optimize your contest strategy and customization.
Other creative tools that will help you produce unique content like infographics, customized photos, and video editing:
With the fast-paced success of crowdfunding and globally demanding influence of social media, it's a great time to be a business or embark on a personal endeavor. The doors have been open to endless opportunity for financial support, building loyal relationships, and displaying your passions to a worldwide audience. Give it a try and see where your ambitions can take you!
If you have success stories about social media impacting your crowdfunding campaign, please feel free to share them in the comments below!
Image Credit: Flickr / cropped, resized