In today’s economy, many people are launching new businesses, services and products with the help of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and even Patron. When using these platforms, community building for crowdfunding is essential; obviously, a big userbase means more funding and a higher chance of success.
But crowdfunding community other benefits, too. Your community can:
- Advocate your brand, business and products to their networks
- Provide a base for future marketing
- Provide a base for future crowdfunding
With so many benefits to cultivating a crowdfunding community, you’ll want to be prepared before launching a campaign.
PREPARING THE FOUNDATION OF CROWDFUNDING COMMUNITIES
Keep Focus on the Community
Your pitch shouldn’t just “sell” your brand, product or service to prospective investors and customers. It should do that while focusing on user benefit. You want to create a community to fund your venture, so deliver a bold vision of what the world could be—and how your community will play a role in bringing it about.
Basically, you don’t want to just focus on self-promotion. What’s in it for the user? Once you’ve established a vision, you can target like-minded users in your community building for crowdfunding efforts. Your pitch might also include suggested tweets, memes and content that funders can share to their own networks to further spread the message.
Identify Key Community Members when Building Your Online Community
Before you launch your campaign, you must lay the foundation for your community by identifying key community members. These individuals will support and boost your campaign from day one, ensuring it gets off to a healthy start. As far as community-building goes, they will be the first advocates to invite others in. Your friends, family and colleagues are good starting points. Consider giving them a list of goals and actions so they know how and where to support. These might be:
- A quota on users to engage per day, online or off
- On-brand community hashtags to use
- A quote on posts per social network promoting the campaign
- A list of key dates with their amount goals
In addition to this first-level network, you’ll want to seek out key stakeholders, notable investors and community leaders. Essentially, these are influencers you’ll want to enlist who can support your campaign and share it with their communities. You’ll want a small handful of these—about two to four—and they should also be on-board before your campaign launch.
By assembling this initial community, your campaign can start off with a bang. Having a substantial amount of money pledged from the beginning increases your optics; you’ll also have a dedicated team that will help community building for crowdfunding as they spread the word.
If your business has an established community already, you might lead up to the campaign with teases of exciting news. This builds enthusiasm so you can leverage the community for funding.
Online Communities for Crowdfunding Should Strike a Real Connection
Building crowdfunding communities is about forming relationships. Therefore, your campaign rewards should give supporters a tangible sense of playing a role in the brand or community. Media companies, for example, often offer producer credits to their supporters.
You might even allow backers to become a part of the production’s process. For example, a game company might offer a reward in which a supporter can design a character. A business might arrange for a supporter tier to meet the team or tour the company. Think of how you can truly involve your community—don’t just offer cool gifts, products or tokens of appreciation.
Using Social Media for Building Your Online Community
Choose a handful of social networks you’ll spread your campaign and message on. Once you’ve done this, tailor your message to those networks. For example, LinkedIn skews more professional within certain industries; Twitter, meanwhile, favors brevity and big thinking.
CROWDFUNDING COMMUNITIES DURING AND AFTER THE CAMPAIGN
Host an Event to Launch Communities for Crowdfunding
Events are a great way to build enthusiasm, expand your reach and grow your community. At your campaign’s launch, or throughout the campaign, host an event online or at a venue to attract attention. These events are celebratory and make your campaign more memorable. Seeing others in-person can encourage your supporters to put their money where their mouth is—and give your campaign public validation.
Push news of events and invites to your social channels and existing online communities. You might also consider a calendar of events and content which you can post. For example, try an “ask me anything” on Reddit half-way through the campaign to drive community engagement and address prospective backers’ concerns.
Stretch goals also provide an opportunity to engage your community. Tap into the userbase to ask for ideas they’d like as stretch goals. Provide incentives for backers to share the campaign with their friends to further keep them invested and expand your reach.
Stay Communicative & Show Appreciation for Your Crowdfunding Communities
Always be communicative! Don’t leave your community in the dark; keep them in-the-know every step through the process. Otherwise, you risk betraying their trust. Crowdfunding platforms commonly offer a blog where you can make announcements and show progress, but you should do this on social media and your website as well.
Finally, show appreciation for your online communities. This humanizes your brand with the community, but also provides an opportunity to strengthen your message. Highlight messages from community members, write about who inspires you or your idea, or share a heartfelt story about who helped you get where you are today. Whatever you do, bring it back to your campaign’s original vision and community’s shared values.
Keep Your Community Inviting
Finally, don’t forget to use comment moderation to make your community as inviting as possible. With a tool like Smart Moderation, you can unify comments across all your social platforms. You can also automatically moderate comments in accordance to your brand’s moderation approach.
With automated moderation, you can keep your community free from trolls, spam and abuse around the clock. Having such a system in place lets you respond more quickly to engagement. Because it’s important that you answer essential questions and respond to criticisms to gain support, you’ll need comment moderation to increase your focus on converting users.