Introduction

One of the biggest mistakes crowdfunders make is that of not creating a community, rather than an audience. I once worked on a campaign that had over 8,000 likes on the Facebook page, but there was no community engagement. Have you ever just liked a page or a post without ever reading the post or ever returning to the page to engage the creator? This was a lesson that I learned early on working in the crowdfunding space. Building community engagement is the goal not just page likes.   

My Early Days in Crowdfunding

In the early days of social media and in marketing classes there was singular focus on reaching your audience’ and getting page likes. These vanity metrics were what everyone was concerned with. How many likes do you have on your Facebook page and how many followers do you have on your twitter account. Blogger outreach in the early days was all about reaching out to bloggers with the largest followings. As I grew in the space and began to understand that it was about engagement my strategy began to change. . Early on in my growth in the crowdfunding campaign management industry most of the campaigns that I worked on, I focused on building campaign’s Twitter followings and blogger outreach. These were my two specialities. 

Understand the Difference Between Engagement and Likes for Crowdfunding

As I practiced my craft I used tools like CrowdFire to quickly build large Twitter followings by using the follow-unfollow and copy follow features. InkyBe was my blogger outreach tool of choice and it allowed me to find relevant bloggers and reach out to them using Twitter @messaging. It was the staff at InkyBe that taught me to focus on blogger that had not the largest following, but the most engaged following. I began to look at metrics like which bloggers had the highest retweet ratios, and the most comments these were engagement metrics and by doing deep dives into these metrics I began to build community for my clients and not just increase vanity metrics. Many of my early clients were more interested in these vanity metrics than the level of engagement. This was a real learning experience, but through these experiences I began to provide my clients with true value through community building.  

Sharing My Real Crowdfunding Experience

My goal in telling this detailed story of my experience in community is to provide full transparency and to help you fully understand that building community in crowdfunding is more than just getting people to click that they ‘Like’ your Facebook page and following you on Twitter. Building a community is about establishing a relationship through interaction and trust. It is about sharing real value and goals. When your crowdfunding community shares your vision and your goals for the project, they will push just as hard as you do to reach the funding goal. This has been my experience over many years and dozens of global crowdfunding campaigns. 

How to Build a Crowdfunding Community

Communication is the key to building community in crowdfunding. We’ve all been there. The first step is to choose the social media channel on which you’ll manage your community. Think about your target audience’s demographics to determine the best option for your campaign.  Once you’ve chosen a social media channel, identify your audience on that platform. This allows you to see the type of content your target audience interacts with on the specific platform, what they like and expect from the brands similar to yours they already follow, and who they currently engage with.

Identifying Your Crowdfunding Audience Through Engagement

This research and information will allow you to begin thinking about how you’re going to tailor the content your Campaign creates for your target audience and your chosen platform. In addition to identifying your audience, you should also ask your audience what they want to see to ensure you’re creating and pushing out content that’s relevant to them. This will ensure that you are going to be able to reach your audience with social media content they want and are interested in. Asking for feedback and being open to suggestions also shows your audience you care deeply about their opinions and what they have to say. This process will help you enhance your brand loyalty and advocacy, and create valuable interaction within your community. 

Post Regularly and Engage With Your Audience.

Success on social media requires consistency in terms of your frequency of posts and engagement. You should determine how often you’re going to post on social media and stick to that plan so your audience members know you’re reliable and start to expect to see your content — you’ll train them to look for your latest posts. 

Social Media Is The Driver of Crowdfunding 

Social media is a great way to develop close bonds and relationships among your brand and audience. Show your customers and followers they aren’t just a number and they’re heard by your campaign and employees. “Like” their comments and respond to all questions, comments or concerns. Follow back your biggest brand advocates — if you deem it as appropriate — or interact with the content your followers share whether or not it has a direct tie to your campaign to show your support.

Crowdfunding is About Being Authentic 

No matter how you choose to interact and engage with your followers, remember to be authentic and address each person as an individual. Social media isn’t a forum, so there shouldn’t be any canned responses you use for your social followers. By maintaining an authentic voice and presence on social media, your campaign will have a unique, human element behind it that feels trustworthy and personal to customers and community members.  

Takeaway

Now it’s time to measure your results. Remember, when it comes to measuring your success on social, you shouldn’t always get hung up on the quantitative data — numbers don’t always reflect all of your efforts accurately, or the sense of belonging you’re creating for your community members. Additionally, you rarely see immediate results when it comes to your social media efforts — identifying your target audience, building a following, and learning how to reach your customers on a specific platform takes time. If you want to learn more about the opportunity to build a community in a safe place with a crowdfunding coach and grab your FREE eBook The Crowdfunding Essentials lease visit ProjectCrowd!