How To Choose Social Media Platforms To Engage Your Crowdfunding Audience

How you choose social media platforms to engage your crowdfunding audience is crucial. Whatever you do don’t try to be active on all of them.  You’ll be a bedraggled shell of a human in your valiant attempt but it won’t get you far because you won’t be engaging, you’ll just skimming the surface and that’s not enough.  So I asked my colleague Lorie Parch, who’s got some great social media strategy chops, to break down the big boys for you so that you may choose wisely.

Facebook

 

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As of May 2013  over 1.1 billion monthly active users are on Facebook. With such vast reach, it’s unlikely that your social media strategy will not include Facebook, and you may want to focus primarily or even solely on Facebook if that’s where your audience hangs out.

Facebook’s mobile users are up hugely, to 751 million, so be sure that the execution of your social strategy for your campaign looks great on mobile devices across all the platforms you’re using as well.

If you haven’t created a brand page before, go to Facebook’s Help section; there’s a section there called “Build Your Facebook Page” and within that there’s another helpful section called “Growing Your Audience” that discusses best practices for posting.

Twitter 

 

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Twitter is a “real-time information network. It has about 550 million users. There’s an art to using those 140 characters wisely, though that’s a class in itself. But there’s no shortage of information about best practices. To get started using Twitter for business check out Twitter’s “basics” section, which covers things like hashtags, establishing your brand personality, how to tweet well, and measuring how well you’re doing on Twitter. The platform also has special information for small organizations and for nonprofits and organizations. Because Twitter has such a large reach, like Facebook it should probably be part of your strategy to gain more followers and increase awareness of and donations to your crowdfunding campaign.

(If you’re wondering if the people you’re trying to reach use the social platforms you’re thinking of targeting, check out this excellent report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, published in February 2013. It has great insights.)

Google+

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Figures vary when it comes to the growth and numbers of users on Google+, which just turned two (it was launched in 2011). In January 2013, Forbes.com reported that Google+ surpassed Twitter as the second-largest social media platform, with 343 million users. That means that, if you believe the people you’re trying to reach are on Google+, you should consider including the platform (as well as YouTube, which Google owns) in your strategy as well.

LinkedIn

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With over 225 million users worldwide, LinkedIn is clearly a powerhouse and your strongest networks are likely to be on this site—those that are specialized to your industry or profession. With nearly two-thirds of LinkedIn members located outside the U.S., this platform may be a particular boon to those with a globally-focused campaign.  Given that LinkedIn is a professional networking site, it may be more useful in making your professional network aware of your campaign without explicitly asking for donations.

Pinterest & Instagram

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Though each of these platforms is a powerhouse in its own right, in order to keep this information succinct, we’re lumping them together since they are both highly visual platforms: Pinterest allows you to “pin” and share photos/images on “boards”, while Instagram features photos and now short video.  So if your campaign is very visually driven and/or the audience you’re targeting for finding donors is, you may want to consider one or both of these.

 

Tumblr

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The Pew report found that just 6% of Web users use Tumblr, which was recently bought by Yahoo, so it remains to be seen if the service will change in some way, including being integrated with Yahoo, which has a very large user base. If you’re targeting a very young audience, though, for your campaign, it may be worth trying Tumblr to reach them. According to Pew, 13% of those 18-29 are blogging on Tumblr.”

 Lastly, it’s worth mentioning something pretty obvious but still very important: “Social” isn’t limited to online. So don’t forget to consider and cultivate the opportunities you have to reach out in person, by phone, by text, or by email to people you know in casting the widest net possible.

By Lorie A. Parch a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, and social media strategist. She runs 828 Communications, a small content strategy and creation firm.

 

What’s Your Crowdfunding IQ?

If the frequency with which Amanda Palmer’s recent Ted Talk was linked and cited and blasted into my own in-box is any indication, her presentation called “The Art of Asking” resonated with many, many people.

The crowdfunding community drew inspiration from it because of her massive success—an irresistible if-she-can-do-it-so-can-I shot of dopamine, and an affirmation of crowdfunding’s power.

And it is.

But I don’t think she was invited to speak because she held a wildly successful crowdfunding campaign that raised almost $1.2M for her music project—the first in that category to break a million on Kickstarter. I think what elevated her status to Ted-level popularity was as much about the subsequent fallout with some fans after she began her world tour and let it be known that she planned to crowdsource her backup musicians from each city in which she performed. Hugs, beer and merch would be their reward.

The crowd called these empty gestures. They said she was dredging up (regifting?) tired old perks and demanded she get off the gravy train and start behaving. Like what, the rest of us? But she’s not like the rest of us—or the many of us who would like to run a crowdfunding campaign but resist.

In her eloquent and thoughtful talk Palmer proved to us that her crowdfunding campaign was not just a well-executed one-off ask or a crazy fluke.  Her success reflected her philosophy of free and open access to music coupled with the solid relationship she had built with her audience, in large part through social media.

About the conflict, she included this in her closing remarks, “I think people have been obsessed with the wrong question, which is, ‘How do we make people pay for music?’ What if we started asking, ‘How do we LET people pay for music?” (Quick aside: Do people get help writing those Ted Talks? Because they are so good! If you haven’t seen it, please take the 13 minutes to do it now to see what I mean.)

The truth is we’re not all cut out for the demands of crowdfunding. I’ve seen campaigns that hold back, have heard creators suggest that the idea of asking for money is unseemly, to be embarked upon only between surges of shame, with metaphorical nostrils pinched and soul sold.

Speaking of a dopamine rush, sure it’s great to watch the uptick of dollars as you get closer to your goal. But remember it goes both ways! Crowdfunding works because people love to share a small part of their wealth to help someone else realize her dream.

Here’s a moving article written in the form of a love letter to a group of Girl Scouts spotted selling cookies. (A shout out to Anne Strachan at CrowdfundUK.) The letter writer senses the girl scouts’ discomfort with asking and generously sets them (and us) straight on what takes place in the hearts and minds and, apparently, the endocrine system, when we give.

“I know it seems like I am going to say that you are selling the excitement of buying cookies because people can anticipate how the sweets will taste- but I am not.  I mean sure- that helps, but what you are really selling is something even more delightful.  One very surprising activity that releases a huge dose of dopamine: Helping other people.

Still not sure if you have the personality to launch a crowdfunding campaign and really ask? Here’s a test to help you calculate your asking-style typology. With a series of questions you can determine your asking comfort level. Think of it as the Myers-Briggs for gauging your philanthropic skills. It’s pretty enlightening—and accurate. According to my test results I’m a “kindred spirit,” which means I “have a strong desire to help those in need” and that I’m “great at telling their stories.” What are you?