By Julie Keck,Crowdfunding campaigns, when run well, can seem effortless, almost magical, if you’re watching from afar. Seeing the money and backers pile up, especially in the last phase of a campaign, can be breathtaking, when everyone is hugging and high-fiving.
However, crowdfunding is not a walk in the park. Unless that park is covered with broken glass. And a lion ate your shoes at the entrance gate. And he is now chasing you.
There is anxiety, especially during that famous mid-campaign plateau. There are sleepless nights, when instead of counting fluffy sheep you’re counting all of your Facebook friends who haven’t contributed yet. And don’t forget about the obsessive-compulsive “refreshing” of your campaign page to see if there are any new backers. Yes, crowdfunding can be stressful, but if you do the proper prep work — and create the right relationships on social media — crowdfunding can be full of great joy and excitement.
Below are some hard lessons I’ve learned after helping run many crowdfunding campaigns.
1. CROWDFUNDING STARTS BEFORE THE CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES.
The day you launch your crowdfunding campaign is not the day you should start considering whether or not to use Twitter or Facebook. Or Instagram. Or Tumblr.
Bottom line: You need to at least be on Twitter and/or Facebook to have a decent shot at crowdfunding, and you need to have been using them for a while. If you’re reading this and want to crowdfund but are not on these platforms, don’t fret; start social media-ing today, and postpone your plans for crowdfunding until you’ve established a solid social media presence.
Why do you need to be on social media in order to crowdfund well? Because if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it…you get the picture. You can have the best campaign in the world, meant to support the best project in the world, but if you don’t have a way to spread the word, it won’t matter. You won’t raise the money you need. (One exception to this rule is if you have a tremendously large email list of fans or potential donors, or have built up fans on another social platform.)
What happens if you start a campaign without laying down the social media groundwork and without that kind of list?
This Kickstarter campaign for a documentary about people really into sneakers ended nowhere close to its $100k goal. If you’re not into sneakers, you should know something: People immersed in sneaker culture spend a lot of money on their kicks, so this is a potentially very lucrative niche audience to hook. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as though the team behind the documentary connected with their intended audience prior to the campaign. Instead, according to this article, one of the directors thought Kickstarter would find the backers for them. This was not the case.
Alternately, “Ride the Divide,” a documentary about the toughest mountain bike race in North America, raised more than twice its Kickstarter goal in 2012, mostly because they worked very hard to connect with the people most interested in their subject prior to the launch of their campaign. Be like “Ride the Divide.”
more on http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2013/12/10-things-to-know-about-social-media-savvy-crowdfunding/